What is Scripting Language | Types, Features

A scripting language is a type of programming language that provides to write scripts using the syntax of a scripting language.

It is interpreted (or evaluated) by a runtime environment called a script engine or an interpreter.

A script engine or an interpreter is a computer program that executes the scripts written in a particular scripting language line by line.

Languages that are executed only by interpreter are called interpreted languages.

The source code of the program or script does not get compiled before it is executed. It is read directly, one line at a time, by a program called interpreter.

For example, a JavaScript interpreter is in-built into every modern web browser that run JavaScript code. We need only a text editor to write JavaScript code and a web browser to run it.

Scripting language plays a vital role in the information technology infrastructure for several years. It has been used for all kind of tasks, web pages, websites, automation, complex software projects, and in the field of game development.

What is Script?

A script is a program that consists of a sequence of statements. It is written by using the syntax or commands of a scripting language or interpreted language. It is ​embedded in an HTML web page, interpreted, and executed by a certain scripting engine.

Script is written for various intentions such as automating the processes on a local computer or to create a web page on the web.

The programming language in which script is written is called scripting language or simply script language. Programs in scripting languages are often written to facilitate the enhanced features of websites.

Generally, scripting languages are not compiled (like C++, Java or other languages) but are interpreted by an interpreter at runtime.

Popular Examples of Scripting Language

The most popular examples of scripting language are as follows:

  • JavaScript
  • VBScript
  • ASP (Active Server Pages)
  • PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor)
  • PERL (Practical Extraction and Reporting Language)
  • JSP (Java Server Pages)
  • Python,
  • Ruby, etc.

Scripting Language examples

Note: The term script refers to a program whereas, the term scripting refers to a programming.

Key Features of Scripting Language

There are several important features of scripting languages. They are as follows:

1. Scripting languages can be directly embedded into an application or in a variety of environments.

2. They are quite easy to learn and use. For example, JavaScript and PHP are the easiest scripting languages.

3. They provide all of the basic features common to modern programming languages, such as powerful variable types, basic operations (addition, subtraction, etc.), standard control statement, functions, etc.

4. The scripted code is not usually compiled. It is simply interpreted by the interpreter at runtime.

5. Scripting languages are free and open source (for example, JavaScript, Python, etc.) that means a programmer can have full control to view and edit it.

As scripting languages are open source, anyone from anywhere around the world can contribute to their development.

6. Most scripting languages are dynamic and weakly typed, but not all of them use these policies. For example, Python is a popular scripting language that is considered as dynamic and strongly typed language.

A weakly typed language is a language that implicitly cast (or convert) a variable to a suitable type before the operation takes place. Languages such as JavaScript and Perl are examples of weakly typed languages.

A dynamically typed language is a language that produces an error when a programmer attempts to execute an operation on variables whose types are not suitable for that operation (type misuse).

Examples of dynamically typed languages are Ruby, Python, Groovy, JavaScript and Smalltalk.

7. The syntax of scripting language is familiar and similar to the syntax of other programming languages such as C, C++, or Java.

8. Scripting languages also provides object-oriented functionality, They offer several benefits including the following:

  • Encapsulation: This feature provides limiting access to code and data.
  • Inheritance: This feature provides to create new objects from the definition of existing engine objects and/or scripted objects.
  • Polymorphism: This feature allows us to override the default behavior of derived object code, whether the object is derived from scripted objects or engine objects.

9. Scripting languages require less memory from the system because they are not compiled, are interpreted.

10. They also provide exception feature like other programming languages.

11. Scripting languages portable and cross-platform, as they can run on a remote server or in the visitor’s web browser on any operating system. Therefore, they do not require any additional application to execute the code.

12. They allow the dynamic loading and unloading of pieces of code that make it easy to override the functionality of a program.

13. Scripting languages have been designed and developed with security in mind. They do not allow any illicit operations to be performed from another script. Therefore, they are safe and secure.

Types of Scripting Language

Scripting language can be classified into two main categories that are as follows:

  • Client-side script
  • Server-side script

On a dynamic website or webpage, both client-side and server-side scripts are involved. Client-side and server-side are sometimes known as front-end and back-end.

We will understand client side scripting and server side scripting in more detail in the further tutorials with diagram and example programs.

Advantage of Scripting Languages over Programming languages

There are several advantages of scripting languages over programming languages that are as follows:

1. Most scripting languages are free and open source. As a result, anyone from anywhere around the world can utilize it and contribute to their development.

2. Most of the scripting languages are dynamically typed that makes it quite easy to write a program.

3. The coding of scripting language is easy to use and learn. To learn scripting language, there is not required much knowledge of web technology or other programming languages.

4. The main benefits of scripting language are that they provide very rapid code edit/run/debug development cycle because we do not have to wait for them to be compiled.

5. Scripting languages are highly efficient because they provide the limited number of data structures and variables to use.

6. With the help of scripting languages, we can insert visualization interfaces and combinations into web pages to enhance interactivity.

7. Nowadays, scripting languages are highly demandable for creating enhanced web pages, fascinating UI, captivated visual description such as background and foreground colors and many more.

8. Scripting languages do not need to be compiled before they are executed.

9. Scripting languages are embeddable, that mean they can be easily embedded into existing components or applications such Microsoft Word.

10. Scripting languages require less memory because no executable .exe file is generated.

11. They are portable, that means they can run on any operating system.

Disadvantage of Scripting Languages over Programming Languages

The main disadvantage of scripting languages is that they are slower than compiled languages or programming languages because the interpreter in scripting languages read and analyze each statement line by line during the execution.

Every time the interpreter detects an error during the execution of program, it stops further execution until the error gets taken away.

Application of Scripting Languages

There are several areas where a scripting language can be used to achieve many functionality. They are as follows:

1. Scripting language is mostly used in web applications. It can be used in both client side and server side.

2. They are used in system administration. For example: Perl, Shell, Python scripts etc.

3. It can be used in multimedia and play an important role in the field of game development.

4. It can be used to develop plugins and extensions for existing web application.

5. Using scripting language, we can dynamically modify the content of web page at the time when web page downloads.

6. Scripts can be used to process information or input provided by user for checking the validity of the information.

7. They can be triggered by an event.

8. They can be used to check authenticity. For example, a script can check whether the username and password provided by a user during log in are valid or not.

9. We can easily create graphical user interface elements using scripts.

Frequently asked Questions in Google Search

1. Is SQL a scripting language?

Answer: Yes, SQL is a scripting language. It is the fourth generation language that doesn’t require to be compiled.

2. Is scripting language difficult than programming?

Answer: No, scripting language is not difficult than programming language. In fact, it is quite easy to learn and use than a programming language.

3. Which scripting language is easy to learn?

Answer: Most of the scripting languages are easy to learn. JavaScript and PHP are one of the easiest scripting languages.

4. Is HTML a scripting language or markup language?

Answer: HTML is a markup language, not a scripting language. It is a used to design web page to be displayed in web browsers.

5. Is scripting language a programming language?

Answer: A scripting language is a kind of programming language that uses an interpreter instead of a compiler to execute the script within a unique runtime environment. The code written in scripting language generally short in comparison to programming language.

6. Is C++ a scripting language?

Answer: C++ is a programming language, not a scripting language. Programs written in C++ are first compiled, and then the compiled code executes to produce the output.

Scripting languages are directly interpreted by the interpreter at runtime and no prior compilation of the code takes place.

7. Is CSS a scripting language?

Answer: CSS is neither a scripting language nor a programming language. It is a style sheet language.

8. What is the most popular scripting language to learn in 2022?

Answer: JavaScript is the most popular and common scripting language in use today around the world.

Hope that this tutorial covered almost all the vital points concerning with what is scripting language. I hope that you will have understood all the basic points of features, types, applications, advantages, and disadvantages.
Thanks for reading!!!
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