9 Scripting Languages You Need To Know

Scripting languages can bring new functions to applications and glue complex systems together. Here are nine that could hold the keys to your next project.
Visual Basic For Applications

When you need to order a computer around at the hardware level, nothing beats a good programming language. Sometimes, though, you just need to make something happen and you don't care how many layers come between your command and the computer's response. When that's the case, a scripting language can be your best friend.

Scripting languages aren't new. They've been around since the glory days of the mainframe. Even then, they made things happen by bossing other software around. It might have been the operating system, a job loader, or another application, but the result was the same -- a set of operations completed to produce the desired results.

The nine scripting languages here are most similar in their importance and familiarity. Each is likely to have special significance for a different group of IT professionals, the differences showing up in the systems used (and sometimes in the era when a professional learned his or her profession.)

For example, if you have distinct memories of keeping decks of JCL punched cards wrapped by rubber bands in your Samsonite briefcase, then you've just established the age during which you learned to code. (My briefcase, by the way, was the thinner, light-brown model, and I kept my JCL decks close to my green IBM flow-chart template. Get off my lawn.)

Scripting languages have proven their utility by sticking around. Javascript and PHP are heavily used today, and you'll be hard-pressed to find a working Unix admin who doesn't have a stash of Bash scripts at her or his disposal.

Let's take a look at these languages and the times when they might be useful -- if for nothing more than sparking nostalgic conversation.

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