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Howto: Write script in Perl

Q. I’m new to Linux and Perl. I’ve printed perl man page but it is bit confusing and omits a lot of simple things or details. Can you tell me how do I write a perl script? How do I open perl editor?

A. Larry Wall began work on Perl in 1987 and it is a dynamic programming language. Traditionally perl programs are written using text editor such as vi or emacs. The overall structure of Perl derives broadly from C.

Also when you start learning a new programming language, always start with Hello world program.

Hello world Perl Program

Let us print Hello world from a shell prompt. Type the following command (excluding $ ):
$ perl -e 'print "Hello, world!\n"';

Hello, world!

Let us write hello world program using vi text editor:
$ vi hello.pl
Append code as follows:
print "Hello, world!\n";

Save and close the file. Now setup a execute permission:
$ chmod +x hello.pl
Finally execute perl program:
$ ./hello.pl

  • First, I used the vi command to create a file named hello.pl
  • The first line of the script used to specify that the script is to be executed by perl program (#!/usr/bin/perl) and not by a shell.
  • Print command prints hello world on screen. Please note that the notation \n which stands for newline i.e. print a newline.

Further reading

This is just a simple introduction. You should consider following text books & resources for more information and mastering the perl:

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Andy July 18, 2007, 5:15 pm

    While you answered the question adequately, I think I understand the ‘asker’.

    When I started leaning PHP, all you have to do is go to php.net and it has an online reference regarding all the functions, even about the language syntax and grammar itself.

    I have looked at Perl, read a book, understand most of it’s syntax and quirks, but I have yet to find a site of PHP.net’s quality to really ‘dig’ into Perl.

  • nixCraft July 18, 2007, 5:52 pm


    I agree with you. It is hard for a new person to get started with Perl. Php.net is one of the best site for all php related information.

  • Andy July 18, 2007, 8:24 pm

    Chucks, part of the reason of my post, was polling if you knew a perl equivalent of php.net… guess not!

  • nixCraft July 19, 2007, 10:14 am

    Noop, there is no such a site exists, AFAIK. You can try http://perldoc.perl.org/ (same as reading perldoc on UNIX)


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