Should Web Developers Know Perl?
Learning Perl for web development is not a must, there are many other server-side programming languages that you can use in place of Perl.
Since its development by Larry Wall in 1987, Perl grew in popularity and usage in web development and other software development fields.
But in recent times, its popularity has drastically decreased. A 2021 Stack Overflow Survey reported that Perl is loved by only 36% of professional developers versus 64% of developers who dreaded it.
According to statistics from w3techs.com, “Perl is used by 0.1% of all the websites whose server-side programming language we know.”
Perl’s usage for web development has been decreasing over the years, many companies that were using it have replaced it with other server-side languages but there are still a lot of companies using it.
Perl is a high-level, general-purpose, interpreted, dynamic programming language.
It is a highly capable, feature-rich programming language with over 30 years of development, its syntax is easy to follow and understand, making it easy to get started with.
Perl is used widely for Web development projects, many shared hosting companies provide great support for Perl, meaning hosting your Perl-based project will be easy.
Perl can be used to handle encrypted data, E-commerce transactions, and more. It also has packages that can help you to easily work with databases,
PERL WEB FRAMEWORKS
To make it easy to work with Perl, you can use a Perl-based Web framework called Catalyst, you can also Perl’s DBI package to make web-database integration easy.
Other common Perl-based web frameworks include Dancer2, Mojolicius, Jifty, Interchange, etc. These web frameworks make developing web applications with Perl easy and fun.
There are many popular websites and companies using Perl, some of them include Amazon, IMDB, BBC, Duckduckgo, Booking.com, MIT, Roblox, and many others.
It can be seen that Perl is, trusted and used by a lot of big companies and businesses.
But seeing that Perl is losing popularity and few companies are using it these days, you can use other alternatives for server-side programming.
Learning Perl for web development is completely optional.
WHAT ARE ALTERNATIVES TO PERL FOR WEB DEVELOPMENT
There are many server-side programming languages that you can use as an alternative to Perl. Here are some of the popular ones:
PHP is the most popular server-side programming language, it powers more websites on the internet than the rest of the server-side programming languages put together.
According to statistics from w3techs.com, “PHP is used by 77.5% of all the websites whose server-side programming language we know.”
PHP website usage has been decreasing over the years, but it will take more than 25 years to decrease to 50% at the rate at which it is decreasing.
To make your development process easy, quick, and well structured, you can use PHP frameworks such as Laravel, Symfony, CodeIgniter, Slim, Zend, Phalcon, CakePHP, and many others.
PHP is used by many popular platforms and websites such as WordPress, Drupal, Wikipedia, Facebook, Slack, Etsy, Tumblr, MailChimp, etc. PHP is simple to work with and it is a great alternative to Perl.
Node.js is used by web developers for server scripting.
To make it easy to work with Node.js, frameworks such as Express.js, Sails.js, Koa.js, etc. are popularly used.
Python has an easy-to-understand syntax that makes it easy to write code. Getting started with Python is much easier than with Perl.
Python is used a lot by web developers for backend development. According to a 2021 Stack Overflow survey, Python is the third most used programming language by professional developers.
Python Django is one of the most popular web development frameworks, it was used to build part of the Instagram backend.
Other Python web frameworks that can be used in place of Perl include Flask, FastAPI, CherryPy, Falcon, etc.
Go is an open-source programming language supported by Google, Go is used in web development to power fast and scalable web applications.
It is a good alternative to Perl. Some of the companies using Go are shown in the image below
You can also use Java as an alternative to Perl for server-side programming. Java is used by many websites, especially in the enterprise world.
You can learn more about how Java is used in Web Development in our article DO YOU NEED JAVA FOR WEB DEVELOPMENT.
Since its invention in 1995 by Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto of Japan, Ruby has grown in popularity and usage to become the third most widely used server-side programming language after PHP and ASP.NET.
According to statistics from w3techs.com, “Ruby is used by 5.9% of all the websites whose server-side programming language we know.”
Ruby usage for making websites has been decreasing over the years, but it is still one of the popular choices for many companies and startups.
Ruby is much easier to work with than Perl, its syntax is simple, elegant, and English-like, similar to that of Python.
Getting started with Ruby and Ruby on Rails for web development is very easy and you will serve a lot of development time by using this language and its framework.
The popular online E-commerce store builder Shopify was written in Ruby (Ruby on Rails).
Other popular websites using Ruby include Twitter, Github, Basecamp, Airbnb, Dribbble, Hulu, Kickstarter, Zendesk, Fiverr, SoundCloud, and many others.
There are many other alternatives to Perl that I have not listed here.
The availability and usage of many other powerful server-side programming languages and frameworks show that you can work on web development projects without using Perl.
It can be seen that even though Perl is used by a lot of web developers and companies, learning Perl for web development is completely optional, and you can do without Perl.
Only 0.1% of all websites use Perl, leaving a huge room for other server-side programming languages such as Python, C#, Ruby, Go, Scala, PHP, Java, etc.
Plus, Perl is drastically losing popularity in the web development field, you will be better off learning other modern widely used server-side programming languages than Perl.
If you want to make a website but you do not want to write any server-side or frontend code, you can use Website builders like WordPress, Shopify, Bubble, Wix, Squarespace, etc. to do all the heavy lifting for you.
You can make powerful websites without writing any lines of code.