Please consider also that a GUI interface is important and the only good one in Perl I know is the Tk module. I already know a good advantage of Visual Basic
Take a look at wxperl
. It's a good alternative to tk, and uses native widgets across its supported platforms. Although I'm not sure what you mean by "supported by Microsoft Applications", but I've been able to program Outlook clients, Excel spreadsheets, and Win32 process monitors in perl, and (in the case of outlook) perl's win32 bindings made the task easier than VB.