Programming languages vs scripting languages
Scripting languages are in a special category within programming languages.
Programming languages are languages created for communicating with computers, through which we give instructions to the computer to make them perform certain tasks. This is also true for scripting languages.
|Programming languages||Scripting languages|
|Input||The code is read as a whole||The code is read line by line|
|Output||It generates an object code between the input and the output||There is no intermediate step between input and output|
|Mechanism||The compilation is done before the execution of the code (with a compiler)||Interpretation and execution are done simultaneously (with an interpreter)|
|Speed||Faster in comparison||Slower|
|Memory||Needs more memory because of the object code||Requires a smaller amount of memory, because no object code is generated|
|Errors||Errors are displayed after compilation, all at the same time||Errors are displayed one by one, line by line|
|Error detection||More difficult in comparison||Easier|
Programming languages are languages created for communicating with computers, through which we give instructions to the computer to make them perform certain tasks.
These languages cannot be interpreted by the computers directly, since the language of computers is a binary code that consists of 1s and 0s. We need to translate the programming languages that are closer to human languages into machine code. This is done by special translation tools called compilers.
Here are some popular programming languages: C, C++, C#, Java, Kotlin, Swift.
We can define scripting languages in a way that might be hard to understand at first glance: “scripting languages are programming languages that are being translated with an interpreter during runtime, not with a compiler before running it.” You can read more about this in the paragraph titled “Compiler vs interpreter.”
If we want to approach it in a practical way, scripting languages are programming languages, that are designed to make code easy to write and modify, and to make it more transparent. They are one step closer to human languages than other programming languages, making it easier to interpret code and thus learn the language.
They have more limited uses than programming languages, as there are tasks for which scripting languages are not suitable because they can only be used on certain platforms (although the range of these platforms is expanding) and they run much slower than other programming languages. The reason for this “slowness” is the method of interpretation these languages use. You can read more about this in the paragraph titled “Compiler vs interpreter.”
Compiler vs interpreter
Compilers and interpreters both serve the same purpose: they make programs interpretable for the device they run on. The main difference is that compilers read and translate the whole program at once, while interpreters read programs line by line while also executing commands.
Advantages and disadvantages of compilers and interpreters
Translating with a compiler takes longer – but after the translation is done, the program can run very quickly. The running speed of programs is critical for video games, 3D animations, and machine vision (perception and interpretation of the environment via cameras), so these programs are written in languages that use compilers. Also, we can set the compiler up so the code can be transferred and can work on devices other than computers (e.g. smartphones, smart devices).
Interpreters translate the code line by line: they read and execute commands at the same time. This means the process is slower than translation by compilers, but it has a great advantage: we can see the errors of the code during runtime: if the interpreter finds an error, the program stops running, and we can start debugging immediately.
If we use compilers, the errors appear only after the longer translation period, and after we fix the problem, we need to wait for a long time again before the compiler translates the program again.
There are many ways to classify programming languages, based on multiple paradigms. These are rarely mutually exclusive. In everyday life, we can look at the same thing in many different ways. It is the same with programming languages—they can belong to more than a single paradigm at the same time.
Both frameworks and libraries are designed to help us solve certain programming tasks faster and more efficiently, using pre-designed structures or pre-written code.
In theory, the “framework” and “function library” categories can be easily distinguished: “If you write code into it, it is a framework, if you pull someone else’s code into your own, it is a library.” (source) In practice, their use and nomenclature are less consistent.
It has come a long way since client-side web development, and the opportunities continue to expand, thanks to the advent of newer and newer frameworks.
If you are interested in learning programming but you haven’t decided on where you want to begin, you can use the following article: “Which programming language should I choose?”. You can find helpful tips to make your decision easier, and you can also see how popular the languages of web development (including HTML and CSS) actually are.
If you’d like to see more programming tutorials, check out our Youtube channel, where we have plenty of Python video tutorials in English.
In CodeBerry Programming School’s “Beginner’s Guide” series, we’ll be answering questions you may have regarding what programming language to choose, how much money you’ll be making, what you can do as a web programmer, and where to start.
- A Brief Introduction to Web Development
- Beginner’s Guide to Java Programming Language
- Beginner’s Guide to Python Programming Language
- Beginner’s Guide to C++
- Beginner’s Guide to PHP
- Beginner’s Guide to C#
- Basics of Android Programming – Java or Kotlin?
- Is HTML a programming language?
- Is CSS a programming language?