Learning Perl on Win32 Systems

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Foreword to the Present Edition

I hope you enjoy using Perl on Win32 and are as enthralled as I was when I first experienced Perl. Easy tasks were easy and hard tasks were possible - cool! While at hip communications inc., I started using the Perl 4 port developed in part by Clark Williams from Intergraph and Dean Troyer from Honeywell. Seeing the need for a Win32 port of Perl 5, I convinced Microsoft to fund the core port, Automation support, additional administrative modules, and an ISAPI plug in. After leaving hip communications inc. and taking Perl for Win32 with me, I started ActiveWare Internet Corp. and developed PerlScript, again with Microsoft funding. Responding to the demand for commercial Perl-related products and services, my development partner, Doug Lankshear, and I founded ActiveSTATE tool corporation where we are striving to balance freeware and commercial software development efforts.

As the operator of the perl-win32-* mailing lists, I am very relieved with the release of this book. There is finally a definitive, introductory reference for Perl on Win32 systems. Most of the Perl books that I have seen have a UNIX slant that can be very confusing to the uninitiated. I now have somewhere to send the aspiring but confused Win32 Perl developer.

Unlike UNIX systems, which typically come with several powerful scripting tools, Windows systems are shipped without one (I don't count batch files or <gasp> BASIC in the "powerful" category). Fortunately Perl is freely available for Win32 systems to help you create scripting solutions for everything from repetitive system administration tasks to building powerful, dynamic web sites. Perl for Win32 gives you access to the Registry, event logs, ODBC databases, and any Automation Object so that you can glue together all the components you need to solve the task at hand.

If you are experienced with Perl on UNIX platforms, this book will help you become familiar with the unique features of Perl for Win32. Either as a novice or experienced programmer, whether you are a System Administrator, Web Master, or Power User, you will be brought up to speed and ready to use Perl to solve real problems on Win32 systems. You will also be poised to take advantage of all the cool stuff coming for Perl. Some of these technologies are: tools to make it easier to develop and manage Perl modules, graphical development environments; enhanced Automation capabilities and performance; as well as solid compiler, multithread, and Unicode support.

I am excited about Perl and its future - I hope you are too.

Dick Hardt
July 1997

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