Know the Differences Between Programming Language and Scripting Language6 min read

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Hi, today we are going to be looking at the differences between a programming language and a scripting language.

Note: Basically all scripting Languages are programming Languages but not all programming languages are scripting languages. Hope you got that.

Before we start anyways, Let us take a look at what programming languages are. Then we will move to the differences between a programming and scripting Language.


We could just take a look at what computer programming is, what do you think?

Okay, right. Here we go. Follow along please.

What is Computer Programming?

On Wikipedia, Computer Programming is defined as:

            “Computer programming is the process of designing and building an executable computer program to accomplish a specific computing result or to perform a specific task.”

This simply means computer programming is a way of giving instructions to computers about what they are to do. Computers are faster when they are carrying out their tasks, yes. But computers are not smart on their own as they need us (humans) to give them instructions on what they need to do. We give this instructions by writing them (coding).

So In short, programming is the process of writing instructions (coding) for computers. And just like humans – were we communicate using Languages- computers are also given instruction in the language they understand which is called Programming Language.


What is Programming Language?

Still on Wikipedia, A Programming Language is:

            “A programming language is a formal language comprising a set of instructions that produce various kinds of output. Programming languages are used in computer programming to implement algorithms.”

Basically, a programming language is the set of instructions through which humans interact with computers. Programming languages are used to write programs or code to solve problems or perform a task.

When it comes to programming, you have to be very specific – that is when giving a computer instructions on what to do you have to break everything down to simple form. For example when you as a human is asked to do something like make a cup of tea. You already know how to go about it so the instruction make a cup of tea is just that.

However, if a computer – a robot for instance- is instructed to make the same cup of tea, then it’s not as simple as just making a cup of tea with a human. You have to tell it where to start, how to go about it and when to do other things in between.

You can see an example of the pseudo-code instruction on how a computer will make a cup of tea effectively here

Programming Languages fall within Low-level Languages and high-level languages. These categorization into levels are the various by which a computer understands your code. Low-level languages are further classified into assembly and machine level languages.

Low-level Languages are machine friendly that is to say computers easily understand them while humans do not easily understand them.

High-level languages- such as JavaScript, Python, PHP, e.t.c- are termed high-level because they are close to human language and are easily understood by humans. They are also easy to learn.

You can find out on the differences between Low-level and high-level programming languages here


  1. Web Development
  2. Software Development
  3. Mobile Applications Development
  4. Games Development

Uses of programming is not limited to the things in the list above, there are many more things that programming languages are used for now and also many more to come in the future.


Just as Human languages, Computer Programming languages are also of a different type. You can also check for the complete list of computer programming languages in this medium article.

Let’s take a list of different types of programming languages here:

  1. Functional Programming Languages
  2. Procedural Programming Languages
  3. Object-oriented programming Language
  4. Scripting Programming Languages
  5. Compiled Programming Languages

There are a lot more types of programming languages and you are sure to find their explanation on different blog posts but you can start here


  1. Python
  2. JavaScript
  3. PHP
  4. Java
  5. C++
  6. C#

And there is a lot more than what is listed above.

Now that we have refreshed our memory on what programming languages are and that scripting language- or should we call it scripting programming language- is actually a programing language. Let’s now move to what scripting language is and how a scripting language is different from other programming language. Shall we?

What is a Scripting Programming Language?

Scripting Languages are majorly used in web applications, system administration, games applications, and multimedia- they majorly support scripts. All scripting Languages are programming languages. A scripting language is written for a runtime environment so as to bring about a specific function.

In short, this medium article defines scripting languages as “programming languages that control an application. Scripts can execute independent of any other application. They are mostly embedded in the application that they control and are used to automate frequently executed tasks like communicating with external programs. ”

Scripting Languages can be divided into two categories. The server side scripting language and client side scripting language.

Client-side scripting Language create script that are run on your browser(what you see). An example is JavaScript. While server side scripting language create scripts that run on the server. Some examples are PHP, Python etc.


There are many scripting languages. Some are listed below:

  1. PHP
  2. VBScript
  3. Python
  4. Ruby
  5. JavaScript

Differences between a Scripting Programming Language and other programming Languages

Let’s now look at the major differences between scripting and programming Languages.

1. Interpretation

Programming languages are compiler-based Languages while scripting languages are interpreter-based Languages. This means that scripting languages use an interpreter to convert their code into machine code. Therefore, scripting languages do not require a compilation step. Example is JavaScript which is interpreted by the browser. Programming languages are compiled into a more compact design that does not require to be interpreted by another language or application.

2. Design

Scripting Languages are designed to make coding simple and fast. They are also used in conjunction with other programming languages. Programming languages on the other hand, are designed to give full usage of a language.

3. Running

Programming Languages run independent of a parent program and they run faster than a scripting Language. Scripting Languages, however, are run inside another program (dependent on another program) and they are slower because they need to be interpreted into the native machine code.

  •  Compilers read and analyze the code only once, and report all errors encountered in the code collectively. The interpreter will read and analyze the code statements line by line and when it meets an error it halts every time.
  • Programming Languages are somehow hard to code as they need numerous line of code to make a function. Since scripting languages are pieces of code, it is easier to code and not many line are needed to make a function when compared to other programming languages.
  • Scripting Languages are easy to use and easy to write while programming languages may be harder to code.
  • Programming Languages do not require a host as they can be executed by themselves. Scripting languages require a host.

There you have it, the differences between scripting languages and programming languages.

Rasheedat Usman

Rasheedat Usman

Rasheedat Usman is a web and ecommerce developer at Fovero Digital Technologies. She has great expertise in front-end web development and strives to learn and explore more, the world of technology.

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