As a user of the internet, you interact with scripts every day – but what exactly is scripting and what are the most popular scripting languages? Brooke Jones, a Software Engineering Instructor at Flatiron School, breaks down the basics of scripting, diving into the difference between scripting vs coding and how to differentiate between client-side vs server-side scripting. Brooke weighs in about how today’s software developers and QA engineers rely on scripting on the job and whether you should expect scripting questions in a technical interview.
Meet the Expert: Brooke Jones
At a very basic level, scripting provides information to a computer to tell it what and when to do something. This can be done programmatically or manually (as in having a person enter commands).
Is there a difference between scripting and coding?
Scripting and coding are definitely related, but they are not the same thing. Scripting is a subset of coding. Any time we use machine language to write instructions that a computer or computer program can understand, we are coding. We write scripts to automate functionality that would otherwise need to be executed step-by-step by a developer.
When is it useful to write scripts?
Coding allows you to create a program, but scripting allows you to control a program.
Some examples of useful scripts:
What are the most popular scripting languages?
Client-side scripting is a small program or set of instructions that is embedded into a web page. The primary function of client-side scripting is to provide the requested data to the client.
One example of Client-Side Scripting that you regularly interact with is validation on a website. If the client enters invalid login information, the browser displays an error message without interacting with the server.
The primary function of server-side scripting is to manipulate and give access to the required database as requested. It’s used on the back end and is not visible to the client. Server-side scripts are programs that are executed on the server-side when a client requests information. Server side scripting is required to access or store persisted data like user login information.
One example of Server-Side Scripting occurs when you log into a website or application. When a client enters their username and password, the program verifies the username and password they entered matches what is stored in the server.
How do developers use scripting languages on the job? Do certain tech roles or members on a tech team rely on scripting more than others?
The software developers on the team will often use scripts the most. QA Engineers will use scripts to run tests as well.
Should bootcamp grads expect questions about scripting in technical interviews?
Bootcamp grads shouldn’t need to focus specifically on scripting in order to do well in coding interviews. As long as they can demonstrate proficiency in the coding languages they know, additional knowledge about scripting will be learned on the job and most likely be written by a more senior engineer until the junior is more comfortable with the differences and use cases of each.
What are your favorite resources for learning scripting languages like Python?
Udemy, W3Schools, and YouTube have consistently been excellent tools for learning scripting languages, and are my favorites!
Find out more and read Flatiron School reviews on Course Report. This article was produced by the Course Report team in partnership with Flatiron School.
Jess Feldman is the Content Manager at Course Report. As a lifelong learner, Jess is passionate about education — She loves learning and sharing insights about tech bootcamps and career changes with the Course Report community. Jess received a M.F.A. in Writing from the University of New Hampshire and lives in southern Maine.
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