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Dated: Sep. 03, 2004
By Simon Cozens
One of the things you might not realize when you're thinking about Perl and hearing about Perl is that there is an awful lot of disinformation out there, and it's really hard for someone who's not very familiar with Perl to separate the wheat from the chaff, and it's very easy to accept some of these things as gospel truth - sometimes without even realising it.
What I'm going to do, then, is to pick out the top ten myths that you'll hear bandied around, and give a response to them. I'm not going to try to persuade you to use Perl - the only way for you to know if it's for you is to get on and try it - but hopefully I can let you see that not all of what you hear is true.
First, though, let's make sure we understand what Perl is, and what it's for.
Perl is a general-purpose programming language. The answer to the question `Can I do this in Perl?' is very probably `yes'. It's often used for little system administration tasks and for CGI and other web stuff, but that's not the whole story. We'll see soon that you can use Perl for full-sized projects as well.
Perl is sometimes called a `scripting' language, but only by people who don't like it or don't understand it. Firstly, there's no real difference between programming and scripting - it's all just telling the computer what you want it to do. Second, even if there was, Perl's as much of a scripting language as Java or C. I'm going to talk about Perl programs here, but you might hear some people call them Perl scripts. The people who call them `programs' on the whole write better ones.
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