How Do You Write a Scripting Language?


Scott Campbell

Writing a scripting language can seem like a daunting task, but with the right approach and knowledge, you can create your own powerful and versatile language. In this tutorial, we will explore the steps involved in writing a scripting language from scratch.

Understanding Scripting Languages

A scripting language is a programming language that is used for creating scripts or small programs. These languages are often interpreted rather than compiled and are mainly used for automating tasks or extending the functionality of existing software.

Steps to Create a Scripting Language

To write your own scripting language, you need to follow these steps:

Step 1: Define the Syntax

Bold text: The first step in creating any programming language is defining its syntax. Syntax refers to the set of rules that determine how statements and expressions are written in the language. Decide on the keywords, operators, and punctuation marks your scripting language will use.

Step 2: Design the Lexical Analyzer

Underlined text: The lexical analyzer is responsible for breaking down the source code into tokens. Tokens are small units of meaningful information such as keywords, identifiers, numbers, or symbols. Designing an efficient lexical analyzer is crucial for accurate parsing of code.

Step 3: Implement the Parser

The parser takes the tokens generated by the lexical analyzer and builds an abstract syntax tree (AST). The AST represents the structure of the program and helps in understanding its semantics. It validates whether the code follows the defined grammar rules.

Step 4: Write an Interpreter or Compiler

To execute or run scripts written in your scripting language, you need an interpreter or a compiler. An interpreter directly executes the code, while a compiler translates the code into machine-readable instructions. Choose the approach that best suits your requirements.

Step 5: Add Built-in Functions and Libraries

To make your scripting language more useful, you can provide built-in functions or libraries. These pre-defined functions and libraries can offer functionalities such as file operations, string manipulation, mathematical operations, and more.


In summary, writing a scripting language involves defining the syntax, designing a lexical analyzer, implementing a parser, writing an interpreter or compiler, and adding built-in functions or libraries. It requires a good understanding of language design principles and programming concepts. With practice and experimentation, you can create your own powerful scripting language tailored to your specific needs.

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