It might seem it has been asked numerous times, but in fact it hasn't. I did my research, and now I'm eager to hear others' opinions.
I have experience with PHP 5, both with functional and object oriented programming methods. I created a few feature-minimalistic websites.
Professionals may agree about PHP not being a programming language that encourages good development habits. (I believe it's not the task of the tool, but this doesn't matter.) Furthermore, its performance is also controversial and often said to be poor compared to competitors.
In the 42nd podcast at Stack Overflow blog a developer from Poland asked what language he should learn in order to improve his skills. Jeff and Joel suggested that every one of them would help, altough there are specific ones that are better in some ways. Despite they made some great points, it didn't help me that much.
From a beginner point of view,
there are not one may not see (correction suggested by S. Lott) many differences between Perl & Python. I would like You to emphasize their strenghts and weaknesses and name a few unique services.
Of course, this wouldn't be fair as I could also check both of them. So here's my wishlist and requirements to help You help me.
First of all, I'd like to follow OOP structures and use it fundamentally. I partly planned a multiuser CMS using MySQL and XML, so the greater the implementations are, the better. Due to its foreseen nature, string manipulation will be used intensively.
If there aren't great differences, comparisons should probably mention syntax and other tiny details that don't matter in the first place.
So, here's my question: which one should I try first -- Perl || Python?
Both Perl and Python have their own fans, which is great. I'd like to say I'm grateful for all participation -- there is no trace of any flame war.
I accepted the most valued answer, although there are many great mini-articles below. As suggested more often, I will go with Python first. Then I'll try Perl later on. Let me see which one fits my mind better.
During the development of my special CMS, I'm going to ask more regarding programming doubts -- because developers now can count on each other! Thank you.
Edit: There were some people suggesting to choose Ruby or Java instead. Java has actually disappointed me. Maybe it has great features, maybe it hasn't. I wouldn't enjoy using it.
In addition, I was told to use Ruby. So far, most of the developers I communicate with have quite bad opinion about Ruby. I'll see it myself, but that's the last element on my priority list.
Perl is a very nice language and CPAN has a ton of mature modules that will save you a lot of time. Furthermore, Perl is really moving forwards nowadays with a lot of interesting projects (unlike what uninformed fanboys like to spread around). Even a Perl 6 implementation is by now releasing working Perl 6.
I you want to do OO, I would recommend Moose.