As you see, many of my examples are in Perl. I realize this has some of you PHP users sayd “gee wiz Dean, that’s so 1990′s!” I know, but I’m a old-timer who’s very old school and remembers the day when it was a big thing to have a PC equipped with GWBasic (a.k.a. Gee Wiz Basic). Mostly because it allowed me to quickly mock and model programmatic thoughts, and was a neat little tool for extracting data from various files and generating resports.
Well, imagine the same Practicality for data Extraction and Reporting in a more C-like Language? Even today, when writing and app in MS Visual Studio .NET, I sometimes dip into the command line and hack out an idea in Perl before shooting my foot off with some other “real” language. In other words, I can get ideas and rip apart data quickly and efficiently by having Perl installed in my system – even if I do think PHP a better language for dynamic webpages.
Sound like something you want to try? If so, here are number of CPAN/ports that integrate Win32 support. I believe all or most of them are free. I personally use the ActiveState distribution, and have purchased their Perl Development Kit since version 1.2.