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A scripting language or script language is a programming language that supports scripts, programs written for a special run-time environment that can interpret (rather than compile) and automate the execution of tasks that could alternatively be executed one-by-one by a human operator. Environments that can be automated through scripting include software applications, web pages within a web browser, the shells of operating systems (OS), and embedded systems. A scripting language can be viewed as a domain-specific language for a particular environment; in the case of scripting an application, this is also known as an extension language. Scripting languages are also sometimes referred to as very high-level programming languages, as they operate at a high level of abstraction, or as control languages, particularly for job control languages on mainframes.
The term “scripting language” is also used loosely to refer to dynamic high-level general-purpose language, such as Perl,Tcl, and Python, with the term “script” often used for small programs (up to a few thousand lines of code) in such languages, or in domain-specific languages such as the text-processing languages sed and AWK. Some of these languages were originally developed for use within a particular environment, and later developed into portable domain-specific or general-purpose languages. Conversely, many general-purpose languages have dialects that are used as scripting languages. This article discusses scripting languages in the narrow sense of languages for a specific environment; dynamic, general-purpose, and high-level languages are discussed at those articles.
The spectrum of scripting languages ranges from very small and highly domain-specific languages to general-purpose programming languages used for scripting. Standard examples of scripting languages for specific environments include: Bash, for the Unix or Unix-like operating systems; ECMAScript (JavaScript), for web browsers; and Visual Basic for Applications, for Microsoft Office applications. Lua is a language designed and widely used as an extension language. Python is a general-purpose language that is also commonly used as an extension language, while ECMAScript is still primarily a scripting language for web browsers, but is also used as a general-purpose language. The Emacs Lisp dialect of Lisp (for the Emacs editor) and the Visual Basic for Applications dialect of Visual Basic are examples of scripting language dialects of general-purpose languages. Some game systems, notably the Trainz franchise of Railroad simulators have been extensively extended in functionality by scripting extensions.

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