O'Reilly Perl Resource Center

More About JPL

Perl Box Imagine a tool that allows programmers to leverage the power of Perl for such tasks as network connectivity and string processing, while making the most of Java's powerful graphical capabilities. That's JPL.

JPL is not necessarily an acronym, but the J stands for Java, and the PL comes from .pl, a common file extension used for perl scripts.

With the growing popularity of both Perl and Java, O'Reilly is taking on the challenge of making these two powerful, but seemingly disparate, languages work together to create rich, hybrid applications. JPL is the beginning of that effort.

Written especially for the Perl Resource Kit by Larry Wall, creator of Perl, JPL is a toolkit for creating Java-Perl applications. This new Java/Perl interface allows programmers to write Java classes with Perl implementations. Using JPL, Perl programmers can exploit Java's wide availability, while using Perl for the things that it does better than Java (such as string processing). JPL is only available with the Perl Resource Kit, and it comes bundled on the Kit's CD-ROM along with other useful tools, information, and examples.

The JPL toolkit includes a preprocessor and a run-time module that unite Java and Perl code and allow you to invoke Perl from Java as well as call Java from Perl. With JPL, the Perl interpreter can be embedded in Java, and Perl methods can call back into Java, invoking Java methods and accessing Java class and instance fields. JPL is more than just a link between the two languages; it also provides the syntactic sugar that glues the two languages together in a transparent fashion.

JPL can be used to build graphically rich, network-enabled applications that take advantage of the strengths of Java and Perl. A number of example programs that showcase the wide possibilities available with JPL are developed in the Resource Kit's Perl Utilities Guide volume and included on the Kit's CD-ROM for you to use in your own JPL applications.

This first version of JPL, while extremely useful to Perl programmers, isn't the end-product of Larry Wall's hopes for Java-Perl integration with JPL. Future editions of the Resource Kit will include enhanced versions of JPL, and eventually Larry hopes to be able to compile a Perl script into Java bytecode.

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