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Difference between Scripting Language vs Programming Language

Kushleen Waraich
Last Updated: Jan 17, 2023
Difference between Scripting Language vs Programming Language


Many people use the terms scripting language and programming language interchangeably, but there are more distinctions between the two than you might realize. Although all scripting languages are programming languages, all programming languages are not scripting languages.

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 look at some of the significant differences between scripting language vs programming language.

What is a Scripting Language?

Scripting languages are mostly high-level languages that use interpreters to convert the codes written to machine language by executing the codes line by line during runtime. 

Key Features of Scripting Language

The following list includes some prominent traits of scripting languages:

  • Because it is open-source, anyone can access and update it at their discretion.
  • It is simple to use and learn.
  • faster to develop than a real program, in comparison.
  • It is simple to write and edit because there aren't many data structures in it.
  • Incorporating interaction into web sites is made easier by the language.
  • It facilitates the development of new web browser applications.
  • Extensions and plug-ins can be made using it.

What is a Programming Language?

A programming language is a notational scheme used to create computer programs. While they occasionally include graphics, formal programming languages tend to be text-based. They are an instance of a computer language.

Key Features of Programming Language

The following are a programming language's primary characteristics:

  • Simplicity: This is important because, in the end, we humans are coding, not machines. That’s why the language must provide straightforward, easily understood notions that make learning and application possible. 
  • Capability: The language needs to be well-equipped with a comprehensive collection of features to accomplish a variety of jobs in addition to being simple to use. If a programming language was created with a specific application in mind, it must offer the tools required to get the best outcomes.
  • Abstraction: It is the capacity of a language to specify and use complex structures or actions while ignoring some low-level characteristics.
  • Efficiency: Programming languages that can be translated and run quickly assist in preventing the excessive use of memory and time.
  • Structuring: The language enables programmers to create their code in accordance with the principles of structured programming to prevent errors.

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. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Programming Language:


  1. Programming languages are programmer-friendly. They are easy to write, debug and maintain.
  2. It provides a higher level of abstraction from machine languages.
  3. Less error-prone, easy to find and debug errors.
  4. Programming language results in better productivity and easy to learn


  1. It takes additional translation times to translate the source to machine code.
  2. Programs are comparatively slower than low-level programs.
  3. Compared to scripting language, they are generally less memory efficient.
  4. Cannot communicate directly with the hardware.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Scripting Language:


  1. They’re free and open source. As a result, anyone from anywhere on the planet can use it and contribute to it.
  2. If you are a beginner, they are a great way to start with programming languages, as they are quite easy to learn and code.
  3. They require less memory because no executable file is created.
  4. They are portable i.e. can run on any operating system.


  1. Scripting languages are slow as they demand line-by-line conversion.
  2. The interpreter in scripting languages analyses each statement line by line during execution, hence there aren’t many improvements to make the code run faster.


C, C++, C#, Java, Basic, COBOL, and Pascal are some programming languages. JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby, Rexx, GameMonkey, etc., are some of the most widely used scripting languages.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are scripting languages?

Scripting languages are mostly high-level languages that use interpreters to convert the codes written to machine language by executing the codes line by line during runtime. 

What are the four types of programming language?

The four types of programming language are as follows:

  1. Functional Programming Language
  2. Procedural Programming Language
  3. Logic Programming Language
  4. Object-oriented Programming Language

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.

What are the different types of scripting languages?

There are two types of scripting languages: server-side scripting language and client-side scripting language.

Which is better programming language or scripting language?

It really depends on the use case, as we know both languages exist. The use of  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.

Is scripting language a programming language?

No, a scripting language is not a programming language. The purpose of programming languages is to construct complex software, whereas the purpose of scripting languages is to support programming languages. Languages used for programming are compiled, whereas languages used for scripting are interpreted.


Overall, as we mentioned before, the execution process and environment are the primary differentiating factors between programming languages and scripting languages. 

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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, Ruby on Rails. We’ll ensure you reach to the top, no matter where you start from!

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