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Thread: What is the difference between a Programming Language and a Scripting Language?

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    What is the difference between a Programming Language and a Scripting Language?

    At risk of sounding stupid, in which I could care less. What is the difference between a programming language and a scripting language?

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    Re: What is the difference between a Programming Language and a Scripting Language?

    First, a scripting language IS a programming language. Anyway, a scripting language uses an interpreter, a non-scripting (compiled) language uses a compiler. You can look around to see what an interpreter and a compiler is.

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    Re: What is the difference between a Programming Language and a Scripting Language?

    Quote Originally Posted by Burky View Post
    At risk of sounding stupid, in which I could care less. What is the difference between a programming language and a scripting language?
    A scripting language is a programming language.

    From Wikipedia:
    A scripting language, script language or extension language is a programming language that allows control of one or more software applications. "Scripts" are distinct from the core code of the application, which is usually written in a different language, and are often created or at least modified by the end-user.

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    Re: What is the difference between a Programming Language and a Scripting Language?

    Thanks guys. This helps.

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    Re: What is the difference between a Programming Language and a Scripting Language?

    Originally a scripting language was interpreted while a programming language was compiled. Nowadays, that isn't really a useful division because most languages nowadays use a hybrid of the two and others can be compiled or interpreted.

    What people really mean when they differentiate between scripts and programs is that programs are generally large, taking up thousands of lines of code and split up into dozens of files. Scripts, on the other hand are usually quite small and are written in one file. They also are often called by another program; javascript in a web browser or game mods for example.

    So a programming language is generally a language used to write (large) programs, while a scripting language is used to write short scripts. Any language can really be used for both, but few people would choose to write scripts in C or programs in lua. Some languages, like Python, work well for both.

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    Re: What is the difference between a Programming Language and a Scripting Language?

    The difference is *very* hazy. Use a range of high-level languages, and work out your own definition.
    "The Map is Not the Territory" - Alfred Korzybski

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    Re: What is the difference between a Programming Language and a Scripting Language?

    While recognizing that scripting languages are a subset of programming languages, IMO the distinctive feature of scripting languages really is the existence of an additional piece of software that executes the program.

    Of course, it should be remembered that even native-compiled languages rely on a lot of other software... standard library, other libraries, operating system...
    LambdaGrok. | #ubuntu-programming on FreeNode

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    Re: What is the difference between a Programming Language and a Scripting Language?

    Quote Originally Posted by CptPicard View Post
    While recognizing that scripting languages are a subset of programming languages, IMO the distinctive feature of scripting languages really is the existence of an additional piece of software that executes the program.

    Of course, it should be remembered that even native-compiled languages rely on a lot of other software... standard library, other libraries, operating system...
    I agree to a large degree on what you're saying. The definition would be pretty simple if it went this: "scripting runs on another software and not on OS and script isn't compiled". A lot of languages fit into this definition but the first that comes to my mind that doesn't, is java. In a way it's compiled(sort of) but the execution isn't on OS.. So no clear-cut definition

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    Re: What is the difference between a Programming Language and a Scripting Language?

    That is not what CptPicard meant, I think.

    What he refers to if I understand him correctly, is that the difference between a scripting language and a (general) programming language is that a scripting language runs in what amounts to a domain-specific interpreter. E.g. GIMP includes a scheme interpreter to manipulate images with -- and that is ‘all’ it does. It's not a general interpreter for arbitrary scheme code; it is a special interpreter for manipulating the internals of GIMP and it does just that, and only that. IOW: you won't get to write database tools on top of that.

    In that sense, scripting languages can be defined as a programming language (both) restricted to and augmented with symbols for a domain specific subset or problem field if you will.

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    Re: What is the difference between a Programming Language and a Scripting Language?

    No, that quite specifically was not a way I would like to be interpreted I guess my usage of "subset of programming languages" was a slightly dangerous wording, it can be read wrong... I just meant that scripting languages quite simply are programming languages.

    Scripting languages can be specialized, but in that case they run the risk of actually becoming so domain-specific that they are no longer Turing-complete -- that is, they are no longer general-purpose programming tools in the sense that you can take "any problem" and tackle it just as well as some "any other problem". Even when they maintain Turing-completeness it can be so obscure that you won't be using the language for general programming (think XSLT).

    Of course, though, a typical place where you will find a scripting language is as an extension point to some other application.
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