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Issue No. 01 - January/February (1998 vol. 15)
ISSN: 0740-7459
pp: 69-74
Perl was invented by Larry Wall about 10 years ago. Wall, a computer programmer and linguist, combined his dual interests in Perl's design: He used his programming skills to create a language that was good at telling the computer what to do and his knowledge of linguistics to make that language easy to learn and use. Perl is sometimes perceived as a language limited to Web programming. However, as the box "Perl at Work" on the following page shows, Perl is a general-purpose programming language with many strengths-the biggest being in the area of string and data processing. Since most programs process strings or data or both, Perl works well for most programming, including system programming. It gives you access to C library functions for fine-grained control of files, processes, and network sockets, while at the same time handling the onerous details of low-level memory management and offering powerful built-in data structures. Perl also has advantages over other languages. It is much faster to write in than C, which makes it good for rapid prototyping. Perl can replace Unix shell scripting languages on Unix systems when you need to write a program quickly to do a small task. And it's faster than most other scripting languages because it's compiled in-stead of interpreted.

M. Dominus, "Perl: Not Just for Web Programming," in IEEE Software, vol. 15, no. , pp. 69-74, 1998.
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