Perl and Python are both programming languages, but they perform different tasks. Between the two, Perl was first invented by Larry Wall, who was a programmer and linguist from America in December 1987. Perl 1.0 was the first version designed for operating systems based on UNIX.

Python was later launched on February 20, 1991, by Guido van Rossum as a hobby project during the December holidays. It was just a programming language. Python made coding simple to use, learn, comprehend, and master.

The main difference between Python and Perl is that they are both based on ideas that are complete. Perl needs a semicolon at the end, while Python doesn’t need the use of a semicolon.

Perl vs Python: Side by Side Comparison

FeaturePerlPython
What it isPerl is a programming language made up of two general-purpose, interpreted, and high-level dynamic programming languages. Perl is typically used for information extraction directly from text files and converting a certain text file to another different form or printing a report out. Python is a general-purpose, high-level programming language that was designed to emphasize the code’s readability by using an important indentation. The Python language is object-oriented and constructs an approach that helps programmers write logical, clear code for large and small-scale projects.
Primary Use      The main general purpose for Perl is a high-level language mostly used for CGI scripts. Some popular projects that are used in Perl include Bugzilla and CPanel. The main purpose for designing Perl was to be a replacement of shell scripts that are complex. Python is widely used due to one general-purpose, its programming language with high level. Due to python’s support and rich library, it has many applications available on the Desktop Application, Web Development and Machine Learning among others.  
Initial release   Perl was released in December 1987 by an American linguist and programmer Larry Wall. The first version was Perl 1.0 for running computers on the UNIX operating systems. Python was first launched on February 20, 1991, by Guido van Rossum. It was designed to serve only one purpose of programming. Python is an interpreter, widely-used, high-level, and object-oriented programming language. 
CodingPerl coding seems to be much more complicated when compared to codes that are written using python.Python coding seems to be much simpler to code and very easy to understand. 
Influential developers             Larry WallGuido van Rossum, Python Software Foundation
WhitespaceWhitespace is not that important in Perl.Python mostly deals with whitespaces and if they are not according to python, it results in a syntax error.
Code blocksIn Perl, all the code blocks are identified and marked using braces.In python, all the code blocks are identified and marked using indentation. 
Use of semicolonsWhen using Perl, all your statements should always have a semicolon at the end.In Python, semi-colons are not a necessity to use at the end of the statement because it mostly deals with whitespace.
Types of dataMost of the data types that are in Perl include Arrays, string, Hashes, numeric, and scalars.Most of the data types that are in python include strings, dictionaries, numeric, tuples, and lists.  
File extensionsPerl Scripts are saved using the file extension .pl.Python Scripts are saved using .py.

Perl vs Python: 10 Must-Know Facts

  • Perl was launched as an alternative to text files. It keeps being modified to perform other different tasks in addition to text files. At times, the Perl code is difficult to read due to the many symbols used in writing besides numbers and letters.
  • Python was launched by Guido Van Rossum in 1991 as a hobby project. When he got the idea of Python, he was looking for a project that would keep him busy during Christmas for a week. He had thoughts of coming up with a new scripting language that would appeal to C/Unix hackers and a descendant of ABC. He decided to name it Python.
  • The initial name for Perl was Pearl. Larry Wall decided to give Perl a shorter name that had positive connotations. Larry also wanted to name it after his lovely wife, Gloria. He revealed that before the name spelling and the official release, the Pearl programming language existed.
  • Tim Peter, who is a contributor to the Python community, wrote a poem about Python called “The Zen of Python”. This poem states some amazing facts about Python.
  • Perl has introduced some amazing, robust tools that are used for processing texts and make it absolutely necessary to work with HTML, XML and all other markup and natural languages.
  • One amazing feature that is found in Python is Function Argument Unpacking. You can unpack a dictionary or a list as function arguments by simply using * and **, respectively.
  • Perl is licensed under both the Artistic License 1.0 and the GNU General Public License. The capabilities for handling text in Perl can also be used in coming up with SQL queries. Arrays, automatic memory management, and hashes make the process easy to process and collect the returned data.
  • In Python, you can use the clause “else” with a loop “for”. This is a special syntax type that executes when the loop exits naturally and doesn’t have a break statement.
  • Perl is an optional component that is used in the popular technology stack of the Lamp for developing websites at the pace of Python or PHP.
  • The Python coding language is very easy to write in as well as understand compared to other programming languages like Perl.

Summary of Perl vs Python

Perl 

Perl is a programming language that was launched by Larry Wall in 1987. It was made up of two general-purpose, interpreted, and high-level dynamic programming languages. Perl is typically used for information extraction directly from text files and converting a certain text file to another different form or printing a report out. Perl also offers tools to solve complicated problems like systems programming.

The programs that are written using Perl are known as Perl Scripts, while Perl programs simply mean the system program that is called Perl and is used for executing Perl scripts.

Features of Perl

  • It has a lot of in-built functions that are used for operating system functions and support text processing.
  • Due to its very expensive nature, most codes written in it are short, even for large programs.
  • Perl gives you procedural programming with expressions, subroutines, variables, and code blocks.
  • Perl 5 has some added features that help in supporting object-oriented programming data structures.
  • Data management tasks can be done using associative arrays.
  • Codes that are written using Perl 6, which is also known as Raku, can be called directly from within the Perl program and the other way round.
  • Perl 5 is now a CGI scripting language that is commonly used in finance, network programming, and system administration, among others.

Pros of Perl

  • It enables the user to use the same code in different styles.
  • Using Perl, generation reports can be easily done.
  • It is very simple to code because it doesn’t use whitespace.
  • Perl has powerful options for String Comparison that helps in writing short and quick codes.
  • Most input and output operations are faster when using Perl.
  • Perl has a multi-purpose language.
  • It appears to be Shell Language.
  • Perl is a more mature language.
  • It uses braces and follows the traditional approach for both loops and functions.
  • Perl can be functional, imperative, object-oriented, or procedural, depending on what it is needed for.

Disadvantages of Perl

  • It always creates problems when large codes are used.
  • Perl is very slow for many tasks.
  • It has very ugly libraries.

Python

Python is a general-purpose, high-level programming language that was designed by Guido Van Rossum and was officially released on February 20, 1991. It was designed to emphasize the code’s readability by using an important indentation. The Python language is object-oriented and constructs an approach that helps programmers write logical, clear code for large and small-scale projects.

Features of Python

  • It is very easy to learn, understand, and master.
  • Python has many pre-built libraries, so it makes coding easy.
  • The code of Python runs on different hardware and operating systems.
  • Debugging code in Python is simple because the code is very easy.
  • Some database integration is possible when using Python, like Oracle and MySQL, among others.
  • Python has an automatic garbage collection.
  • It is easy to integrate Python with other different programming languages such as Java, C++, and C, among others.

Pros of Python

  • It supports large programs and they can be written by just using a few code lines.
  • Python has a simple syntax that makes it easy to understand and learn.
  • Lines don’t need to end with a semicolon because Python uses indentation and whitespace.
  • Python has strong and amazing support from libraries because the areas that use Python are vast, like big data, desktop applications, machine learning, web programming, etc.
  • Python can be installed for free and used to write asynchronous code in a matter of minutes.
  • The Python programming language can help in increasing productivity.

Cons of Python

  • Python, being an interpreted language, seems to be slower compared to other programming languages.
  • Python’s Global Interpreter Lock makes it not good at threading.

Perl vs Python: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?

Perl and Python were both invented to serve different purposes as programming languages. They both have some similarities as well as differences. Though Perl seems to be faster compared to Python, there are other programming languages that seem to be even faster than Perl.

For beginners in coding, the easiest programming language that can be easily understood, learned, and mastered is Python. Perl is more complicated to master, learn, and understand. Companies that have large programs to be done should consider using Python, or else, companies that need small programs can use Perl.

There are many differences between Perl and Python, but everything has its own pros and cons. If you choose to focus on and understand one programming language, then it is much easier. Perl has its own ways of performing tasks, while Python on the other hand restricts the user.

Python is slowly taking over in the programming language sector due to its high number of packages that are compatible with all computing environments. Perl nowadays seems like it is a dying language because of the newly introduced ones that have better features than Perl. But with the recent announcement of the release of Perl 6, Perl might become better in the near future.

Perl vs Python: Full Comparison FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Which is better: Perl or Python?

Both these two programming languages are better regarding what is needed, but Python has some advantages over Perl because it is easy to learn, understand, and use. While Perl outperforms Python in areas like string manipulation operations.

When do you use Perl vs Python?

Perl is used in different areas, like

  • Writing CGI scripts for busy websites such as LiveJournal, Slashdot, IMDb, and others, as well as large projects such as RT, Splash, Bugzilla, and others.
  • In Debian, Perl is used as a system programming language as well as
  • It is a scripting language for large data processing tasks such as report generation, as well as binding interfaces and systems that are not interoperable.

Python is used in areas like

  • Developing apps for gaming.
  • A web programming language that is used to create web applications and large websites.
  • It is also used in machine learning.
  • Big data analytics.

When was Python created?

Python was created on February 20, 1991, by Guido van Rossum.

Can Python replace Perl?

Perl and Python are both high-level programming languages that were launched to perform and serve different purposes. Python was launched by Guido Van Rossum to provide readability for code users in writing both large and small programs. On the other hand, Larry Wall launched Perl as a scripting language based on UNIX in order to make reports easily.

Is Perl a dying language?

Perl is definitely a dying language. It has been listed among the endangered languages. Better scripting languages with amazing and better features are being invented. But soon they might release Perl 6 with better features that might secure the future for Perl.

Is Perl faster than Python?

Perl is not very fast, but when compared to Python, it tends to be faster. The speed of both Perl and Python depends on the kind of task that is being done.

Which is easier to use: Perl vs Python?

 Python is easy to use compared to Perl. Perl is notoriously difficult to code or even understand.

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