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Scripting language

Scripting language definition

A scripting language is a programming language designed for automating routine tasks, manipulating data, and integrating systems and applications. Typically interpreted rather than compiled, it allows for direct execution of code without a prior compilation step.

The boundary between scripting and programming languages is somewhat blurry, as many languages serve both roles depending on the context.

See also: web server, active content

Examples of scripting languages

  • Python
  • Perl
  • Ruby
  • JavaScript
  • Bash (and other shell scripting languages)
  • Lua
  • PHP
  • Tcl
  • Groovy
  • R (for statistical computing)
  • AWK

Uses of a scripting language

  • Web development. Developers use JavaScript for client-side scripting to add interactivity to web pages. PHP, Ruby (Ruby on Rails), and Python (Django, Flask) are employed for server-side scripting.
  • Automation. Bash scripts on Linux and PowerShell scripts can automate repetitive tasks, such as file manipulation, batch renaming, and data extraction.
  • Data analysis and manipulation. Languages like Python, with libraries such as Pandas, are widely used for data analysis and transformation.
  • Web scraping. Languages like Python (with tools like Beautiful Soup or Scrapy) automate data scraping from web pages.
  • System administration. Scripts manage system tasks, monitor resources, or automate deployment processes.
  • Testing. Automated testing in software development often involves scripting to simulate user behaviors and analyze outcomes.
  • Database operations. Administrators run scripts for database maintenance, backups, data insertion, or extraction.
  • Embeddable logic. Scripting languages like Lua are embedded within larger applications (e.g., video games) to handle specific logic or customization without altering the core program.
  • Prototyping. Quickly writing scripts to test ideas or algorithms before implementing them in a full-fledged application.
  • Text processing. Languages like AWK and Perl are traditionally used for text manipulation and processing tasks.
  • GUI automation. Scripts simulate mouse clicks, keypresses, and other GUI interactions for automation or testing.
  • Cybersecurity. Penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, or automating certain security tasks.