FAQ 1.8: Is Perl difficult to learn?

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This message is one of several periodic postings to comp.lang.perl.misc
intended to make it easier for perl programmers to find answers to
common questions. The core of this message represents an excerpt
from the documentation provided with Perl.


1.8: Is Perl difficult to learn?

    No, Perl is easy to start learning--and easy to keep learning. It looks
    like most programming languages you're likely to have experience with,
    so if you've ever written a C program, an awk script, a shell script, or
    even a BASIC program, you're already partway there.

    Most tasks only require a small subset of the Perl language. One of the
    guiding mottos for Perl development is "there's more than one way to do
    it" (TMTOWTDI, sometimes pronounced "tim toady"). Perl's learning curve
    is therefore shallow (easy to learn) and long (there's a whole lot you
    can do if you really want).

    Finally, because Perl is frequently (but not always, and certainly not
    by definition) an interpreted language, you can write your programs and
    test them without an intermediate compilation step, allowing you to
    experiment and test/debug quickly and easily. This ease of
    experimentation flattens the learning curve even more.

    Things that make Perl easier to learn: Unix experience, almost any kind
    of programming experience, an understanding of regular expressions, and
    the ability to understand other people's code. If there's something you
    need to do, then it's probably already been done, and a working example
    is usually available for free. Don't forget the new perl modules,
    either. They're discussed in Part 3 of this FAQ, along with CPAN, which
    is discussed in Part 2.


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