This is Chapter 1 from the 2002 O'Reilly book "PERL for Oracle DBAs," available for purchase here.
Perl is the world's number one solution for transforming and gluing data together, and Oracle is the world's number one solution for storing that data. In this book we'll explore the interface between two of the finest American inventions since baseball and pretzels.
In a nutshell, Perl is a freely available interpreted scripting language that combines the best capabilities of a variety of other languages. Despite borrowing other language capabilities, the whole of Perl is far greater than the sum of its parts. Perl was designed especially to be:
- Extremely fast, in order to be useful when scanning through large files
- Especially good at text handling, because data comes in many different forms and Perl has to handle them all
- Extensible, in order for Perl to expand users' horizons, not restrict them
How do Oracle DBAs, developers, and users take advantage of everything that Perl has to offer? This chapter sets the scene by introducing you to Perl and how it connects to Oracle. We'll look at the following:
- Perl's origins and advantages: We'll take a look at where Perl came from and what makes it such a popular and powerful language.
- Perl/Oracle architecture: We'll see how Perl connects to the Oracle database via the Perl DBI module, the DBD::Oracle program, and Oracle's own OCI product. These modules interact to allow Perl programs access to Oracle databases.
- We'll discuss why Perl is a particularly appropriate language for Oracle DBAs to learn and use.