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Perl 5.6.2 Documentation

For ease of access, the Perl manual has been split up into several sections:

perl                Perl overview (this section)
perlfaq             Perl frequently asked questions
perltoc             Perl documentation table of contents
perlbook            Perl book information

perlsyn             Perl syntax
perldata            Perl data structures
perlop              Perl operators and precedence
perlsub             Perl subroutines
perlfunc            Perl builtin functions
perlreftut          Perl references short introduction
perldsc             Perl data structures intro
perlrequick         Perl regular expressions quick start
perlpod             Perl plain old documentation
perlstyle           Perl style guide
perltrap            Perl traps for the unwary

perlrun             Perl execution and options
perldiag            Perl diagnostic messages
perllexwarn         Perl warnings and their control
perldebtut          Perl debugging tutorial
perldebug           Perl debugging

perlvar             Perl predefined variables
perllol             Perl data structures: arrays of arrays
perlopentut         Perl open() tutorial
perlretut           Perl regular expressions tutorial

perlre              Perl regular expressions, the rest of the story
perlref             Perl references, the rest of the story

perlform            Perl formats

perlboot            Perl OO tutorial for beginners
perltoot            Perl OO tutorial, part 1
perltootc           Perl OO tutorial, part 2
perlobj             Perl objects
perlbot             Perl OO tricks and examples
perltie             Perl objects hidden behind simple variables

perlipc             Perl interprocess communication
perlfork            Perl fork() information
perlnumber          Perl number semantics
perlthrtut          Perl threads tutorial

perlport            Perl portability guide
perllocale          Perl locale support
perlunicode         Perl unicode support
perlebcdic          Considerations for running Perl on EBCDIC platforms

perlsec             Perl security

perlmod             Perl modules: how they work
perlmodlib          Perl modules: how to write and use
perlmodinstall      Perl modules: how to install from CPAN
perlnewmod          Perl modules: preparing a new module for distribution

perlfaq1            General Questions About Perl
perlfaq2            Obtaining and Learning about Perl
perlfaq3            Programming Tools
perlfaq4            Data Manipulation
perlfaq5            Files and Formats
perlfaq6            Regexes
perlfaq7            Perl Language Issues
perlfaq8            System Interaction
perlfaq9            Networking

perlcompile         Perl compiler suite intro

perlembed           Perl ways to embed perl in your C or C++ application
perldebguts         Perl debugging guts and tips
perlxstut           Perl XS tutorial
perlxs              Perl XS application programming interface
perlclib            Internal replacements for standard C library functions
perlguts            Perl internal functions for those doing extensions
perlcall            Perl calling conventions from C
perlutil            utilities packaged with the Perl distribution
perlfilter          Perl source filters
perldbmfilter       Perl DBM filters
perlapi             Perl API listing (autogenerated)
perlintern          Perl internal functions (autogenerated)
perlapio            Perl internal IO abstraction interface
perltodo            Perl things to do
perlhack            Perl hackers guide

perlhist            Perl history records
perldelta           Perl changes since previous version
perl5005delta       Perl changes in version 5.005
perl5004delta       Perl changes in version 5.004

perlaix             Perl notes for AIX
perlamiga           Perl notes for Amiga
perlbs2000          Perl notes for POSIX-BC BS2000
perlcygwin          Perl notes for Cygwin
perldos             Perl notes for DOS
perlepoc            Perl notes for EPOC
perlhpux            Perl notes for HP-UX
perlmachten         Perl notes for Power MachTen
perlmacos           Perl notes for Mac OS (Classic)
perlmpeix           Perl notes for MPE/iX
perlos2             Perl notes for OS/2
perlos390           Perl notes for OS/390
perlsolaris         Perl notes for Solaris
perlvmesa           Perl notes for VM/ESA
perlvms             Perl notes for VMS
perlvos             Perl notes for Stratus VOS
perlwin32           Perl notes for Windows

(If you're intending to read these straight through for the first time, the suggested order will tend to reduce the number of forward references.)

By default, the manpages listed above are installed in the /usr/local/man/ directory.

Extensive additional documentation for Perl modules is available. The default configuration for perl will place this additional documentation in the /usr/local/lib/perl5/man directory (or else in the man subdirectory of the Perl library directory). Some of this additional documentation is distributed standard with Perl, but you'll also find documentation for third-party modules there.

You should be able to view Perl's documentation with your man(1) program by including the proper directories in the appropriate start-up files, or in the MANPATH environment variable. To find out where the configuration has installed the manpages, type:

perl -V:man.dir

If the directories have a common stem, such as /usr/local/man/man1 and /usr/local/man/man3, you need only to add that stem (/usr/local/man) to your man(1) configuration files or your MANPATH environment variable. If they do not share a stem, you'll have to add both stems.

If that doesn't work for some reason, you can still use the supplied perldoc script to view module information. You might also look into getting a replacement man program.

If something strange has gone wrong with your program and you're not sure where you should look for help, try the -w switch first. It will often point out exactly where the trouble is.

Full perl(1) documentation: perl

Reference Lists

About Perl

Perl is a language optimized for scanning arbitrary text files, extracting information from those text files, and printing reports based on that information. It's also a good language for many system management tasks. The language is intended to be practical (easy to use, efficient, complete) rather than beautiful (tiny, elegant, minimal).

Perl combines (in the author's opinion, anyway) some of the best features of C, sed, awk, and sh, so people familiar with those languages should have little difficulty with it. (Language historians will also note some vestiges of csh, Pascal, and even BASIC-PLUS.) Expression syntax corresponds closely to C expression syntax. Unlike most Unix utilities, Perl does not arbitrarily limit the size of your data--if you've got the memory, Perl can slurp in your whole file as a single string. Recursion is of unlimited depth. And the tables used by hashes (sometimes called "associative arrays") grow as necessary to prevent degraded performance. Perl can use sophisticated pattern matching techniques to scan large amounts of data quickly. Although optimized for scanning text, Perl can also deal with binary data, and can make dbm files look like hashes. Setuid Perl scripts are safer than C programs through a dataflow tracing mechanism that prevents many stupid security holes.

If you have a problem that would ordinarily use sed or awk or sh, but it exceeds their capabilities or must run a little faster, and you don't want to write the silly thing in C, then Perl may be for you. There are also translators to turn your sed and awk scripts into Perl scripts.

But wait, there's more...

Begun in 1993 (see perlhist), Perl version 5 is nearly a complete rewrite that provides the following additional benefits:

Okay, that's definitely enough hype.