Perl is a computer programming language that I use for many things.
I have at least 990 Perl programs I have writting that help me
with many things, especially mapping related things.
A few of my Perl programs are on my website.
Cemetery Search by Name http://www.mflan.com/cgi-bin/people.cgi
Land Patent Search........... http://www.mflan.com/cgi-bin/lps.cgi
Search for Round Barns.....http://www.mflan.com/cgi-bin/barn.cgi
Here is a link to an esoteric program that converts the NAD27 datum to the WGS84 datum.
This has to do with latitude and longitude on maps.
Perl is a pretty good programming language - very powerful.
Like many computer related things, it has some issues. But I
strongly encourage anybody over 15 who uses computers to
learn it or a similar program. If you are heading for college, it
will come in handy.
Here are a few links to Perl. You can find many more on Google:
Regional Perl Groups
OK, so you've decided to go with Perl. Now what? Well you need
to pick a Perl distribution to install. If you are on Windows, Strawberry Perl
or ActivePerl are probably the way to go. Personally I started with ActivePerl,
so I have stuck with that. Here is a pretty good write-up
by Octavian Rasnita explaining some of the Perl install distributions.
Keep in mind that all of these distributions are FREE.
Perl has a Unix origin so most Perl users use it on a Unix like OS. For this
reason most of them will recommend you Strawberry Perl because this distribution
promotes that it works under Windows with a Unix-like feel.
Strawberry Perl works fine under Windows and you can install Perl modules like under
Unix, using the commands cpan, cpanm or cpanp. It is not the best if you need to
create Windows executables though. It is not good at all if you need to create Windows
services or COM servers in Perl with it, because it can't do that.
ActivePerl offers more features and you can install Perl modules using cpan, cpanm or cpanp
and it also installs a C compiler if you don't already have one, so you can install Perl
modules that contain C code also. A faster alternative to install Perl modules offered by
ActivePerl is to use the command ppm with or without a graphical interface. It will install
the modules which are already compiled and tested but not all modules from CPAN can be
installed this way. For the others you need to use cpanm or cpan. The advantage of being
able to install using ppm is that sometimes the tests give errors when installing with cpanm
or cpan under any Perl distribution, but it may be because the tests are bad, not because the
module doesn't work under Windows. ActivePerl also offers the possibility of using the
commercial programs from ActiveState PDK which allows you to create Windows executables with
perlapp, create Windows services or COM servers + other features. Perlapp is usually a better
solution for creating Windows executables than other solutions like the free module PAR.
Cygwin Perl is complicated to use under Windows, so it is not recommended. I don't
know how well it is updated when a new version appears.
There is also Citrus Perl distribution that can be used under Windows, Mac and Linux.
It is very good if you need to create applications with a graphical interface made with WxPerl
because it has this module installed.
Otherwise there is not much difference among all these Perl distributions (with the exception
of CygwinPerl). Under all of them can be installed the program cpanm which is very good for
installing Perl modules, all of them can install modules that contain C code, some of them have
some modules installed by default and others have other modules, but you can install the modules
you need any time.
You may prefer one or another if you will need a certain module which is installed by default in
a certain distribution but not in others and if you have problems installing that module under
those other distributions.
After you install Perl you will probably still need some help getting it going. If you are on Windows
contact me and I will help. You can also Google for the help you need.
No - you don't want Perl at all? Then I suggest you try Python or Java or C# (C Sharp).
But knowing some programming language is highly recommended if you are going into or
already working in a technical field.
Contact me if you have any questions.
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