Perl is a scripting language used primarily for CGI Web applications. Common in Unix and sometimes Windows -- rare on iSeries. It can be extended with libraries for the specific platform to allow reading database tables etc.
In general this would be a "cleaner" way to develop server side access using the MVC (Model-View-Controller) concept with Java beans accessing server functions. Also for the iSeries, Java beans from IBM in the Java toolkit and WDSC offer a far richer set of options than Perl for integrating iSeries programs and data on the Web.
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