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This is the index of the subset of the Softpanorama site intended to simplify access to scripting related pages providing a "slice" of the whole site. The main purpose of the page to follow the "rise of scripting," as predicted in the famous John Ousterhout article Scripting: Higher Level Programming for the 21st Century in IEEE COMPUTER (1998):
...Scripting languages such as Perl and Tcl represent a very different style of programming than system programming languages such as C or Java. Scripting languages are designed for "gluing" applications; they use typeless approaches to achieve a higher level of programming and more rapid application development than system programming languages. Increases in computer speed and changes in the application mix are making scripting languages more and more important for applications of the future.
...Scripting languages and system programming languages are complementary, and most major computing platforms since the 1960's have provided both kinds of languages. The languages are typically used together in component frameworks, where components are created with system programming languages and glued together with scripting languages. However, several recent trends, such as faster machines, better scripting languages, the increasing importance of graphical user interfaces and component architectures, and the growth of the Internet, have greatly increased the applicability of scripting languages. These trends will continue over the next decade, with more and more new applications written entirely in scripting languages and system programming languages used primarily for creating components.
The site tries to give scripting languages proper emphasis and promotes scripting languages as an alternative to mainstream reliance on "Java as a new Cobol". Java is "one step forward, two steps back" type of language. Despite tremendous ecosystem it does not represent state of the art as the language for applications development. Please read my introduction to the topic that was recently converted into the article: A Slightly Skeptical View on Scripting Languages.
My e-book Portraits of Open Source Pioneers contains several chapters on scripting that expand on this topic.
While most material is related to shell and Perl, it tries to be neutral toward different scripting languages. I consider none of them perfect and recommend to use several as the fate of any single scripting language can quickly change, if the leading developer abandons the project or became seriously ill. Perl 6 saga is a relevant warning.
Different scripting languages provide different level of integration with base OS API (for example, Unix or Windows). For example Iron Python compiles into .Net and provides pretty high level of integration with Windows. The same is true about Perl and Unix: almost all Unix system calls are available directly from Perl. Moreover Perl integrates most of Unix API in a very natural way, making it perfect replacement of shell for coding complex scripts. It also have a good debugger. The latter is weak point of shells like bash and ksh93.
Unix proved that treating everything like a file is a powerful software development paradigm. See my review of the A Quarter Century of UNIX. In a similar way scripting languages proved that "everything is a string" is also an extremely powerful programming paradigm.
|Unix proved that treating everything like a file is a powerful software development paradigm. In a similar way scripting languages proved that "everything is a string" is also extremely powerful programming paradigm.|
There are also several additional pages devoted to scripting in several applications.
My old Perl lecture were converted to a eBook Nikolai Bezroukov. Introduction to Perl for Unix System Administrators. some of them are already published:
1.1 Short history of Perl
1.2. The Place of Perl among other scripting languages; good and bad things about Perl
1.3. Notes on Perl hype
1.4. Perl Programming Environment
1.5 Recommended Reading
2.1. Hello World in Perl
2.2. Overview of Perl Lexical Structure, Syntax and Operators
2.3. Perl Variables
2.4. Basic Control Structures
2.5. Typical errors and pitfalls
3.1. String operations
3.2 Numeric values and arithmetic operators
3.3. Operations on Arrays
3.4. Operations on Hashes
3.5. Typical errors
The reader must understand that the treatment of the scripting languages in press, and especially academic press is far from being fair: entrenched academic interests often promote old or commercially supported paradigms until they retire, so change of paradigm often is possible only with the change of generations.
And people tend to live longer those days... Please also be aware that even respectable academic magazines like Communications of ACM and IEEE Software often promote "Cargo cult software engineering" like Capability Maturity (CMM) model.
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Last modified: June, 27, 2020