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PERL Scalar Variables


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In general as any other programmimg language, variable names consists of numbers, letters and underscores, but they should not start with a number. And the variable $_ is special variable.

A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Perl is case sensitive, so both the variables $a and $A are different.


Perl Scalar Variables

The most basic type of variable in Perl is the scalar variable. Scalar variables hold strings and numbers both, and are remarkable as the strings and numbers are completely interchangable. For example cosider the following statement

$priority = 9;

This statement sets the scalar variable $priority to the value 9, but you can also do assign a character string to the same variable:

$priority = 'high';


Perl accepts numbers as strings, as shown below:

$priority = '9'; $default = '0009';

It can still cope with arithmetic and other operations quite happily.


Perl Operations and Assignment

Perl uses almost all the C arithmetic operators:

$x = 1 + 2; # Add 1 and 2 and store it in $x
$x = 4 - 3; # Subtract 4 from 3 and store in $x
$x = 5 * 6; # Multiply 5 and 6
$x = 7 / 8; # Divides 7 by 8 to give 0.875
$x = 9 ** 10; # Nine to the power of 10
$x = 5 % 2; # Remainder of 5 divided by 2
++$x; # Increment $x and then return it
$x++; # Return $x and then increment it
--$x; # Decrement $x and then return it
$x--; # Return $x and then decrement it

For strings Perl has the following operations:

$x = $y . $z; # Concatenate $y and $z
$x = $y x $z; # $y repeated $z times

To assign values Perl includes the following:

$x = $y; # Assign $y to $x
$x += $y; # Add $y to $x
$x -= $y; # Subtract $y from $x
$x .= $y; # Append $y onto $x

Note: when Perl assigns a value with $x = $y it makes copy of $y and then assigns it to $x. Therefore when you change $y the next time it will not alter $x.


Perl Interpolation

The following fragment prints apples and pears using concatenation operation:

$x = 'apples';
$y = 'pears';
print $x.' and '.$y;

It would be nice to include only one string in the print statement, but in the line below,

print '$x and $y';

prints literally $x and $y which is not that helpful. Instead of this we can use double quotes in the place of the single quotes:

print "$x and $y";

here the double quotes force the interpolation of any codes, including variable interpreting. This is much better than our original statement. Other codes which are interpolated includes some special characters such as newline and tab. The code \n is a newline character and \t is tab.



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