Programming Languages vs Scripting Languages | Which is The Best?


When I was a student, I also had the same question about the exact differences between programming languages vs scripting languages. There is a lot of difference between programming and scripting. Let’s have a quick look at the basic comparison between these two terms. Programming languages are a specific set of instructions that are used to perform various kind of task. There are two major parts of programming, i.e., syntax and semantics. The program form is based on syntax, whereas the meaning of a program is based on Semantics.

On the other hand, the scripting languages are high-level languages and general-purpose programming languages. These languages are dynamic and don’t require an explicit compilation step and support scripts. Scripting languages are not compiled. These programming languages are interpreted. Now have a look at this one by one to have a clear view of what these terms stand for:-

Programming Languages

Programming languages are compiled in nature. The code is compiled to machine code and then run on the specific hardware under an operating system. It is impossible to code in programming languages without any IDE. It means that you should have an IDE installed on your system to work with the programming language. These languages are used to write certain instructions for the computer system to achieve certain goals. Apart from that, these languages are also used to write certain algorithms that automate most programming tasks.

Nowadays, there are tons of programming languages available in the world. Some of the programming languages have well-established documentation. Apart from that, some of these programming languages have many references available over the internet. Likewise, you can have the C language references because it is an ISO standard associated programming language. You can have the documentation for modern programming languages such as Perl, Julia, and many more.


The actual goal of programming languages is to transform the data into information. For this, the CPU instructions are written in a programming language used to write the input data into the output. We can have an example, i.e., solving a set of equations from a different set of conditions, as I have mentioned earlier that the programming languages need to be compiled. It means that whenever we write a code in any general-purpose programming language such as Java, C, C++  etc., we need to compile the code first. After that, the code is converted into a binary form that is understandable by the machine.

Scripting Languages

Scripting languages are also powerful as programming languages. But these languages are completely different from programming languages. You can find them in software applications, web pages, web browsers, and an operating system. These languages are used for automation purposes. There is no need to compile any scripting languages such as Perl, JavaScript, and so on. These languages are run on the subset of original programming languages. That is why these languages don’t have access to the computer’s native ability. 

For example, you can access your computer resources with the help of JavaScript. These languages are interpreted and have their primary focus on the behavior of the existing application. The code written in these languages is the set of instructions used to perform any specific operation in a software system. Nowadays, scripting languages have become more powerful than ever before. Now you can create powerful featured riched applications using scripting languages. Apart from that, it can manipulate, customize, and automate the facilities of any application softwares.


Programming Languages vs Scripting Languages

Coding Time

Tons of programming languages available in the world. Therefore in some programming languages, you can have a simple syntax that can take less time to code. Apart from that, most programming languages have complex syntaxes that take a longer time to code. On the other hand, scripting languages always have the simplest syntax that allows the coder to code less in these languages to perform specific operations.



If you want to run the programming language code, you need not have any host, i.e., localhost or web browser. On the other hand, it is impossible to execute the scripting code without any host’s help.

Learning Path

Programming languages have lots of syntaxes, operators, keywords, etc. Therefore it is quite complex for anyone to learn programming languages. Whenever someone gets started learning python, then it takes lots of time to master the programming languages. On the other hand, scripting languages are limited syntax that is easier to learn and even master.  Anyone can get familiar with scripting languages within a few weeks.


The execution of programming languages is done with the help of executable files. Whenever we compile the code, then we need to create an executable file of the programming code. It allows us to execute the code anytime and from anywhere. On the other hand, scripting languages need not create any executable files. These languages are interpreted and can be executed within a web browser.

Machine Level Code

In programming languages, the code first needs to be compiled, and then the code is converted into machine code. This process also depends on the programming languages. Some have more steps, and some have a few steps. On the other hand, in scripting languages, the code is converted directly without any intermediate process.



Programming languages have lots of functionality that allows the programmers to perform various functions and take full advantage of all programming languages’ features. On the other hand, scripting languages allow the developer to do coding faster and make it simpler.


To maintain programming language code, you need to hire experienced programmers who can charge a lot of money. In some programming languages where syntaxes are quite complex, it takes a longer time and a huge amount of money to maintain the code. On the other hand, even a junior developer can easily maintain the scripting language code without having lots of experience. 


In the case of programming languages, there is no need for code interpretation. These languages don’t required to be compiled by another language or application. On the other hand, the scripting language is written in one language and needs to be interpreted with another language. For example, the PHP code needs to be incorporated within HTML code that is interpreted with the internet browser. It is impossible to run scripting languages independently. 


Programming languages are used to develop full-fledged applications and software. That is why it takes longer and difficult to code many lines to perform a single software function. On the other hand, the scripting languages only require a few hours and a specific line known as small chunks of code to perform any specific function. Therefore the development time in scripting languages is always less than in programming languages.



Programming languages are categorized based on generations, i.e., First-generation, Second generation, Third generation, Fourth generation, and Fifth generation. On the other hand, scripting languages are categorized into two categories i.e., Client-side scripting languages and Server-side scripting languages.


Programming languages are always faster as compared with scripting languages. Their languages are compiled by the compiler that analyzes and reads the code once and then reports the bug within the code. The compilers are also fasters than the interpreter. On the other hand, the interpreters read and analyze the code line by line and stop the code every time it detects any error.


Some of the best examples of programming languages are C, C++, Java, Go, etc. On the other hand, some of the best examples of scripting languages are JavaScript, Perl, Python, etc.


Now you may have seen all the crucial points of the comparison on programming languages vs scripting languages. As you have seen, some of the points scripting languages are better, and on some points, programming languages are better. The environment and the execution of the code are entirely different in both of these types of languages. Although the major difference between these languages is that programming languages are used to develop the applications, and scripting languages are used to control an application’s behavior. 


But these days, scripting languages allow the coder to go beyond and develop full-fledged applications with these languages. But it is not recommended to develop offline applications using scripting languages. Now you may have an idea which language is better for you and why. You should pick these languages based on what you are going to perform with these languages. If you are going to deal with a web-based application, you should go with scripting languages. But if you want to write the code for an offline machine, you should go with programming languages. Keep in mind that most electronic device programming is done with the help of programming languages. At last, it’s up to you to pick the best one for you.

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