Perl is a family of high-level, general-purpose, interpreted, dynamic programming languages. The languages in this family include Perl 5 and Perl
Though Perl is not officially an acronym, there are various backronyms in use, including "Practical Extraction and Reporting Language". Perl was originally developed by Larry Wall in 1987 as a general-purpose Unix scripting language to make report processing easier. Since then, it has undergone many changes and revisions. Perl 6, which began as a redesign of Perl 5 in 2000, eventually evolved into a separate language. Both languages continue to be developed independently by different development teams and liberally borrow ideas from one another.
The Perl languages borrow features from other programming languages including C, shell script (sh), AWK, and sed]; Wall also alludes to Basic and Lisp in the introduction to Learning Perl (Schwartz & Christiansen) and so on. They provide powerful text processing facilities without the arbitrary data-length limits of many contemporary Unix commandline tools, facilitating easy manipulation of text files. Perl 5 gained widespread popularity in the late 1990s as a CGI scripting language, in part due to its then unsurpassed regular expression and string parsing abilities
In addition to CGI, Perl 5 is used for system administration, network programming, finance, bioinformatics, and other applications, such as for GUIs. It has been nicknamed "the Swiss Army chainsaw of scripting languages" because of its flexibility and power, and also its ugliness In 1998, it was also referred to as the "duct tape that holds the Internet together", in reference to both its ubiquitous use as a glue language and its perceived inelegance