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.