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Get control with 10 useful Perl modules for network programmers

CPAN's network programming category has thousands of Perl modules ranging from general (server daemons) to highly-specific applications (interacting with a Cisco router).

As you may already know, the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN) has a bunch of ready-made Perl modules to enable developers to efficiently perform common tasks. This is particularly true of CPAN's network programming category, which has thousands of Perl modules ranging from general (server daemons) to highly-specific applications (interacting with a Cisco router). Since network programming is one of the areas most developers find potentially troublesome, it’s worthwhile spending some time browsing this collection to see if you can locate something that will help you in your next project.

By listing ten of CPAN’s most interesting modules in this category (Table A), this document provides a starting point for your journey through CPAN’s network programming section.

Note: You can install CPAN modules directly from the Internet, by following the instructions provided at the CPAN Web site.

Table A


Package Name

Description

Net::Server

This module provides routines to create a full-featured server that can be run either as a single-connection server or through the *NIX inetd daemon. It supports server features like multiplexing, forking, access control and transactions on TCP, UDP and UNIX sockets, and can easily be extended through sub-classing.

Use this module when you need to create a highly-customized, extensible server for specific requirements.

Net::POP3

This module provides routines to connect to and perform transactions with a POP3 server through Perl. With this module, your Perl application can authenticate, read and delete messages, or obtain message listings using a pre-defined API.

Use this module when you need to build a Perl-based POP3 email client.

LWP

This module provides an interface to creating HTTP clients and servers. It provides an object-oriented interface to send HTTP requests and decipher HTTP responses through Perl. It also supports proxies, cookies, HTTP authentication and content negotiation, and redirection, all of which come in handy when creating HTTP clients that transact with Web servers.

Use this module when you need to build an HTTP client to interact with a Web server.

Net::Socket

This module provides an object-based interface to creating, managing and destroying TCP/UDP sockets in the Perl environment.

Use this module when you need an object-oriented interface for socket programming in a TCP/IP environment.

Net::DNS

This module provides an interface to the DNS system, allowing you to perform sophisticated DNS queries on a remote host through a Perl application. The module also provides OOP access to different segments of a DNS response.

Use this module when you need to run DNS queries, like looking up nameservers and MX records, or performing zone transfers.

Net::Packet

This module provides a low-level interface to creating and transmitting network packets. You can use it to create different frame layers and send the result out to a network.

Use this module when you need to custom-create TCP, UDP, ICMP, IPv4 or IPv6 packets.

Net::Fileshare

This module provides an API to create file-sharing clients and servers. Clients may be either interactive or automated.

Use this module when you need to create a server to disseminate files, or an automated download client.

Net::FTP

This module provides a wrapper around the FTP protocol, making it possible to create an FTP client application in Perl. It supports PASV transactions, ASCII and binary file transfers, and most common FTP file operations on the remote server.

Use this module when you need to perform an FTP file upload or download through your Perl application.

Net::YMSG

This module provides an interface to the Yahoo! Messenger instant-messaging service, allowing your Perl application to authenticate, send and receive messages over the service.

Use this module when you need a Perl-based interface to communicate with Yahoo! Messenger users.

Net::SSH::Perl

This module provides a Perl interface to the SSH1 and SSH2 secure shell protocols. The module has built-in support for both password and private-key authentication, performs automatic encryption of all data, and can read an existing SSH configuration.

Use this module when your Perl application needs to interface with an SSH-protected host.

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