Perl Documentation

This mention of the perldebtut man page is a good place to talk about the official Perl documentation. There is a very complete set of documentation that comes free with Perl. If everyone was tied down and forced to read every word of it, we’d all know a lot more about Perl.

Unfortunately, the sheer quantity of the Perl documentation, along with the fact that much of it is written for people who are already experienced programmers, can make things tough for accidental programmers. There is a subset of the Perl documentation, though, that you should definitely try to familiarize yourself with now—if only so you’ll know where to look for answers later on, when those answers will make more sense to you.

man perl, perldoc perl

You can read the Perl documentation by entering man perl at the Unix command line. If you are on a system that doesn’t have the man command (for example, because you installed Perl locally on your PC or Mac), you can use a utility called perldoc that comes bundled with Perl by entering perldoc perl. (Also, the ActiveState version of Perl installs the Perl documentation as HTML pages accessible under the Start menu.)

The Perl documentation has been split up into numerous sections; you access the appropriate section by entering man sectionname or perldoc sectionname. More about this, including the list of section names, in that first man perl page.

Some of those Perl manpages are going to be over your head for now, but among the ones you should ...

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