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Perl Builder

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Perl Builder 2.0 Programming Tool for Perl and CGI - FAQ

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How can Professional Perl Developers and Novices/non-programmers both benefit from Perl Builder 2.0?

What advantages does Perl Builder offer over other tools available for Perl development?

What is your policy for updates/upgrades?

I'm just getting started with Perl and/or CGI programming. Where should I start?

Can I use Perl Builder if my scripts need to run on a UNIX server?

Is Perl Builder only useful for CGI Programming?

If I install Perl Builder, can I still continue to use the command line debugger and other tools I use now?

What is your technical support policy?

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How can Professional Perl Developers and Novices/Non-Programmers both benefit from Perl Builder 2.0?

Perl Builder is designed to be useful to people with a wide range of skill levels:

If you are a professional developer...

If you are an experienced Perl developer, Perl Builder's powerful IDE and advanced debugging features will help you to rapidly develop, debug and test your scripts. Perl Builder 2.0 Professional was developed based directly on input from the many professional Perl programmers who adopted version 1.0 of our product. 

The Professional version includes the tools that advanced developers need to get the most out of their time. With Perl Builder 2.0, you can focus more time and effort on high level architecture and designing great code--instead of on tracking down and fixing run-time and compiler errors.

If you are just getting started...

On the other hand, if you are an HTML author without a programming background, or if you are just getting started with Perl, Perl Builder will allow you to create powerful CGI scripts visually--without the need to write code!

Once the CGI Wizard generates your code, you can step through it in the debugger and see how it works--a great way to learn Perl!

Have you ever tried to get a script working after FTP'ing it to a remote server? If it contains a compiler error such as a missing semi-colon, you'll just get a blank browser screen with no information to help you track down the problem. With Perl Builder, you can run the script on your desktop and see results such as automatic emails and personalized HTML output right in the Perl Builder IDE or in your web browser. So you don't have to worry about moving your script to the server, until you know it works.

What advantages does Perl Builder offer over other tools available for Perl development?

Perl Builder provides a complete set of tools which make it easy to create, debug and test Perl scripts.  Here is a brief look at some of the most important features in Perl Builder:

The CGI Wizard

The CGI Wizard is a tool which allows you to create CGI scripts without programming. To use the CGI Wizard, you start with an HTML form and then use the wizard panels to specify options for your script.

The CGI Wizard is designed so that it can be used by people without a programming background. However, experienced programmers may also find the wizard useful as way to quickly generate and update code.  .

The Ability to Test your Scripts on the Desktop

One of the most important features in Perl Builder is the ability to run your Perl script within the integrated development environment (IDE) and see the results immediately. This is especially significant for CGI scripts, because testing and debugging these scripts can often be difficult.

If you have used an HTML authoring tool like Microsoft Front Page, you are probably used to creating web pages and immediately previewing them in your browser. This ability to preview the pages on your computer saves a lot of time; you typically move the HTML pages to your webserver only after they have been carefully edited and tested on the desktop.

With CGI scripts, the situation is more complicated. Because CGI is integrated into the server, you can only test a CGI script on a webserver. So unless you have installed and configured a webserver on your desktop computer, you can't use your browser to test a script on your local drive.

For this reason, CGI scripts are typically tested and debugged directly on the server. However, this can be a difficult and confusing process, especially if you are not an experienced CGI developer or webmaster. In particular, finding and fixing problems in your scripts can be very difficult.

Perl Builder addresses these problems by simulating CGI on the desktop. When you run a CGI script in Perl Builder, it works in the same way it would if it were running on a webserver. You can see the output right away and display it in your web browser--in much the same way that you would preview a static HTML page. This allows you to find and fix any problems in your script before you move it to the server.

Integrated Editor/Debugger

Perl Builder provides a visual editor/debugger which is similar to other Microsoft Windows programming tools like Visual Basic or Delphi. The editor includes features like color syntax highlighting which make it easier to write and understand your code.

The integrated debugger makes it easy to set breakpoints, single step through code and inspect the values of variables in your script. These features--especially when combined with Perl Builder's ability to simulate CGI--make it much easier to find problems in your code.

What is your policy for updates/upgrades?

Maintenance updates are always free downloads for registered users. We indicate maintenance releases with letters, as in version 2.0a, 2.0b, etc.

For major upgrades, we always offer existing customers a substantial discount over what new customers pay.

I'm just getting started with Perl and/or CGI programming. Where should I start?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Download the Perl Builder 2.0 Evaluation Version and read the accompanying Getting Started manual. You can access this under the Help menu. The Getting Started Manual contains lots of information which is geared toward novices/non-programmers.
  • Complete the Perl Builder tutorial. This is available under the Perl Builder Help menu.
  • Visit our Perl Resources Page. This page contains links to tutorials, FAQs, and other resources which will help you to learn and use Perl
  • Get a good book on Perl. There are some recommended books on our resources page (above).

Can I use Perl Builder if my scripts will need to run on a UNIX server?

Yes. In fact, the defaults for CGI scripts built into Perl Builder assume that your script will ultimately run under UNIX, since this is the most popular operating system for webservers.

The idea behind Perl Builder is that it offers you the convenience of developing and testing your Perl scripts on the Windows 9x/NT/2000 or Linux desktop. Once you have created and tested your script, you can easily move it to a UNIX (or NT) webserver. This is very similar to using a Windows-based HTML Editor like Front Page or HomeSite. You create and preview your pages on the desktop, and then move them to your server only after they have been carefully edited and tested.

Is Perl Builder only useful for CGI Programming?

Not at all. It is true that Perl Builder includes a number of important features--such as CGI simulation and the CGI Wizard--which are geared toward CGI development. However, the product also supports development of non-cgi scripts, such as system administration scripts or Perl/TK applications. 

If I install Perl Builder, can I continue to use the command line debugger and other tools I use now?

Yes. Installation and use of Perl Builder does not in any way impact the Perl or the command line debugger. You can continue to use these tools in conjunction with Perl Builder if you wish.

Perl Builder acts just like a standard text editor as far as the command line tools are concerned. This means that, while your script is open in Perl Builder, you can open a console window and run or debug your script using the command line if you wish. This allows you to easily move between Perl Builder's visual environment and the command line as needed.

Perl Builder also includes features to synchronize its IDE with stand-alone editors. So if you have a favorite editor (like emacs or MultiEdit), you can continue using that editor for some or all of your work if you wish.

What is your technical support policy?

Perl Builder comes with comprehensive online documentation. In addition we provide an online support/resource area which has links to FAQs, newsgroups and other resources where you can get answers to questions about Perl programming.

Solutionsoft will provide assistance for installation/configuration problems via email. However, we cannot provide support for Perl programming issues or problems related to installing scripts on your server. For problems of this type, please use the links in our resource area, or contact your ISP or webmaster.

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