A fundamental change is occurring in the way people write computer programs, away from system programming languages such as C or C++ to scripting languages such as Perl or Tcl. Although many people are participating in the change, few realize that the change is occurring and even fewer know why it is happening. This article explains why scripting languages will handle many of the programming tasks in the next century better than system programming languages. System programming languages were designed for building data structures and algorithms from scratch, starting from the most primitive computer elements. Scripting languages are designed for gluing: They assume the existence of a set of powerful components and are intended primarily for connecting components. System programming languages are strongly typed to help manage complexity, while scripting languages are typeless to simplify connections among components and provide rapid application development. Scripting languages and system programming languages are complementary, and are typically used together in component frameworks. However, several recent trends have greatly expanded 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.



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