A programming language whose acronym stands for “Practical Extraction and Report Language”. Perl is a powerful, yet unstructured language that is especially good for writing quick and dirty programs that process text files. Because of these abilities, Perl is a common choice of programmers for writing CGI scripts to automate input and output from web pages. It is one of the very few languages still used today that is based on an interpreter rather than a compiler. Perl was invented in 1986 by Larry Wall and is available to anyone at no charge.