Perl is a series of interpreted programming language used as a Common Gateway Interface (CGI) scripting language, system administration, graphics programming, network programming and various other applications.

Originally developed by Unisys programmer Larry Wall in 1987 as general-purpose Unix scripting language designed to ease report processing, Perl draws a great deal of its basic structure from the programming language C, and borrows aspects from shell programming, as well.

Coding database applications is a common use for Perl, as its text-handling capabilities are handy for creating SQL queries, with hashes, arrays and automatic memory management that simplify the collection and processing of data returned by queries. One example is the Perl DBI application programming interface (API), in which the arguments to the API can be rendered as the text of SQL queries, effectively making it possible to program in several different languages at the same time.

A curious pastime of Perl programmers is a game called Perl golf, in which the programmer tries to reduce the number of characters used in a Perl program to the lowest number possible. In 2000, a Perl golf tournament of sorts called Perl Golf Apocalypse was held at the Perl Conference 4.0.