Computers today store vast amounts of information. But simply having the information doesn't do you any good - you need to be able to search it, access it, and update it, and quickly. That's what databases are for, and that's what this book is about - using Perl to search, access, and update information in databases, whether it's a record of users accessing your system, an index of the thirty thousand products your company sells, or maybe just a catalog of your family snapshots.
Originating well before the World Wide Web was a reality, Perl has been around for over 12 years. Perl was not created for Web/CGI, even though it is very good at that particular task. Perl was created to process and manipulate text effectively.
Perl is an excellent choice for working with databases. Perl is extremely good at working with text, and most databases are simply a collection of text.
Another reason for using Perl is that a vast collection of modules is already written that assists with database access. To see what modules are available, go to http://search.cpan.org. CPAN is the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network. Over 1,000 modules are available on CPAN.
Perl runs on a multitude of platforms. In fact, Perl runs on more platforms than Java, which is supposed to be platform independent.
This book is for both the novice and the expert. A novice Perl programmer can learn a lot from this book. Each bit of code in this book is carefully explained so that the reader can see exactly how every part of the programs work. However, this book is not a comprehensive guide to Perl programming. At least a basic understanding of Perl is required before you can fully utilize this book. For the experts, this book is a valuable resource for picking up Perl database programming, since there are so many examples to learn from.
My goal for this book is to create a Perl guide that can help any Perl programmer who needs to learn how to use Perl with databases. In some cases, you may have an important database project on which your job depends. This book should enable you to get a very good start and give you a nice foundation to build your knowledge upon.