Many users say that Perl 5.005 is Perl's most significant release since its creator, Larry Wall, developed the scripting language about 10 years ago. This belief certainly holds true for the Win32 implementation, Perl for Win32.
A Genuine Perl
A single Perl code base is the most significant improvement Perl 5.005 provides to the Win32 community. Before version 5.005, users chose between two popular Perl for Win32 distributions: ActiveState Tool's build, and the Win32 support bundled with Perl's 5.004 core.
The disparate builds resulted in scripts that would run under one implementation but not the other. In addition, extension modules developed for one build would not work with the competing build without modification. The result was a confusing situation for those users wanting to leverage Perl on the Win32 platform.
Perl 5.005 merges the two previously popular Win32 builds into one unified package and eliminates past incompatibilities. Perl 5.005 provides more than a unified code base, however, because it includes many improvements found in Perl's regular expression engine, performance, initial support for OS and user-mode threads, the addition of an experimental compiler module, hundreds of bug fixes, and much, much more.
ActiveState Tool's Active-Perl builds on the bene-fits of Perl 5.005 by incorporating additional com-ponents and ease-of-use features into Perl's Win32 distribution. ActivePerl includes an InstallShield wizard, which makes Perl's installations and upgrades a snap on Win32 platforms. The bundled Perl Package Manager (PPM) simplifies installing and maintaining hundreds of available Perl modules that are now compatible with version 5.005. ActivePerl also includes a comprehensive collection of HTML-based documentation.
The combined effort of the Perl developer community, ActiveState Tool, and O'Reilly & Associates has done more than merely release a new version of Perl. More notably, Perl 5.005 represents a level of collaboration rarely seen across multiple OS platforms. The result is a scripting tool aimed at helping systems administrators and Web developers regardless of platform.
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