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Understanding the Differences Between Scripting Languages and Programming Languages

By Arooj Shakeel
July 20, 2023

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Although the phrases “scripting language” and “programming language” are sometimes used synonymously, the two have more differences than you would realize. Although every programming language is a scripting language, not every programming language is a scripting language.

Earlier, Microsoft PowerPoint, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Word were created by programmers using programming languages. But as time passed, updating the programming languages to include new features and offer a better programming interface became necessary. Scripting languages were created as a result.

Scripting languages: what are they?

Scripting languages facilitate the automation of many software programs, browser web pages, OS (operating system), shell use, etc. The compilation process is unnecessary for scripting languages like VBScript, Perl, Javascript, etc., although they have less access to a computer’s inherent features. 

They choose to employ a subset of an original programming language. An illustration of this may be that Javascript won’t be able to access your file system.

A scripting language is often interpreted. It is not primarily concerned with creating apps but may add functionality to an already-built application. As a result, it can automate a specific process on any software system. In essence, it aids in the creation of programs that target software systems. Eventually, the scripting languages developed and grew in strength. They no longer write intricate scripts to automate a software system’s functions. Hands function essentially as a set of instructions that may be directed at any software system. 

Rich apps are also created with Scripting languages. These can alter, automate, and personalize the features of an existing system. The scripting languages have a system that makes functionality accessible to program control.

What exactly is a programming language?

Computers require a set of instructions from a programmer to accomplish particular tasks. To run programming languages on the hardware of an underlying OS, one must compile them to machine code (operating system). By developing programs, one may also put into practice particular algorithms. Users must set up a specific Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to utilize programming languages.

Detailed documentation predominates among all the programming languages now available on the market. Every other language has widespread implementation (treated as a reference). Here, the association between the ISO standard and the C programming language illustrates.

On the other hand, languages like Perl fall within the latter type. A programming language can alter data. It takes place while writing CPU instructions that record the input data onto the output. Here, applying a set of requirements to solve an equation set serves as an illustration. 

Numerous programming languages, including C, C++, Scala, Java, etc., can be categorized as general-purpose. The compiled programming languages include these. The score code needs to add a few texts before you can run a compiler on it. It would therefore generate numerous binary instructions.

Now let’s examine some key distinctions between a scripting language and a programming language.

Knowing the distinctions between scripting and programming languages can help you decide which to use

The benefits and drawbacks of programming languages


  • Programmer-friendly programming languages. 
  • They are simple to write, maintain, and debug.
  • Higher levels of abstraction from machine languages are provided.
  • Easier to detect and troubleshoot faults and less error-prone.
  • Using a programming language increases productivity and makes it simple to learn.


  • The translation from source to machine code requires more time.
  • Programs run slower than low-level programs in comparison.
  • They are often less memory efficient than scripting languages.
  • Cannot speak with the hardware directly.


Benefits and Drawbacks of Scripting Language


  • They are open-source and free. 
  • Anyone on the earth may use it and contribute to it.
  • They are an excellent place to start if you are a newbie because they are simple to master and program.
  • Since no executable file is produced, they take up less RAM.
  • They can operate on any operating system since they are portable.


  • Because they require line-by-line conversion, scripting languages are sluggish.
  • There are a few ways to speed up the code since the interpreter in scripting languages examines each statement line by line while it is being executed.


How and When to Use Each

While high-level languages can produce programs, not all programs have to be created in one. Complex software demands low-level solutions that prioritize economy and efficiency from a performance perspective. Yes, it will be slower, but we will not ever notice. Fair enough, most simple programs can be created and executed without concern about speed in a language like Python. Although it could be a thousand times slower than C++, that only accounts for a delay of 0.01 or 0.00001 seconds.

Today, gaming engines must do millions of computations every minute. These are the situations when every millisecond counts: every character, texture, and light is computed by a computer. Similarly, interpreted languages cannot easily compile into machine code operating systems that handle software directly by necessity. Watch any Pixar film right now.

We will employ a scripting language if you are developing anything to alter an existing system. You can use either a high-level or low-level programming language while creating software. You could even combine the two, writing some of the code in C or Assembly and leaving the rest to Python.

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