Practical Extracting and Reporting Language, it's under this barbarous name that hides itself a powerful language very intuitive.
Its author Larry Wall, originally a linguist, wanted to create a non-bijective language, hence the expression typically perlish: TIMTOWDY (There is more than one way to do it).
Sun in his White Paper on Java compred Java, reproaching Perl only the lack of garbage collector ! (which is under way)
But how works Perl ? Unlikely TCL/TK which interprets line after line, as good old basic, the Perl interpretor compiles the Perl scripts just to be executed, which permits two things: syntax verification, and a great execution speed.
Perl is sequential and Object Oriented, so it is free to the user to make his choice. But it has in standard numerous libraries of functions which makes its portability from one Operating System to another extreme ! It is also possible to export perl code to C, and compile interfaces to existing libraries to use them in Perl !
The other expression frequently heard about it is: pride, lazyness and impatience !
The first due to "look at what I can do in three code lines !", the second is "the three code lines" and the third is still those 3 code lines !
High level Network libraries do that it is as easy to program in Perl than in Java, associative arrays, stacks, hash tables ... all is there, and even advanced network libraries !
These pages give informations, links, source code ... if you have any comment or if you want to contribute, don't hesitate to write to me
To get more informations, go and see my CGI scripts in download and my ressources for the Web