What’s the Difference Between Server and Client Side Scripting in ServiceNow?


Heather Bennett

What’s the Difference Between Server and Client Side Scripting in ServiceNow?

ServiceNow is a powerful platform that allows you to automate and streamline various business processes. One of the key features of ServiceNow is its scripting capabilities, which enable you to customize the platform according to your specific requirements.

When it comes to scripting in ServiceNow, there are two main types: server-side scripting and client-side scripting. Understanding the difference between these two is crucial for developing robust and efficient applications on the platform.

Server-Side Scripting

Server-side scripting refers to scripts that run on the server rather than in the user’s browser. These scripts are executed on the server when a particular action or event occurs, such as when a record is saved or when a form is loaded.

Server-side scripts in ServiceNow are written in JavaScript and are primarily used for server-side processing, data manipulation, and performing business logic.

A common use case for server-side scripting is creating business rules. Business rules allow you to define conditions and actions that should be performed when those conditions are met.

For example, you can create a business rule that automatically assigns an incident to a specific group based on certain criteria.

Server-side scripts have direct access to ServiceNow’s database and APIs, making them ideal for performing complex operations such as querying data from multiple tables or updating records across different modules. However, since these scripts run on the server, they may introduce additional load on the system if not optimized properly.

Client-Side Scripting

On the other hand, client-side scripting refers to scripts that run within the user’s browser. These scripts are typically executed in response to user actions, such as clicking a button or submitting a form.

Client-side scripts in ServiceNow are also written in JavaScript and are primarily used for enhancing the user interface and providing interactivity.

One of the most common use cases for client-side scripting is form validation. You can use client-side scripts to validate user input before submitting a form, ensuring that the data entered meets specific criteria.

For example, you can validate that a phone number is entered in the correct format or that certain fields are filled out before allowing the form to be submitted.

Client-side scripts have limited access to ServiceNow’s database and APIs since they run within the user’s browser. However, they can still interact with server-side scripts by making AJAX calls to retrieve or update data asynchronously.

This allows you to create dynamic and responsive user interfaces without needing to reload the entire page.

Choosing Between Server-Side and Client-Side Scripting

When deciding whether to use server-side or client-side scripting in ServiceNow, it’s essential to consider the specific requirements of your application. Server-side scripting is suitable for complex business logic and data manipulation, while client-side scripting is ideal for enhancing the user experience and providing real-time interactivity.

In some cases, you may need to use a combination of both server-side and client-side scripting to achieve your desired functionality. For example, you can perform initial data processing on the server using server-side scripts and then update the user interface dynamically using client-side scripts.


In summary, server-side scripting and client-side scripting play different roles in ServiceNow development. Server-side scripts are executed on the server and are used for server-side processing, while client-side scripts run within the user’s browser and enhance the user interface.

Understanding when and how to use each type of script will help you build powerful applications on the ServiceNow platform.

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