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Scripting Language vs Programming Language: Difference Between

We often use the two terms – a programming language and scripting language – synonymously. But they are quite different in nature. While all scripting languages are programming languages, not all programming languages are scripting languages. 

Initially, programming languages were used to create Internet Explorer, PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word. As time changed, there was an upgrade in these programming language interfaces. That was the time when scripting language came into existence. Scripting language incorporated an enhanced programming interface and additional functionalities. 

In simple words, a scripting language is a programming language that doesn’t require a compilation process. For instance, when you run a C program you may have to compile it and then run but when you run JavaScript, there is no need to compile it. So, we can say JavaScript is a form of scripting language. 

The principal difference between a programming language and a scripting language is their execution process. Programming language uses a compiler to convert into machine language from the middle and high-level programming language.

Let’s dig deeper into the subject and find out how programming languages differ from scripting languages. 

1. Meaning

A programming language is a formal language that includes a set of commands that delivers specific results when fed into a system.

A scripting language supports scripts written exclusively for computer programs. Scripts help maintain a particular run time environment to automate the execution of specific functions.

2. Interpretation 

Programming languages are assembled into a more compact design. They don’t need to be translated by any other application or language.

Scripting languages are written in one format and translated within another program. For example, JavaScript has to be incorporated with HTML and will be further interpreted by internet explorers. So, while programming languages can run independently, scripting languages run within programs. 

3. Design

Scripting languages are designed specifically to make coding simpler and faster. Whereas programming languages are used for full-fledged coding and software development. 

4. Advancement

Programming languages usually require many lines of code for a single function. However, a scripting language allows for faster coding as you only need to write a few lines to perform a particular function. Scripting languages prefer smaller chunks of code.

5. Category 

Programming languages are divided into five categories, which are as follows:

  • First Generation
  • Second Generation 
  • Third Generation
  • Fourth Generation
  • Fifth Generation

Scripting languages are divided into the following categories:

  • Client-side scripting language 
  • Server-side scripting language 

6. Hosting and conversion

Scripting languages demand line-by-line conversion, whereas programming languages allow one-shot conversion since they often use a compiler. Also, scripting languages require a host, unlike programming languages that are self-executable.

7. Language

C++, C#, Java, Basic, Pascal, and COBOL are a few examples of programming languages.

JavaScript, PHP, Python, Ruby, Rexx, etc., are some of the examples of scripting language. 

8. Speed

Compiled programs generally run faster than interpreted programs. This is because compilers analyze and read the code all at once. In a scripting language, an interpreter analyzes and reads the code line by line, and every time it detects errors, it addresses them one at a time.9. 

9. Structure

Programming languages work independently and are self-executable. They do not depend on other hosts and platforms, whereas scripting language requires a host and the structure generally runs in small chunks. Programming language creates .exe files.

Other differences:

  • Scripting languages are relatively easier to write, learn, and master, whereas programming languages often come with a steep learning curve. 
  • Scripting languages are translated and cannot be converted into an executable file, whereas programming languages are generally compiled and created to executable the file.
  • Scripting languages can combine existing modules or components, while programming languages are used to build applications from scratch.

If you wish to learn the nitty-gritty of scripting languages and programming languages, you can consider pursuing a professional certification course such as upGrad’s online Master of Science in Computer Science course from Liverpool John Moores University and Job-linked PG Certification in Software Engineering. These programs cover multiple trending software tools, programming languages, and real-world projects to help learners gain industry knowledge and skills. Taught by top mentors and instructors, students also get 360-degree career guidance and placement assistance to move ahead in their careers.

Wrapping Up

Both programming languages and scripting languages serve unique purposes, each with its distinct benefits and drawbacks. They are highly use-case specific and hence, there’s no good and bad when it comes to choosing scripting and programming languages. 

As mentioned before, you can take up computer science courses to master programming /scripting languages. These skills pay extremely well and we’re sure that professional certification can help you bag that tech job you’ve been eyeing for so long.

What is the fastest scripting language?

PHP is one of the fastest scripting languages. However, ASP is the fastest language that is very popular and currently available.

What is a compiler?

Compilers are programs that help to convert middle-level and high-level languages into machine code. This allows the computer to read it and then execute it efficiently. Moreover, these programs are pretty fast.

What are Interpreters?

Interpreters are programs that analyze code line by line and are slower than compilers.

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