Perl 5.12 is alive and well. While Perl 6 is still on the horizon, ActiveState is using the in-between time to update its Perl Dev Kit (PDK) to version 9. Released on July 14, this new edition adds support for Perl 5.12, the most recent update to the language.

PDK 9 also supports HP-UX and 64-bit PerlNET (ActiveState’s Perl component builder for the .NET Framework) for the first time.

Jeff Hobbs, director of engineering at ActiveState, said these new additions to PDK spread the appeal of Perl across all platforms. “In the latest PDK, we have updated the tools for full support of the new Perl 5.12 release,” he said.

Hobbs referred to a late 2008 Gartner report by Mark Driver, titled “Dynamic Programming Languages Will Be Critical to the Success of Many Next-Generation AD Efforts.” In the report, Driver writes, “Consider dynamic programming languages for projects where .NET and Java are overly complex for project design goals; however, do not assume that dynamic programming will replace investments in established software platforms, such as .NET or Java, in the near future.” That means languages like Perl and PHP need to work in Java and .NET environments.

PerlNET integration means that .NET developers can now implement .NET classes in Perl or have .NET code call out to Perl code. PDK 9 also includes tools for helping to improve the coding skills of new Perl users.

“It provides the extra tools to elevate a Perl programmer’s dev skills, whether newbie or advanced programmer,” said Hobbs. “For development, it includes Perl Critic to recommend best practice coding and static analysis of code, and Coverage Analyzer that handles both code coverage and profiling of Perl code.”

For deployment, PDK 9 can make life easier when it’s time to move an application onto the live servers, said Hobbs. “It also solves deployment issues with PerlApp, wrapping Perl applications into single-file executables that don’t have dependencies. In addition, there are several tools for deep Windows integration, from ActiveX to services to .NET,” he said.

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