Perl, Practical Extraction and Reporting Language, is a mouthful to say, but shouldn't be judged by its somewhat bland name. Originally designed to make working with text data simple, Perl has been expanded by developers to handle tasks such as image manipulation and client/server activities. Because of its ease of use and capability to work with ambiguous user input, Perl is a popular web development language.

For example, assume that you want to extract a phone number from an input string. A user might enter 555-5654, 5552231, 421-5552313, and so on. It is up to the application to find the area code, local exchange, and identifier numbers. In Perl, doing so is simple:

 #!/usr/bin/perl print "Please enter a phone number:"; $phone=<STDIN>; ...

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