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Until now, all the Perl programs that we have written have simply a set of instructions, line by line. Like any good language, Perl allows one to write modular code. To do this, at the very least, the language must allow the programmer to set aside subroutines of code that can be reused. Perl, of course, provides this feature.

Note that many people call Perl subroutines "functions". We prefer to use the term "functions" for those routines that are built in to Perl, and "subroutines" for code written by the Perl programmer. This is not standard terminology, so you may hear others use subroutines and functions interchangeably, but that will not be the case in this book. We feel that it is easier to make the distinction if we have two different terms for functions and subroutines.

Note that user subroutines can be used anywhere it is valid to use a native Perl function.