Perl is a dynamic scripting language widely used in everything from Linux system utilities to Web servers to full-blown graphical enterprise applications.
During its 20-year history, it gained massive popularity by assimilating the syntax from many predecessors, making it really easy to use for anyone already versed in sed, awk, grep, csh, C/C++, Lisp, and so on.
Perl's syntactical flexibility sometimes makes perl scripts challenging to read, however, and languages like python with rigid syntax structure have arguably gained ground in recent times over perl, for applications that are developed collaboratively.
Additionally, scripting languages specially-made for use on the Web, like PHP and Ruby, have eroded some of perl's once formidable share of the dynamic Web server scripting scene.
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