A Beginner’s Guide to Scripting

Jess Feldman

Written By Jess Feldman

Last updated on April 3, 2023

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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

  • Brooke is a Software Engineering instructor at Flatiron School.
  • Brooke is a career changer as well! She was an educator for about 13 years when she decided to change her path by enrolling at Flatiron School and landed her first developer job just three days after graduating!

What is Scripting?

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: 

  • You can write a script that automatically empties your recycle bin on your computer. 
  • You can also write a script that automatically sends a text message to users who signed up for your blog today.

What are the most popular scripting languages?

  • Python is popular because it’s easy to learn! It has an active and supportive community, and it’s a multi-purpose language that can build web sites, mobile apps, games, and can be used for AI. However, Python is an interpreted language so it can be slow and requires a lot of memory usage. 
  • Ruby is a powerful scripting language. Scripting with Ruby is a great way to become acquainted with Ruby techniques (like looping) before you dive into more complex Ruby-based frameworks.  
  • JavaScript is popular, but some developers prefer to use JavaScript scripting outside of the browser. 

Scripting 101: Client-Side vs Server-Side

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. 

Scripting On The Job

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.

Learning How to Write Scripts

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.

About The Author

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman is an accomplished writer and the Content Manager at Course Report, the leading platform for career changers who are exploring coding bootcamps. With a background in writing, teaching, and social media management, Jess plays a pivotal role in helping Course Report readers make informed decisions about their educational journey.

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