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Welcome to the Monastery!

This node has been developed as a collaborative effort by the Perl Monks to help people who are new to Perl and may be unfamiliar with online forums. New posters to perl monks may (in the fullness of time) be sent a link to here to provide a useful entry point to all things Monastery and Perl. This is our attempt to help newcomers get the most out of the monastery and a language we love.


Monastery Specific Information

1. Instant answers for common Perl problems

Perl Monks has its own extensive Question and Answer section which has a different focus from the standard Perl FAQ. Most common perl coding problems are addressed in these two documents.

2. Please, please, please use the following

#!/usr/bin/perl -w # "-w" turns on all sorts of warnings about probable errors. 

use diagnostics;   # optional; causes warnings to be explained in greater detail.
use strict;        # generates compile and run-time errors for certain unsafe constructs.

3. Getting Answers

To get the fastest, friendliest, most useful answer we recommend you read these:
How to get the most of your question from the monks | Before You Post ...

4. Finding help

There are a number of resources at the monastery for new users:
Guide to the Monastery | Perl Monks Site FAQ | Tutorials

5. SuperSearch

Super Search is an online Perl Monks utility that allows you to comprehensively search the Monastery for answers.

6. Just who/what are Perl Monks?

Basically the Monks are a group of individuals from across the globe who share a common interest in Perl. All are welcome and experience levels range from novice to guru. Everyone gets a home node that they are free to decorate as they see fit. You may like to check out some of the home nodes of our resident gurus, they are as eclectic as Perl itself but contain a wealth of knowledge and experience. You will find them here: Saints in our Book. For extensive link lists try ybiC, merlyn, or outside links for starters.

General Perl Information

7. Do you want the latest version of Perl?

You can get a binary copy of Perl, ready to install, for almost any platform here. If you want to compile the source yourself go here.

8. Are you looking for a good editor, IDE, debugger, tutorial or book?

You will find an extensive list of editors/IDEs, books and more here.

9. Are you trying to get a CGI script working?

The web and CGI is probably the most common reason for people to discover Perl. The leading block of reusable code for CGI purposes is Good entry points to all things, and why you should be using it are: use CGI or die and no excuses for not using If you are having problems with a CGI script, look through CGI Help Guide and the idiots guide to CGI.

10. Are you checking the return values from the functions built in to perl?

Most of the file and system functions set $! and have return values that you can test thus:
open(FILE, "</file.txt") or die "Error opening /file.txt Perl says: $!\n";
$! will contain an error message that will give you more information on where your program is going wrong. The perlfunc man page will give you more information on the return values from functions.

11. Have you discovered all the free documentation?

As well as being a part of the standard Perl distribution (ie installed on your system with Perl) the man pages are available at the Library. Depending on you Perl distribution they may or may not be available in html format for ease of browsing. Read the installation documentation, look for /perl/html/index.html, or try typing "perldoc perldoc" at a command prompt.
Other excellent places to go for the online Perl documentation and tutorials are:

12. Have you dicovered the power of CPAN and Perl modules?

You may find there is already a Perl module to satisfy your needs. Many thousands of free reusable Perl modules are available for immediate download and use from CPAN - the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network. These modules provide code to do almost anything you can imagine, usually written by a person with specific expertise in that particular area. See the big list here for details.

Some of the benefits of using modules include speeding development time, and increased reliability. As many modules have been widely used many of the bugs have already been ironed out for you. Modules are generally updated with bug fixes so maintenance becomes as easy as installing the new module.

To get them working A Guide To Installing Modules and installing modules on Win32 may be helpful.


As of Jun 10, 2001 the following monks have all contributed to this document : tachyon, petdance, LD2, VSarkiss, jptxs, Vizjerai, Brovnik, ar0n , myocom, boo_radley, TStanley, perigeeV, converter, frag, ZZamboni, arhuman, mpolo, kudra, marcink, tilly, Abigail, Vynce, Lexicon, mpolo, Odud. Thank you all. Increasingly loosely based on a c.l.p.m. document by Nathan Torkington.

How could we possibly finish without a message from our 'sponsor' ;-)
Click here to check out our stuff (it's hot): Perl Monks Merchandise

In reply to New Monks by tachyon

Use:  <p> text here (a paragraph) </p>
and:  <code> code here </code>
to format your post; it's "PerlMonks-approved HTML":

  • Are you posting in the right place? Check out Where do I post X? to know for sure.
  • Posts may use any of the Perl Monks Approved HTML tags. Currently these include the following:
    <code> <a> <b> <big> <blockquote> <br /> <dd> <dl> <dt> <em> <font> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <hr /> <i> <li> <nbsp> <ol> <p> <small> <strike> <strong> <sub> <sup> <table> <td> <th> <tr> <tt> <u> <ul>
  • Snippets of code should be wrapped in <code> tags not <pre> tags. In fact, <pre> tags should generally be avoided. If they must be used, extreme care should be taken to ensure that their contents do not have long lines (<70 chars), in order to prevent horizontal scrolling (and possible janitor intervention).
  • Want more info? How to link or or How to display code and escape characters are good places to start.
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