They call Perl “the Swiss Army® Knife of practical computer programming” for, I think, two main reasons:
It’s very efficient at ripping huge files of strings apart (with its excellent regular-expression implementation), building complex data-structures in memory (with its references system and its very powerful hash-tables), and thereby efficiently doing the sort of things that we “do for a living.”
CPAN ... need I say more. Many thousands of modules which you can “simply retrieve and drop in,” in order to do just about anything you can imagine. The modules adapt themselves to your system as necessary and rigorously self-test themselves, so you have a high degree of confidence in them. This one thing is, to me at least, what Perl is all about.
And I will simply stop short of any “Perl vs. that” arguments, because such a thing just doesn’t make any sense. Most of us use several languages all the time, and have used many more. (Given sufficient Pepto-Bismol® and in-flight barf-bags, that even includes Java.) ;-) Perl is a well-built system ... a little quirky, sure, but aren’t they all. When you want to haul a train-load of revenue freight, you look at the power and the dependability of the locomotive, not its quirks. Asserting that you have found one language to be good in this regard, doesn’t speak ill of any other one, and also doesn’t mean that you don’t regularly use them also.
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