Perl, the forgotten language of the web, is about to come under the spotlight.
In a bid to brush aside the hype surrounding Java and ActiveX, a publishing company is set to stage what it claims is the world's first conference for Perl programmers.
According to Tim O'Reilly, president of O'Reilly & Associates, the company hosting the event, 98% of all active web pages use Perl, and yet the language has not received anywhere near the same attention as Sun's Java or Microsoft's ActiveX. Perl is so-called freeware - non-commercial software that is not owned by any one company.
O'Reilly said that while ActiveX and Java were aimed at professional programmers, Perl is so simple that even novice programmers can use it: "The web is not really designed for programmers. It is easy to do easy things in Perl," he commented. "What is significant is that it is easy to become a Perl programmer."
The conference will take place in San Jose between 19 and 21 August, and include sessions on Managing Large Web Sites with Perl, Building CGI Applications in Perl and Perl as a Cross-platform Glue Language. Among the speakers will be Larry Wall, creator of the Perl language and co-author of the book 'Programming Perl'.
Part of the appeal of Perl, according to O'Reilly, is the sheer number of Perl scripts which have been written and are now being shared freely over the Net. He said anyone wishing to use Perl for their web sites could easily get hold of the source code and modify it at will.
While such benefits make Perl an attractive proposition today, O'Reilly fears that its future may be in danger. He hopes the conference will raise the profile of the Perl language among the web community.
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