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What’s the difference between Scripting and Programming Languages?

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Basically, all scripting languages are programming languages. The theoretical difference between the two is that scripting languages do not require the compilation step and are rather interpreted. For example, normally, a C program needs to be compiled before running whereas normally, a scripting language like JavaScript or PHP need not be compiled.   

Generally, compiled programs run faster than interpreted programs because they are first converted native machine code. Also, compilers read and analyze the code only once, and report the errors collectively that the code might have, but the interpreter will read and analyze the code statements each time it meets them and halts at that very instance if there is some error. In practice, the distinction between the two is getting blurred owing to improved computation capabilities of the modern hardware and advanced coding practices.   

Another point to be noted is that while classifying a language as scripting language or programming language, the environment on which it would execute must be taken into consideration. The reason why this is important is that we can design an interpreter for C language and use it as a scripting language, and at the same time, we can design a compiler for JavaScript and use it as a non-scripting(compiled language). A live example of this is V8, the JavaScript engine of Google Chrome, which compiles the JavaScript code into machine code, rather than interpreting it.   

Some scripting languages traditionally used without an explicit compilation step are JavaScript, PHP, Python, VBScript.   

Some programming languages traditionally used with an explicit compilation step are C, C++.   

Applications of Scripting Languages : 

  1. To automate certain tasks in a program 
  2. Extracting information from a data set 
  3. Less code intensive as compared to traditional programming languages  

 Applications of Programming Languages :

  1. They typically run inside a parent program like scripts
  2. More compatible while integrating code with mathematical models
  3. Languages like JAVA can be compiled and then used on any platform

Let us see the differences in a tabular form -:

  Scripting Language Programming Language
1. A scripting language is a language that uses a naive method to bring codes to a runtime environment A Programming language is a language which is used by humans to navigate their communication with computers. 
2. These are made for a particular runtime environment.

Programming languages are of three types -:

  • low-level Programming language
  • Middle-level Programming language
  • High-level Programming language
3. They are used to create dynamic web applications Programming languages are used to write computer programs.
4. Scripting languages contain different libraries They are high-speed languages.
5. Example -: Bash, Ruby, Python, JavaScript etc. Example -: C++, Java, PHP High-level etc.
6. Scripting languages can be easily ported among various operating systems. Programming languages are translation free languages
7. These languages requires a host. These languages are self executable.
8. Do not create a .exe file. These generate .exe files.
9. Most of the scripting languages are interpreted language. Most of the programming languages are compiled languages.
10.  All the scripting languages are programming languages. All the programming languages are not scripting languages.
11. It is easier to learn than programming language. It can take significant amount of time to learn.
12. It is less code intensive when compared with programming language. It is code intensive.
13. It does not create any binary files. It does creates binary files.
14. It is easy for the beginner to write and understand the code. It is difficult for the beginner to write and understand the code.
15. It is run inside another program. It is independently run.
16. It needs lesser line of codes. It needs numerous lines of code.
17. It has low maintenance cost. It has high maintenance cost.

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Last Updated : 30 Oct, 2023
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