You should also check out Network Programming with Perl.
The first two chapters are devoted to exactly what you need.
Then, after you master those concepts, you've got a whole
book on applying that knowledge to networking. Awesome book!
in reply to Process management
Process management is the fancy name for getting
programs to 'talk' to each other, keeping track of
what a program is doing, keeping track of the children
spawned, etc. Very important stuff.