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Scripting languages seem to begin as simple command languages, NOT as or even with the goal of becoming programming languages. The go from being simply a command set to scripting once it becomes useful to replay them from a file, and occasionally grow to the point that someone starts pointing at them and calling them languages instead of command sets.
The Bourne shell is a great example of a simple wrapper around some basic commands and the ability to call other programs that became scriptable (i.e. useful in files) at which point people wrote scripts with it. No one in his right mind would have called sh a full programming language back then, and even applying that label to its modern derivatives (bash, etc) seems excessive.
Hence, I'd say the a scripting language is a command set that offers utility in scripts, but is typically not considering to be a programming language, generally lacks any compiler, and further is often only useful through that which it was designed to manipulate, whether it being Unix commands, some hardware device a given scripting language was designed to control, some embedded subsystem like a graphics package plugin (GIMP, Maya, etc) and so on.
In cases where a "real" programming language is being used for scripting, the differentiator might be whether the normal implementation is being utilized, or some specifically mutated variant. For example, if one can compile normal C modules using gcc and then make them be addons for a software package (say, a graphic package plugin), then that isn't a scripting language - it's a actual language. One the other hand, a C-like language which compiles to some funky bytecode to work inside a specific application's context could be legitimately called a "C-like scripting language".
So essentially scripting languages are context-targeting command sets which might resemble some real computing language, but which for some reason really aren't. -- Preceding unsigned comment added by Siodhe (talk o contribs) 06:41, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
I would split the extension language from script language: the term might not be defined and clear. While the porpoise here is clear, I indeed would not use it in the definition of scripting language. In some cases it is the same but in other it might not be understood in the same way. More over: I would go in the direction of reducing the number of terms. Because extension language is not that used I will not promote it. We might even argue about the meaning. Or: extension language is an hoax. --Preceding unsigned comment added by 18.104.22.168 (talk) 21:03, 26 February 2011 (UTC)
A Scripting Language is a programming language which assumes the existence of an interpreter (in contrast to a compiler) being this the OS (Operating System) itself or any other application, program or dedicated interface.
The simplest (or basic) interpreter is typically the OS which intrinsically define the programming language via a commands interface.
Historically the OS scripting "language" (not always a programming language: check for example http://www.defaultlogic.com/learn?s=Rule_110) was used to define the "environment" (variables, libraries) for the Operating System and eventually send sequential command to the OS.
The most famous scripts are probably: autoexec.bat and .profile. The first started for windows(TM) and the second for unix machines.
The possibility to interact with the OS via a pseudo language (at the beginning there was not a programming language: just a sequence of commands [more like a process control]) created the concept of scripting.
It is clear that the first scripts were done only to facilitate repeated actions. Still, at the beginning, they would be used only to set up the environment.
At present there is not a real definition for a scripting language with the exception that there should exist an interpreter. In particular there should exists a shell like (ksh,sh,dos) interpreter. The interpreter is a line by line interface to the programming language. In these framework i can cite old style scripting languages like:ksh, sh, bash, bsh, csh, tcsh, dos. But also the newcomers like: perl, php, python, expect. (ruby: I have no clue about). They all present a command line interpreter. I should not forget: sed and awk. They are just in the middle.
I guess it fits here, indeed, the full class of application specific scripting languages. For example LabTalk is used within originlab applications, they even have OriginC (not scripting).
As a bottom line: a scripting language is the one for which it exists a line by line interpreter and it also allows automation of repeated tasks.
I think that one of the major reason for scripting, as main tool, came with HTTP and dynamic CGI.
Before there was shells (ksh/sh) and "real small" scripts in sed, awk, expect (proly later) and perl (probably the first scripting language from an historical and classical point of view.) Today it is difficult to distinguish: python will not exists without hard coded optimized c (other languages) libraries. Shell is still fully interpreted but it is normal to call other programs within the shell. It would be difficult to define which program the script is referring to. Considering that we can do a full independent program in shell if we try hard.
It can be how we deploy results:
input -> script -> interpreter -> results
script/code -> compiler -> (input coming in) program - > results
But if we get again the web applications were you need a bit of dynamics, I am not sure that with cashes and the like (time events) we would be able to make a difference: probably a pure C code in the right application will perform faster with an optimized compiler.
Portability within machines is also not an issue: For the bytecode you need a VM: just as you need a compiler or an interpreter.
So, to conclude.
In the old time scripting was more related to automation. i.e. repetition of tasks. In this framework it was not important the language but eventually the possibility to adapt and change the script on the fly, and of course fully compatible with the OS.
In the new times we refer more often to scripting as the embedded HTML code in order to generate dynamic pages. Here indeed you might need portability with web servers..
I personally would stick to the repetition of OS duties: get logrotate for example, or some printing preprocessing. Or in my case the list of stuff I put in the cron: In a process to be executed daily I do try to stick to bare shell: i.e. it is fully working just on the OS APIs/commands.
I use python daily and I would have serious difficulties to call it scripting, I use normally optimized math libraries: without python would not be used. Probably it is better the tcl/tk paradigm.
BTW: I think that the most famous script in windows machines was: autoexec.bat (typically located in c:/)
Signature: NO I do not sign. I had a strange discussion with one of the defaultlogic.com resource admins/managers/page responsible. She removing my text as soon as I was typing. Not a nice experience. This is the only time you will see this text. The rest is for free.
"Scripting programming languages are computer programs that are interpreted not compiled."
This is clearly incorrect, in many ways. A programming language is not an interpreted language or a compiled one; programming languages are interpreted or compiled by computer programs. You can compile or interpret C, you can compile or interpret Basic. The issue of whether or not a programming language is a scripting programming language is orthogonal. The real distinction is that a scripting programming language is good for scripting some system. For instance, C is a good language for scripting Unix. So is Perl.
It's also worth mentioning (since this section seems relevant) that, depending what Lisp dialect you're talking about, Lisp is *not* an interpreted language. Common Lisp, for example, has had a compiler for a while. --Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 16:19, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
[1 minute later]: Oh, someone beat me to it, while I was writing the above. Cool.
We need to emphasize this characteristic. The corresponding Spanish wiki article is called "Lenguaje interpretado" (Interpreted Language). Even after I read those articles about scripts, I had a very hard time understanding the introduction for this entry because it is so ambiguous. It also reads like it was written for a programmer to read. The introduction should be the simplest part of an entry.--HQCentral 12:21, 6 November 2006 (UTC)
A CGI application would traditionally be described as a script, rather than as a true program. The distinction is to a certain extent semantic--a "script" is thought to be any application that is created merely by the line-by-line interpretation of code in some functional programming language like Perl or Python. A "program" in the classical sense is, on the other hand, code written in a language such as C or C++ which has to be compiled to obtain a binary (executable) that is then run; the program itself cannot be run on any system.
Perhaps the vague difference between a scripting and general purpose language is merely that it is possible to write and run a "script" without any command-line compilers, makefiles, or other "developer tools". For example, Scheme48 is a runtime for the general purpose language Scheme, but scsh is a scripting language using a hacked Scheme48 runtime that supports the "#!" shell syntax. By the way, Mondrian is a strongly typed "scripting" language. Also, the page uses "scripting" in the definition of scripting language, which is circular and not terribly illuminating. --Anon 19:42, 11 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Coupla good sources on complexity of defining scripting languages:
I expanded description on main scripting page to fit in some of the blurriness elaborated at those links. Basically, we are talking about a field of applied engineering and active computer science research, still evolving, hard to pin down; lots of schools of thought.
--Stevelu, Feb 25 2004
If a scripting language is meant to mean a language which is chiefly used to control or connect other programs -- the old sense of a job-control language -- then whole swaths of the listed languages do not fit.
Dylan is a general-purpose programming language. Perl was originally a text-processing language like awk, but is now mostly a general-purpose one. Scheme is a family of educational and general-purpose languages. Guile and Lua are general extension languages, intended to be embedded in applications written in another language. QuakeC and ZZT-OOP are similarly extension languages, but specialized for particular games (just as AutoLisp is an extension language for one particular application, AutoCAD). PHP is arguably an extension language for Apache Web servers.
Looking over the list, it seems to me as if these can be divided into four categories -- no, five. Job control languages are chiefly used to direct the input and output of other programs, such as Unix shells, JCL, and REXX. Text processing languages are used to format text or produce reports, such as awk, sed, and (originally) Perl. Embedded extension languages differ from job-control languages in that they can access the internal state of applications designed to use them, such as Guile, AppleScript, and VBScript. Application-specific extension languages are those embedded in a single application, such as QuakeC (in Quake), ZZT-OOP (in ZZT), AutoLisp (in AutoCAD), or PHP (in Apache). The fifth category is dynamic languages called "scripting languages" by people who don't like dynamic languages -- such as Python, Scheme, Dylan, or modern Perl. --FOo 13:52, 4 May 2004 (UTC)
(Sorry for the crude formatting, I'm a defaultlogic.com resource novice.)
A bunch of us at META Group have been discussing this distinction, so I thought I'd post some of my thoughts here:
Ousterhout (http://home.pacbell.net/ouster/scripting.html) in his article on scripting, which I highly recommend reading thoroughly, nails the sence of "gluing" that distinguishes system programming languages (SPLs) from scripting languages (SLs): "System programming languages were designed for building data structures and algorithms from scratch, starting from the most primitive computer elements such as words of memory. In contrast, scripting languages are designed for gluing: they assume the existence of a set of powerful components and are intended primarily for connecting components together." It is this distinction between "building from scratch from primitive elements" and "building from already built-up components" that is fundamental. Yes, you can add a rich library or framework to an SPL (think Unix libraries or MSFT MFC), but then you are still stuck with a language (eg C++) with a set of powerful but complicated capabilities for "building from scratch from primitive elements". If all one wants to do is to exploit the rich library of already developed data structures and algorithms (DSAs), and does not want to add any more, then the SPL is overkill.
Flex and Flash are perfect examples of this. The geniuses at MM have already created the DSAs for UI building and animation, respectively--Flex and Flash just let you compose them. If you want to design new DSAs for UI building and animation, then don't use Flex and Flash.
In short, SLs are designed for composing existing DSAs for a specific use. SPLs are designed for defining new DSAs for general use.
I also think references to scripting languages just being for automating what one would do at a keyboard are obsolete. They are used for an incredibly wide variety of uses. In fact, given this definitional distinction between "composition" vs "definition", I would claim that BPEL (Business Process Execution Language) is a scripting language for scripting together existing Web services.
Old first paragraph of Description section:
Computer languages are created with varying degrees of abstraction, that is, the extent to which multiple smaller operations are combined into single named operations. Those languages that tend to introduce the most abstraction are typically called scripting languages. Another use of the term is to describe "small" languages, where the over all functionality of the language is limited to very specific tasks.
Here's why I replaced it:
This paragraph is erroneous, chiefly for the reasons I have given in the earlier discussion above. The existence of powerful abstraction mechanisms in a language is not correlated with its usefulness for scripting. For instance, Common Lisp is a language with more powerful abstraction mechanisms than virtually any other, but it is not very suitable for scripting since it is not very good at interfacing with foreign components. On the other side, Perl is a language which is quite suited to scripting, and which has many powerful mechanisms built it, but not particularly good abstraction mechanisms.
Scripting, the connection of existing external program components which may be written in different languages, is a specific application. Some languages (Perl, Tcl) are well-suited to it. Others (C, Lisp) are not particularly suited for it. Despite the blatant misreading of Ousterhout's work which led to the common perception of "Ousterhout's dichotomy", there is no partition of languages into "those with strong abstraction mechanisms that are good at scripting and are implemented with slow interpreters" and "those with weak abstraction mechanisms that are no good at scripting and are implemented with fast compilers". --FOo 02:35, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)
"A scripting language, script language or extension language is a programming language". In my opinion it is conflicting with the wiki article "programming language" and "programming". The only way I see that scripting falls under programming language is if you change the wiki article to generalize what programming is. Then you can state that scripting is a programming language as is system programming language. I believe the correct wording should be type/category of programming language. So in other words Scripting is a category of Programming Languages as would be System Programming Language. If you define programming to its basic means (not necessarily relating to computers), then the definition to programming is the act of planning or a series of steps to be carried out or goals to be accomplished. Then by that definition Scripting is a programming language just as System Programming Languages would be.Tekeek (talk) 08:15, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Programming and Scripting are COMPLETELY two SEPERATE things. Imagine, if you will, the OS of the computer as a layer of code that interpretes what the CPU says. Programming languages, like C++, manipulate what the OS does by creating and changing variables, functions, etc; thus, the Programming language makes another layer. The Programming language relies on the layer, or framework, of the OS. The Programmer can create their own functions. The Scripting language manipulates the layer of the Programming language to manipulate its functions. The Program tells the OS what to do, and the Script tells the Program what to do. Hardware -> OS -> Programming language -> Script. Tuxmascot (talk) 18:27, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
To summarize, a System Programming Language (SPL) can create things from the most basic forms of memory. While, Scripting Languages (SL) use what the SPL defined and cause the program to react.
An analogy I came up with would be: An SPL creates the motherboard of the computer, while the SL adds the CPU. Another one as well: An SPL is an Actor in a movie, and the SL makes the script and tells the actor what to say. Tuxmascot (talk) 17:54, 1 February 2012 (UTC)
It seems from what I have read online that there are many different opinions of what a scripting language is. This article states such, but doesn't do a very good job outlining the differing opinions. As I see it, there are currently a coulple different opinions of what a scripting language:
Clearly the distinction completely lies with a person opinion. The problem is that the phrase was originally coined to describe languages which were purely for scripting (such as shell scripting), but now is often used loosely to describe languages that are good for scripting. It should also be pointed out that this term is also sometimes used (usually falsely) to have a negative conotation, meaning that a language is only good for scripting. -- ? ? 19:45, Dec 9, 2004 (UTC)
Anyone have literature/web recommendations detailing what decisions to make when designing your own scripting language for a single piece of software / single purpose? For example, what syntax would be efficient for a new MUD engine, etc... --I run like a Welshman 09:53, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)
"In most modern systems, the latter case is very seldom recommendable, since one or more suitable script languages is usually available."
Of course it doesn't make any difference, unless you're porting the platform between systems and need a virtual machine to go along with it. But how many platforms really need virtual machines? Almost any virtual machine, anyway, can be shrunk so that a good inter-platform compiler will have no trouble building its scripts. --VKokielov 15:24, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
It fits the definition (language to control/instrument an application, usually in a language other than the application itself) perfectly. (instruments the sandbox of the browser app. 126.96.36.199 (talk) 18:35, 1 January 2011 (UTC)
Shouldn't XSLT be listed under both (or neither) of the "Web programming languages" subcategories? According to the XSLT article, "XSLT processor implementations fall into two main categories: server-side, and client-side."
Most modern browsers can apply XSL transformations to XML documents, so it seems inaccurate to have it listed only under the server-side category. -- Krilnon 01:56, 19 May 2007 (UTC)
We can use scripting inside a Java Server Pages but JSP is not a scripting language. JSP code is compiled by JSP compiler. Infact a JSP file is a compiled Java Servlet. F?rat KÜÇÜK 05:27, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
Isn't the "clarification" in the into more muddying the waters than clarifying them ?
It claims that scripts are distinguished from programs in that programs consits of ones and zeroes. What then, pray tell, does scripts consist of ?
And is a "script" any program written in a "scripting language" ? If so, does this mean a completely normal GUI spreadsheet-program is a "script" if it happens to be written in Python ?
Is C a "scripting language" if anyone cares to sit down and write an interpreter for it ? I'm sure it's been done repeatedly already...
I think the next paragraph is much better. A script is a script because of what function it performs, not because of what language it happens to be coded in. And a scripting-language is one used for creating scripts. Which yes, means that all languages are sometimes used as scripting-languages. --Eivind Kjørstad 13:51, 11 September 2007 (UTC)
"But basically, scripting is not a technical term. When we call something a scripting language, we're primarily making a linguistic and cultural judgment, not a technical judgment.", Programming is Hard, Let's Go Scripting... by Larry Wall. --mj41 (talk) 12:16, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Although low knowledge + high boldness is a common recipe for disaster on Wikipedia, I've ignorantly + boldly added Linden Scripting Language to the list of Application-specific languages. If this is a problem, somebody please fix it. Thanks. -- Writtenonsand (talk) 03:57, 12 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm considering rewriting this article. Scripting languages can only really be understood from the historical context of the automation of computer operations, which were formerly carried out by human operators. Here's my version of how it happened. Comments and corrections welcome.
The first interactive shells developed to enable remote operation of the first timesharing systems generated a demand for scripting, to relieve the human operator of the tedium of re-entering sequences of commands at a teletype keyboard, so from there were developed JCL macros, the precursors of what we now know as shellscripts. In a parallel development, larger more complex applications developed embedded scripting facilities, at first very rudimentary, to facilitate batch operation.
So strictly speaking, by history and by purpose, embedded languages used for the scripting and extension of applications are distinct from scripting shells associated with computer automation, though there are close affinities.
As scripting facilities approached Turing-completeness, the skills and techniques developed in application programming were brought to bear. The nascent scripting languages acquired variables, sequencing, iteration, decisions, procedures, and even modules. In time some embedded scripting languages became complex enough to be used to extend the application (Emacs is one classic example still in daily use).
General purpose computer scripting became highly developed on UNIX platforms, with a massive proliferation of general purpose shells (Bourne shell, C shell, and their derivatives). The "programming tool" approach of UNIX led to the development of more specialized tools such grep, sed, and awk, which led in turn to the development of perl, Larry Wall's highly successful attempt to improve and supplant the limitations of such tools, which went on to become one of the most widespread scripting tools.
Some mainstream languages, such as Lisp, adapted well to embedding within applications by providing high expressive power in a small footprint. Others, such as Tcl, were specifically designed as general purpose embedded scripting languages. Other systems such as VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) provided strong integration with the automation facilities of the underlying system.
Although historically most scripting languages have been interpretive rather than compiled languages, applications requiring speed require fast extensions. QuakeC, developed for use in scripting the Quake game engine, is an example of a scripting language that is compiled to bytecode which is interpreted by a bytecode interpreter or virtual machine. This isn't exactly new. In the seventies, a common system command and scripting language of DEC's RSTS/E operating system prior to version 9 of the O/S was Basic, compiled to byte-code.
Early web servers generated non-static web content in response to an incoming query by launching a program or shellscript to handle each individual task, but the relatively high cost of launching a process for each query led to the development of server systems such as ASP, PHP, and JSP, which remained memory resident and, of course, came with their own scripting languages specialised for the purpose of serving web content. In using modules scripted in Java, JSP provides a highly sophisticated software engineering infrastructure to web-based scripting.
We should mention keyboard-based and GUI-based macro languages, I suppose, though these tend to be very rudimentary. They can be used for automation of repetitive tasks, and have often been provided as an extra scripting language in applications where they are likely to be useful even to unsophisticated users. --Tony Sidaway 15:16, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
The article currently says "scripting languages are nearly always embedded in the applications they control". I think this statement only applies to some of the types of scripting languages. And I don't see how the reference added here supports the claim. Open4D (talk) 00:11, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
I had a very quick look to the comments above.
Scripting has definitely an historical background in IT. Indeed, language on its own is also historical but in the new IT era got two meanings: programming it and defining it: http://www.defaultlogic.com/learn?s=Rule_110.
I think that there is an oxymoron in the terms. Actually this page should not exists.
At present I am even not sure if the probably equivalent: "script languages" makes any better meaning.
My opinion is to quit this discussion and move it somewhere else. (The content is indeed valuable, so we should find a moving strategy)
"Scripting language" is a contradiction in terms. Scripting assumes a language on its own and the term scripting cannot be a language. This page should be removed in favor of: (out of my mind, no check) - Scripting - Operating System (You might be surprised but the old OS was not able to do anything: scripting was a must) - Interpreted_vs_compiled
We should just really remove this wiki reference.
It has plenty of good contents but the actual term is not used, will never be used and it is a contradiction in its own name.
Before to do it, I would suggest to check related pages and try to summarize the discussion for these pages.
As extra argument: Just check google. I didn't, but I am confident.
As additional reason to cancel the topic:
No programmer, at least not me, will ever use such a term. So we do not want to create any additional term in IT. It is already a place where terms comes up like mushrooms. You do not need an extra one.
"A Program is a tool that drives hardware - something that turns sand, copper and Bakelite into a Computer. A Script is something that runs on that Computer." -- marketwiki.com
Kurtz, co-inventor of Dartmouth Basic (Kurtz and Kennedy) and driving force behind "True BASIC" in 1999, provided this guidance on the issue, After teaching a beginners course in Pascal "... I could have taught 90% of the course in True BASIC, dropping only those things that Pascal has but True BASIC does not: pointers, allocated storage, and number types." -- truebasic.com
This also from Dartmouth, A shell script is "A text file containing commands which could have been typed directly into the shell." -- www.dartmouth.edu/~rc/classes/ksh/print_pages.shtml
James Gosling does not consider Java to be a scripting language but it is interpreted and hides both pointers and storage allocation.
This also implies the following argument: If code is run on a Framework or VM, then the Operating System could also be classified as a Framework and ALL programming languages are then scripting languages. The VM and Framework simulate the OS; thus, the OS is the "Framework" that the language scripts or manipulates. This implies that there is no solid programming language, but the scripting of events inside the Operating System's framework. Tuxmascot (talk) 17:58, 31 January 2012 (UTC)
You may have a point there, but could you be confusing powerful scripting languages with an actual programming language? Python is used widely in the *nix area, but the python script is used in bash. I would have to argue that Python is a scripting language, not a 'hybrid' language.
I attempted to read the article and I might have missed something. I would like to see something about disabling scripting and what that actually means for the layperson as I am fairly (ok quite) ignorant about programming. I do know how to disable scripting on my computer, but I don't know how that will affect my internet useage if I do that. I do use IE and I like it, so comments like 'use Firefox' doesn't cut it. Is there an article that describes what disabling scripting does already on Wikipedia? Please let me knwo. Oh, and there was news about disabling Java. I decided to use the 'prompt me' option. Will that still leave me open to hackers or am I protected?Mylittlezach (talk) 18:18, 12 January 2013 (UTC)
It appears this article intends to go deep into the world of scripting and in this attempt a person wanting to understand this concept does not get a focused introduction. The article tries to be so detailed that eventually the basic concept of what a script is does not appear in focus and in-front. -- Preceding unsigned comment added by Nayumadehrafti (talk o contribs) 10:57, 20 July 2013 (UTC)
The attempt to define a class of languages called scripting languages fails. Look at this many years long discussion with so many unresolved issues!
If one tries to explain what a script is, the result will be much better. One can go into detail explaining the difference between a script which You often find in HTML-pages and another type of script which You run for a single purpose and another one which gets started regularly by external events and cron jobs.
One can differentiate it from macro and program.
Then this page will become useful. And since hordes of wolves will start howling if this page will be turned into "Script", it is better to crate a new one and step by step migrate content. Manorainjan (talk) 22:16, 7 September 2014 (UTC)
A script automates a task, while a program involves a more interesting challenge like solving a problem, develop and implement an algorithm.
The reason of this use is historical, because in earl days, interpreted languages were limited with very simple types, while some compiled languages had some structured data types, like arrays in Fortran or records in Cobol. Pascal had arrays, sets, records and variant types! and structured statements, wow!.
Today many scripting languages are very rich, but their use remains to be more interpreted than compiled, although the efficiency and use of virtual machines made that difference minimal.
Maybe a key issue to classify today languages, is how code is optimized. Are the programs optimized before executing them, or are interpreted line by line?
I suggest that we merge the article Interpreted language into this article, as the two terms seem to be as good as interchangeable. Also, none of the articles links to the other article, which gives the impression that the two articles have been written unwittingly of each other. --Kri (talk) 22:18, 30 July 2017 (UTC)
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