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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

Why is PHP a scripting language?

A scripting language is just a programming language that can support scripts. If you wish to know if a particular language is a scripting language, then you have to check if it can integrate with other languages. PHP is a scripting language as we can integrate it into HTML. The PHP code can be executed on the server and the result returned to the browser. Due to this, it is called a scripting language, server-side language and is utilised for web development.

Is JavaScript a compiler or interpreter?

JavaScript is used for web development as a scripting language. It is a client-serviced, interpreted language, not a compiled language. Java or C++ should be compiled before running it whereas JavaScript doesn't have a compiling step. In JavaScript, the web uses an interpreter to interpret each line of code before running it. There are modern technologies such as Just In Time (JIT) which compiles JavaScript to executable bytecode before running it. Java and JavaScript sound similar but are two distinct languages. Java uses a compiler which compiles the code into executable bytecode that the machine can understand and run.

What is CSS?

CSS also known as Cascading Style Sheets are one of the two crucial technologies in building web pages. It is the language for portraying the web design layout consisting of colours, layout, and fonts. This allows the distinctive presentation of web pages depending on the user's device. The layout will be different on laptops, mobiles, and tablets. CSS is an independent language from HTML and can be utilised with XML-based markup language. This distinctiveness between CSS and HTML makes it easier to maintain sites, share style sheets across pages and tailor them to different environments. CSS and HTML are the two main technologies used in creating web pages. CSS can control various web pages at once.

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