Perl was developed in 1987 by Larry Wall to be a Unix scripting language for general purposes especially report processing. It has since changed a lot, Perl 6, which was a fork of Perl 5 in 2000 became a seperate language, which continue to influence one another in many ways.
Perl is rich with text processing features, mostly borrowed from other languages such as C, shell script(sh), AWK and sed. Perl provides text processing without the limits of most Unix commandline tools. Version 5 of the language, became popular in 1990 for CGI scripting mostly because of its regular expression and string parsing abilities.
Asides CGI scripting, Perl 5 is great for network programming, system administration, finance, bioinformatics, and other applications such as GUI. It has been dubbed with some nick names such as "duct tape" that holds the internet together and the "the Swiss Army chainsaw of scripting languages" because of its ugliness, flexibility and power.
Perl can be installed by first downloading the binary code specific for your machine. In a situation that your platform is not available, a C compiler can help with manual source code compilation. The souce code compilation approach, introduces flexibility as far as the selection of features for your installation is concerned.
To install, fire up a shell prompt and type the following commands:
wget http://www.cpan.org/src/5.0/perl-5.22.1.tar.gz tar -xzf perl-5.22.1.tar.gz cd perl-5.22.1 ./Configure -des -Dprefix=$HOME/localperl make make test make install
With the command perl, you can start coding in interactive mode using the command line, using the CLI(command line interpreter) in the Linux shell. Example :
Using Perl scripts (text files for perl code), complex Perl code can be executed at once at the command line. An example:
Use of IDE(Integrated Development Environment) You can download Eclipse and use the EPIC pligin, Perl editor or the Padre, the Perl IDE.
You can learn more about Perl from here : http://www.cpan.org/src/