Difference Between Scripting And Programming Language | Why Scripting Language Is Considered A Programming Language But Not Vice-Versa?

Table of content:

  • Why do we need an entirely different language to write our programs?
  • What is a Programming Language?
  • What is Scripting Language?
  • Real-time Examples
  • Difference Between Scripting & Programming Language

Language is the only source through which anybody communicates. As we’re using English as our source of communication, a computer uses programming or scripting language to fulfill our requirements. But to follow this process, we need to be well familiar with computer languages and how it is getting compiled or interpreted inside.

In this article, along with the differences between Scripting language and Programming Languages, we’ll also learn what these terms mean?


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Why do we need an entirely different language to write our programs?

By now, it is a well-known fact that there are tons of programming languages available all around the world. But are these programming languages directly communicating with the computers or is there any intermediary step that we can’t see but happen inside the computers?

Well, computers only understand binary digits(0 and 1) combinations but the source code that we write isn’t present in 0s and 1s. This is where programming languages come into play.

We write instructions(set of lines) to perform a task, this set of codes consists of different syntaxes, keywords, and logic which is compiled by the compiler into 0s and 1s to make computers understand the task and perform it accordingly.

The syntaxes or keywords that we use in our source code are already pre-defined in the complier and hence we need an entirely different language to write our programs.

What is a Programming Language?

As mentioned above, Programming Languages are a set of instructions that consist of words and symbols known as code/program. Programming Languages are also referred to as machine code or object code because it is compiled into the machine-understandable code before getting executed.

So in order to actually run your program written in any programming language, you first need to pass it through a special program called Compiler. Compiler bridges the gap between human-readable code and computer-readable code. It converts the source code into machine code that is a list of instructions to follow by the processor, written in binary. These instructions are then fed to the processor which as a result performs the required task.

But this is not as simple as this sounds, there are various other steps that are performed while converting the source code into binary instructions. The lines of code are first converted into tokens, the process is known as Lexical Analysis then Syntactic and Semantic Analysis is performed. The code is then converted into machine code(there are various other crucial steps involved during the process which is beyond this article’s scope to explain).

As you can see there’s a whole lot of a compilation process involved in the Programming Languages execution which is a little bit time-consuming. But indeed it is faster than a scripting language.

Basically, programming languages were initially used to build software or application like google applications, adobe systems, GUI or compiler design, etc. But later when the world of automation enhanced, there was a need for languages that consumes less time and focus on directly interpreting the code. This is where Scripting Language started becoming famous.

Although the Programming languages are still used and there are various types of programming languages:

Types of Programming Language

  1. First-generation, ex: machine language
  2. The second generation, ex: Assembly Language
  3. The third generation, ex: C, C++, Java, etc
  4. Fourth generation, ex: Python, PHP, Python, Perl, etc
  5. Fifth-generation languages, ex: Mercury, OPS5, and Prolog.

Advantages of Programming Languages

  1. Less error-prone.
  2. Portable and can be run on any operating system.
  3. High Speed.
  4. Easy to debug.
  5. Supports OOPs

Disadvantages of Programming Languages

  1. Quite difficult to find errors.
  2. Complex and tough to understand.
  3. Requires a good level of programming knowledge to understand.
  4. Consumes time while compiling. The compilation step is more.

Applications of Programming Language

  1. Used to develop softwares or applications.
  2. Used in competitive programming.
  3. It is also used to build compilers.
  4. Advanced computation and graphics applications.
  5. Widely used for Android and iOS development.
  6. Aids in general programming as well.
  7. Game development.


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What is Scripting Language?

Scripting Language is also a Programming Language that does not require an extra step of compilation. Scripting Languages are rather interpreted than complied, therefore it is also known as Interpreter-Based Language. The scripts are written for the runtime environment. The lines of code are interpreted one by one, unlike the programming languages that are compiled whole at once. It is also considered a very high-level, domain-specific language as they operate at a high level of abstraction.

Most scripting languages are dynamically typed, which means, you can declare the variable without its datatype, the interpreter will assign the data type to the variable during the runtime. The same variable can be used again for different objects which are not possible in a programming language. This is possible because the script is interpreted line by line in a scripting language. It is also known as an extension language as it provides additional features to the applications.

Types of Scripting Language

  1. Client-Side Scripting Language, ex: javascript, dart, typeScript, python, etc.
  2. Server-Side Scripting Language, ex: python, PHP, Perl, node.js, java, etc.

Advantages of Scripting Language

  1. Easy to understand and learn.
  2. Helps in Automating the codes.
  3. Contains various types of Functionality(libraries).
  4. Minimum Programming knowledge is required.

Disadvantages of Scripting Language

  1. All Data Structures are not available
  2. Can be slower in some cases.
  3. Harder to debug.
  4. Since it is script(text) based, so it can easily be modified.

Application of Scripting Language

  1. To automate the repeated tasks.
  2. Extract data from the internet.
  3. Creating and managing dynamic content.
  4. Backend programming with the help of PHP, jQuery etc.
  5. Scripts are also used in cyber security domain.
  6. Scripting languages are widely used in web technologies and machine learning.
  7. Bash or shell scripting is also used in operating software.

Real-time Example of Programming and Scripting Language

To understand the difference between programming and scripting lets relate it to our daily life course. We all are now well-versed with zoom, google meet or skype. Zoom is an application software which is built using programming languages like java, javascript etc. There are many automated scripts available on web which is used to automatically join meetings on zoom(if the computer is awake). This is how scripts are used in real time.

The programming languages here are acting as a parent language and scripting language is acting as a add ons(child language) which provides additional functionality to the software.

Scripts are not only used to automate the stuffs. Whatsapp bots are now becoming very famous these days. Banks are now using whatsapp banking for better customer services. These chatbots are nothing but script of code which is turned into API and then integerated with different softwares.


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Difference Between Scripting Language and Programming Language

Programming LanguageScripting LanguageProgramming language is a high-level language that needs to be compiled before executing. A scripting language is also a computer language that is designed for runtime systems.Programs are compiled before runtime.Programs are interpreted directly during the run time. It does not require any explicit compilation step.It provides one-shot conversion. It shows all the errors at the end of executing the whole code.It interprets the program line by line and if any error is encountered during interpretation, it stops interpreting and waits for the programmer to solve the error first.Programming languages source code can be of numerous lines.Generally, a scripting language is short and easy to understand.It is a general-purpose language. It can be used for simple coding as well as for developing software too.It is mostly a domain-specific programming language. It is generally used for automating the execution of tasks rather than providing them with whole logic.It consumes the memory of the processor while executing the code.It does not consume any memory. Neither creates any executable file or binary file.It is portable, which means the executed source code can be run on any machine. It is not portable because it does not create an executable file. It does not require any parenting program.It is dependent on a parent program and runs inside it.It takes more time to write programming language code because it develops full-fledged code.Less time is taken because it is only a small piece of code.Example: C, C++, Java, C#, COBOL, Pascal, etcExample: Python, Perl, Ruby, PHP, Dart, etc.

The table states the key difference between programming language and scripting language. The other basic difference between them is that programming language is a bit tough to learn when compared to scripting languages. Also, the programming language is more code-intensive. After execution of scripting language, it doesn’t create any .exe file whereas programming language does.

Summing up…

All the scripting language is a programming language but all programming is not a scripting language. However, both languages have their own significance and neither of them could replace each other. On one side when programming language is used to develop a full-fledged code, the scripting language would provide the application software with an additional layer of cake with its capability of automation. Programming languages are native machine code which gives them superiority in some cases but both of them hold their place in real-time coding.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the fastest scripting language?

Ans. Lua is considered the fastest scripting language with JIT compiler as of now.

Q2. Which is better Scripting Language or Programming Language?

Ans. Both of them have their own significance. Take reference from the above table.

Q3. Is Python scripting or programming language?

Ans. Python is a generic scripting language.

Q4. Is HTML a scripting language or not?

Ans. HTML is a Markup Language, not a scripting language.

You might also be interested in reading:

  1. What Is The Difference Between Structure And Union In C?
  2. What Are The Types of Operating Systems?
  3. Difference between Mutex and Semaphore in Operating System Explained!
  4. What is The Difference Between Linear And Non Linear Data Structure?




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