Perl is a high-level, general-purpose, interpreted, dynamic programming language. Though Perl is not officially an acronym, there are various backronyms in usage, such as: 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. The latest major stable revision is 5.16, released in May 2012. Perl 6 is a complete redesign of the language, announced in 2000 and still under active development as of 2012. Perl borrows features from other programming languages including C, shell scripting (sh), AWK, and sed. The language provides powerful text processing facilities without the arbitrary data length limits of many contemporary Unix tools, facilitating easy manipulation of text files. Perl gained widespread popularity in the late 1990s as a CGI scripting language, in part due to its parsing abilities.
Contributions by Swmcd, Chocolateboy, and PhilHibbs.