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Lesson 1

Perl Web Programming

This course is designed to teach you about Web programming and how to use Perl to write programs for the Web.
The following Perl related course material will be covered.
  1. Programming techniques specific to the Web
  2. Details of the CGI interface to common Web servers
  3. Perl 5 features that make Web programming easier
  4. Using forms on your Web site
  5. Sending email from a CGI program

By the end of this course you will have created a flexible Guestbook system and an email program to send mail from a form instead of a mailto: URL. These programs were selected to use all of the techniques that you will learn in this course.
You will also find them useful as templates for other applications that you will write in the course of your Web programming work.
Depending on your experience level, you can expect to spend 15 to 30 minutes on each lesson.
Before we actually start, let us cover:
  1. Course prerequisites
  2. What you will need for this cours

To even begin to cover a language with such a rich history and huge influence over the world of computing and the web is a challenging task, so this module touches on the highlights. By the time you finish this module, you will have a good understanding of the history of Perl and where to go to get more help when you need to know more than this course offers. Learning how to find the answers to your questions is probably one of the most valuable skills you can develop. The name of the language is Perl. Larry Wall, the creator of Perl, originally wanted a name with positive meaning and named the language Pearl, but before its release, he discovered another programming language named Pearl, so he shortened the name to Perl.
When people write Perl (uppercase), they are referring to the programming language you will study in this course. When people write perl (lowercase), they are referring to the binary executable used to run Perl, the language. In the next lesson, platform-specific links and explanations for the materials will be discussed.

Perl History

Perl is a relatively old language, with the first version having been released in 1988. The basic history is shown in Table 1-1. If you want a more detailed history of Perl, check out the perlhist documentation installed with Perl, or visit CPAST, the Comprehensive Perl Arcana Society Tapestry at history.perl.org.

Table 1-1. Perl Version History