Howto: Write script in Perl

Posted on in Categories , , last updated July 17, 2007

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"';
Output:

Hello, world!

Let us write hello world program using vi text editor:
$ vi hello.pl
Append code as follows:
#!/usr/bin/perl
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:

4 comment

  1. 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.

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