Scripting Languages


To provide students with an understanding of the nature and role of scripting languages.

To introduce students to some popular scripting languages and their applications.

To enable students to write simple scripts using these languages for a variety of applications.


  • Overview: The nature of scripting languages; scripting vs programming; scripting languages (1 lecture) 
  • Perl: Elements of the language, regular expressions, text processing (5 lectures)
  • PHP: Elements of the language, integration with HTML, integration with databases (5 lectures)
  • JavaScript: Elements of the language, client-side web scripting, the Document Object Model (5 lectures)

Recommended Texts

Core Reading:

  • R. Nixon: Learning PHP, MySQL, and JavaScript. O''Reilly (latest edition).
  • R. L. Schwartz, T. Phoenix, and B. D. Foy: Learning Perl. O''Reilly (latest edition).
Further Reading:
  • M. David: HTML5: designing rich Internet applications. Focal Press (latest edition).
  • N. C. Zakas: Professional JavaScript for Web Developers. Wiley (latest edition).

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the module the students should be able to

compare and contrast languages such as JavaScript, Perl and PHP with other programming languages;

produce an outline design for applications written using a scripting language;

rapidly develop simple applications, both computer and web-based, using an appropriate scripting language.

Learning Strategy

Formal Lectures: In a typical week, students will be expected to attend 2 hours of formal lectures per week over 8 weeks. Formal lectures will be used to introduce students to the concepts and methods covered by the module.

Practicals: Students will be expected to attend one hour of computer lab practicals per week over 7 weeks. Computer lab practicals are intended to allow students to undertake practical exercises with the possibility of immediate feedback. The lab exercises will focus on the design and implementation of applications that exploit and utilise the approaches discussed in the lectures.

Private study: In a typical week students will be expected to devote about 4 to 5 hours of unsupervised time to private study over a period of 12 weeks. Private study will provide time for reflection and consideration of lecture material, background reading and completion of the assessment tasks.

The delivery of material will be through a combination of lectures and lab classes.