Difference between Scripting and Programming Languages
By Laura Lee - April 29, 2023

The terms computer language and programming language are occasionally used interchangeably. However, the writers’ use of both names varies, as does the precise extent of each. One definition of programming languages is a subset of computer languages. Similarly, languages used in computers with purposes other than expressing computer programs are referred to as computer languages. Scripting languages are the third type classified as programming languages but are not quite such.

Chart Summary
  1. They are used for the creation of dynamic web applications.
Computer programs are written using programming languages.
  1. Scripting languages requires a host.
Programming languages are self-executable
  1. Scripting languages include a variety of libraries.
They are fast-paced languages.
Close up of woman programmer working at home in his home office

Getty images/Moment/ Emilija Manevska


A scripting language is a computer programming language that interprets and executes one command at a time using a high-level concept. Scripting languages, in general, are easier to learn and faster to code than more structured and compiled languages like C and C++.

A programming language is a notation system for creating computer programs. Most programming languages are formal text-based, although they can also be graphical. A programming language’s description is often divided into two components: syntax (form) and semantics (meaning), typically described by a formal language.

Scripting vs. Programming Languages

Scripting languages are, in essence, programming languages. The theoretical distinction between the two is that scripting languages are interpreted rather than compiled. A C program, for example, must generally be compiled before executing, but a scripting language such as JavaScript or PHP does not. Because they are transformed from native machine code, compiled programs often execute quicker than interpreted ones. Furthermore, compilers read and analyze the code once and report any mistakes the code may contain collectively. Still, the interpreter reads and analyzes the code statements each time it encounters them and halts at that point if there is an error. The gap between the two is becoming increasingly blurred as current hardware’s calculation capabilities, and innovative coding standards grow.

Another aspect to consider when deciding if a language is a scripting language or a programming language is the environment in which it will be used. This is significant because we can create an interpreter for the C language and use it as a scripting language while starting a compiler for JavaScript and using it as a non-scripting language (compiled language).