Rebecca Smallwood
CS 80
Lab 27

Lab 27 - Perl

For this week's lab, we had to install Perl on a computer, and run through some examples in our class book. To do this, I installed Red Hat Linux 8.0 on an old machine of mine. While doing so, it gave me the option to install Perl while installing the O/S, which I chose to do, rather than using the version of Perl listed in the lab assignment.

Installing Linux was far more time consuming and complicated than installing Windows XP Pro was a few weeks ago -- although the instructions seemed obvious, somehow I managed to miss installing a key component during the first install, and nothing would work. After much fiddling around over an entire afternoon, I finally got everything working, and I was able to work through the examples in our book.

The early samples were easy to do, once I figured how to install a simple text editor, and that I had to set the permissions on the .pl files to be executable. The later examples were merely time-consuming to type out and then run. The only part of the examples I did not try was the section on connecting to a database -- while I got Linux up and running, trying to get a database going, and then connecting to it with Perl was just more than I was ready to tackle.

There's something about Perl that feels very similar to PHP; it would seem that you use it for much of the same kinds of things, and the syntax is similar, if not exactly the same in some cases. I've personally used Perl very rarely, as I prefer PHP, but I can see from these examples that it probably wouldn't be very difficult for me to pick it up quickly with a bit of time and effort.