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Table of contents
What is a Scripting Language?
Advantages of Scripting Language
Applications of Scripting Language
What is a Programming Language?
Advantages of Programming Languages
Applications of Programming Languages
Difference Between Scripting Language and Programming Language
Key Differences Between Programming and Scripting Languages
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Python a programming or scripting language?
Which is better: programming language or scripting language?
What is the difference between scripting and programming language?
Is C++ a scripting or programming language?
Is SQL a programming language or scripting language?
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Difference Between Scripting Language and Programming Language

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A programming language is a set of instructions used to communicate with computers, whereas scripting language is a type of programming language designed for automating tasks during runtime.

scripting language vs programming language

Earlier, programmers used programming languages to build PowerPoint, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, etc. However, as time passed, there arose a need to upgrade the programming languages to incorporate additional functionalities and provide an enhanced programming interface. Thus, scripting languages came into being.

Let us now read Scripting Language vs Programming Language in detail.

What is a Scripting Language?

A script, often known as a scripting language, is a computer language that does not require compilation and is instead interpreted one by one during runtime. It is where the script is written as well as the instructions for the run-time environment. Unlike programming languages, which must be compiled before running, scripting languages do not compile the file and instead execute it without being compiled.

Scripts are frequently used to create dynamic web applications nowadays because they are associated with web development. The two types of scripting languages are server-side scripting languages and client-side scripting languages. Python, PHP, and Perl are examples of server-side scripting languages, whereas Javascript is the best example of a client-side scripting language. These languages are frequently designed with the objective of connecting with other programming languages in mind.

Advantages of Scripting Language

  • There is little requirement for knowledge of web technologies in order to learn scripting languages. As a result, these languages allow users to learn to code quickly
  • Fast editing is particularly efficient since it uses a small amount of data structures and variables
  • It makes web pages more dynamic by incorporating combinations and visualization interfaces. It comprises background and foreground colors, among other things, which aids in the creation of better websites
  • Scripting languages include several libraries that help in the development of new web browser apps. They differ from traditional programming languages

Applications of Scripting Language

  • Scripting languages are used on both the server and client sides, and they are also commonly employed in web applications. Server-side scripting languages include JavaScript, Python, PHP, and Perl, whereas client-side scripting languages include JavaScript, jQuery, and AJAX
  • Like Python scripts, Perl and Shell are all the scripting languages that are used in system administration
  • It is utilized in the development of plugins and extensions for existing applications, as well as in gaming and multimedia
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What is a Programming Language?

A programming language is a computer language used by programmers to create software programs, scripts, or other sets of instructions that computers can execute.

Despite the fact that many languages share similarities, each has its own syntax. After learning the language's rules, grammar, and structure, a programmer writes the source code in a text editor or an IDE (integrated development environment). The programmer will then frequently compile the code into machine language that the computer can understand. Scripting languages that do not require a compiler run the script using an interpreter.

Advantages of Programming Languages

  • They can be used to create programs to control the behavior of the machine or to express algorithms
  • It is very easy to program once you know the syntax of the programming language, and you will get new showcases in your work
  • Programming languages allow simple creation and editing in a variety of text editors. They help you add dynamic and interactive activities to the web pages
  • OOP languages (Object-Oriented Languages) provide you with a clear modular structure for the programs which makes it good for defining abstract data types

Applications of Programming Languages

  • Programming languages are used to build games, embedded software, medical technologies, and automation in automobiles
  • With the changing nature of data analysis, programming languages such as R and Python are increasingly being used to drive sophisticated analytics and data science
  • Programming Languages are used in the development of operating systems

Difference Between Scripting Language and Programming Language

Now that we know what programming and scripting languages are, let’s create a table of differences for quick reference and recap.

Scripting Languages

Programming Language

Scripting language is a programming language supporting scripts written exclusively for a special runtime environment to automate a specific action/function execution. Programming language is a set of instructions that can be fed into a computer to achieve a specific output.
Scripting languages run inside another program. Programming languages run independently of a parent program
Scripting languages are made to make coding easier and faster. Programming languages are made to make full-fledged code and software development easier.
Scripting languages, on the other hand, demand line-by-line conversion. Programming languages use a compiler, it is a one-shot conversion. 
Python, Ruby, Rexx, Ruby, GameMonkey, etc., are some of the most widely used scripting languages. C, C++, C#, Java, Basic, COBOL, and Pascal, are some programming languages. 

Key Differences Between Programming and Scripting Languages

While both programming and scripting languages are used to communicate instructions to computers, there are some key distinctions between them:

1. Compilation vs. Interpretation:

  • Programming Languages: Traditionally compiled languages go through a compilation step. The source code written in a programming language is translated into machine code, a low-level language understood directly by the computer's processor. This compiled machine code can then be run on the target system without needing the compiler again. (Examples: C++, Java)
  • Scripting Languages: Interpreted languages don't require a separate compilation step. The code is interpreted line by line by an interpreter program at runtime. This interpreter translates the code into instructions the computer can understand during execution. (Examples: Python, JavaScript)

2. Complexity and Power:

  • Programming Languages: Generally designed for complex software development. They offer more control over system resources, memory management, and program structure. This complexity can lead to a steeper learning curve.
  • Scripting Languages: Often simpler and easier to learn compared to programming languages. They are typically used for automating tasks, web development, or adding functionalities to existing programs.

3. Application Areas:

  • Programming Languages: Used for building large-scale applications, operating systems, device drivers, and complex software requiring high performance and efficiency.
  • Scripting Languages: Often used for web development (front-end and back-end), scripting tasks within larger programs, configuration files, and rapid prototyping.

4. Error Handling:

  • Programming Languages: Typically require stricter error handling during the compilation stage. Errors can cause the compilation to fail, requiring debugging before the program can run.
  • Scripting Languages: Errors are often detected during interpretation or runtime. This can sometimes lead to unexpected behavior if not handled properly.

5. Portability:

  • Programming Languages: Compiled machine code might be specific to a particular computer architecture. To run on different systems, the program might need to be recompiled for that specific platform.
  • Scripting Languages: Interpreted languages are generally more portable as the code itself can be run on different systems as long as the interpreter for that language is available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Python a programming or scripting language?

Python is a high-level interpreted programming language referred to as one of the most popular scripting languages.

Which is better: programming language or scripting language?

It really depends on the use case, as we know both languages exist. The use of a compiler, which detects all the errors at once after compiling the program, makes programming languages faster. Scripting languages, in contrast, require an interpreter that examines a program line by line, which makes them slow.

What is the difference between scripting and programming language?

Scripting languages are interpreted, simpler, often used for automation tasks. Programming languages are compiled, more complex, for complex software development.

Is C++ a scripting or programming language?

C++ is a programming language.

Is SQL a programming language or scripting language?

SQL is a query language, not strictly programming or scripting, but often used in conjunction with scripting languages.


In this blog, we have discussed the difference between Scripting Language and Programming Language. They're both like different tools in a toolbox. Scripting languages are great for quick tasks and web stuff, while programming languages are the hammers and wrenches for building complex software.

Recommended Readings: 

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So, now you know how programming languages differ from scripting languages, you’re ready to pick one for you. But again, you should keep in mind that the language you choose will depend entirely on your use case and what you wish to accomplish with it. For more such questions, visit web iq quiz

If you find yourself confused, don’t hesitate in visiting coding ninjas, where we have courses on programming languages, including C++, Java, and such languages as Python, and Ruby on Rails. We’ll ensure you reach the top, no matter where you start!

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