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Difference Between Scripting Language and Programming Language

The proliferation of Internet and the explosive growth of Internet applications over the years have seen a corresponding growth in the use and development of scripting languages. But what exactly are these scripting languages and how are they any different from programming languages? As operating systems have grew, system tasks have become more complex and would require multiple files and system utilities to complete the tasks. A sudden need for a class of high-level languages has emerged that could execute the OS line command, invoke multiple system utilities, work on a large collection of files and directories, and provide a higher level of programming than assembly or system programming languages. As a result, scripting languages are born. PHP and JavaScript are the most common and popular scripting languages in widespread use. But the question remains: What is the difference between scripting languages and regular programming languages?

 

What is a Scripting Language?

Scripting languages, as the name suggests, is a programming language that supports scripts. A scripting language binds a set of software components that collaborate to solve a particular problem. Scripting assumes the existence of powerful components and provides the means to connect them together. Scripting languages are glue languages that integrate the execution of system utilities including compilers; command line interpretation; shell-based programming; and execution of codes written in web-based languages. The purpose of a scripting language is the development of applications by plugging existing components together and they generally favor high-level programming over execution speed. Scripting is used in a variety of applications, and scripting languages are correspondingly diverse. Python is a powerful scripting language for complex system involving operating system, networks, and web-based programming.

 

What is a Programming Language?

A programming language is an organized way of communicating with a computer, such that the computer behaves according to the instructions given by the programmer. A programming language is an artificial formalism in which algorithms can be expressed. In the modern era, the problems to be solved by computers lie in different problem domains such as scientific computing, database programming, business applications, process automation, and web-based applications. All these domains are quite different with varied requirements. A programming language is a specific set of instructions given to a computer in a language that the computer understands to perform specific tasks. Today’s programming languages are the product of development that started in the 1950s. The term programming languages usually refer to high-level languages such as C++, Java, Ada, Pascal, and FORTRAN.

 

Difference between Scripting Language and Programming Language

Definition of Scripting  vs. Programming Language

– A programming language is an organized way of communicating with a computer using a set of commands and instructions, instructing the computer to perform specific tasks. It is a notation for writing programs. For a programmer, a language is defined as a means of expressing algorithms. A scripting language is a programming language that supports scripts and is capable of being executed without being compiled ahead of time. Basically all scripting languages are programming languages.

Design

– Most of the regular programming languages are stronger in data abstractions and control abstractions. However, the basic requirement of the scripting languages is to handle collections of files and directories. In comparison to the traditional programming languages, scripting languages emphasize on extensibility and richness of expression over sheer run-time performance. Perl is certainly the most popular of the general-purpose scripting languages, widely used for report generation and server-side web scripting. Scripting languages are generally used in conjunction with other programming languages.

Interpretation

– The traditional programming languages such as C, C++, and Java are compiled into a more compact form that does not require to be interpreted by another application, whereas Perl, Python, JavaScript, and other languages used for scripting are interpreted and do not require the compilation step. An interpreted language facilitates the implementation phase and allows quickly prototyping new functions. Compiled languages, on the other hand, are able to provide faster applications than interpreted languages.

Learning Curve

– While regular programming languages are suitable for big stand-alone applications that require time, the scripting approach is able to provide such versatility and rapidity since most basic operations are already available in existing libraries. Moreover, scripting languages are characterized by a high learning curve compared to system languages, because they do not need to worry about type definition, memory allocation, etc. Furthermore, the syntax of scripting language is generally quite simple and clean.

Usage of Scripting  vs. Programming Language

– Traditional programming is general based on low level languages, while scripting prefers high level languages. General programming leads to closed software applications, while scripting promotes open projects. The scripting language approach intrinsically promotes the reusability of the code and is suitable for developing small supplications and/or extensions of existing projects. Scripting languages are primarily used for web applications where speed of development is more than speed of execution.

Scripting vs. Programming Languages: Comparison Chart

 

Summary of Scripting  vs. Programming Language

In a nutshell, languages used for traditional programming are compiled, while languages used for scripting are interpreted rather than compiled. An interpreted language facilitates the implementation phase and allows quickly prototyping new functions. Compiled languages, on the other hand, are able to provide faster applications than interpreted languages. Traditional programming is based on low level languages, while scripting prefers high level languages. Regular programming generally leads to closed software applications, while scripting promotes open projects. However, basically all scripting languages are programming languages.

 

Sagar Khillar

Sagar Khillar is a prolific content/article/blog writer working as a Senior Content Developer/Writer in a reputed client services firm based in India. He has that urge to research on versatile topics and develop high-quality content to make it the best read. Thanks to his passion for writing, he has over 7 years of professional experience in writing and editing services across a wide variety of print and electronic platforms.

Outside his professional life, Sagar loves to connect with people from different cultures and origin. You can say he is curious by nature. He believes everyone is a learning experience and it brings a certain excitement, kind of a curiosity to keep going. It may feel silly at first, but it loosens you up after a while and makes it easier for you to start conversations with total strangers – that’s what he said."

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References :


[0]Image credit: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/programming-languages-icon-898961/

[1]Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/christiaancolen/25940443424

[2]Milano, Federico. Power System Modelling and Scripting. Berlin: Springer, 2010. Print

[3]Bansal, Arvind Kumar. Introduction to Programming Languages. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2013. Print

[4]Scott, Michael L. Programming Language Pragmatics. Burlington, Massachusetts: Morgan Kaufmann, 2006. Print

[5]Watt, David A. Programming Language Design Concepts. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2004. Print

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