Software engineers and IT professionals often get confused when it comes to learn which programming or scripting language is good for their career as a DevOps engineer? This has led several of our readers to ask “What are the best Programming or Scripting language for a DevOps engineer” and “Is Programming or Scripting knowledge is mandatory to learn DevOps?” So, let’s dig answers to all these questions.
After reading this article you will be able to;
- Understand scripting language
- Difference between Compiler and Interpreter
- Difference between Programming language and scripting language
- Programming or Scripting knowledge is required or not to learn DevOps
Machine language is the lowest language level of the programming language and is the only one which computers can understand. For us (humans) it is not possible to write a program in Machine language which we often say Binary Code 0,1. This is the reason we use high-level programming languages which in the end converted into Machine language to run on a computer or system.
But, the thing here is to understand “what is scripting language?” we must understand the difference between programming and scripting language.
They both are high-level languages and use to instruct a machine. Now the question here is, if both are used for the same purpose then why we have two different names.
As far as the language structure concern they both are the same, in fact, we can say all scripting languages are programming languages.
The major difference is scripting language does not require pre-compilation rather they are interpreted
So let’s try to understand what exactly is compilation and interpretation means.
Compiler takes the complete source file at once and converts it to the machine code with final executable which will be platform-dependent and can be run on the desired platform to produce desirable outputs. The interpreter also does the same thing to compile the high-level language to machine language, but it does it line by line at run time. Which means whenever it encounters the statement it converts the corresponding machine code which will be executed to produce output.
- Source code privacy
- Platform dependent
- Require extra compilation step
- It read and analyze the code only once
- Can work on cross-platform
- No source code privacy
- No extra compilation delay
- It read and analyze the code statements each time
We can understand the difference between Programming and Scripting Languages with these points:
- It used to create a standalone application which we can install anywhere based on the platform for which we have program it
- It uses compiler to covert high-level languages into machine language
- Examples:- C, C++, Java
- In programming languages whatever softwares we make, we use one particular language to create that application or software. Which means let’s suppose we have made complete software with “C” language than it means that software is completely based on “C” language only.
- It used to create a web application or similar like softwares.
- It uses interpreter to convert high-level language into machine language
- Examples:- JAVA Script, PHP, Python, BASH
- Here let’s suppose we have made a software in PHP then it’s possible to use HTML or JAVA which means we can use scripting languages with multiple programming languages
Is Programming or Scripting knowledge is required to learn DevOps?
In DevOps, we use so many tools to automate our tasks. Most of the DevOps tools are GUI based and some of the tools may be using scripting or commands to make it work. But programmers are going to write the codes and they will push it into the GIT or any similar tools. As a DevOps engineer, you need to create the CI/CD pipeline by using all the available tools in your infrastructure or in your work environment.
So, as a DevOps engineer, you don’t need to write any code. You will use multiple tools to make sure that codes are build appropriately and deployed in the target environment. Therefore, we can say, without programming knowledge you can fulfill your DevOps engineer role without any issues.
But, if you will have some understanding or knowledge of modifying the existing scripts or if you can write small-small programs then it is going to be really helpful in the long run. You don’t need to be a Coding master to switch your career in DevOps, even if you are non-programmer, you can go for it.
Having said that, to be a pro in DevOps one can learn different programming and scripting languages which are commonly used in DevOps methodology to drive automation. Here we are going to list out the top 10 scripting languages for a DevOps engineer.
Python is amongst the top scripting languages which is used for high level programming. It was first released in the year 1991 by Guido van Rossum. It is a great choice these days for beginners up to professionals. Python is used for web development, data science, creating software prototypes, and various other things. It is available under Python Software Foundation License. It supports Cross-platform.
- Easy to Read, Learn and Write
- As it’s simple language, it improve productivity
- Interpreted Language
- Dynamically Typed
- Free and Open-Source
- Vast Libraries Support
- Portability – write once and run it anywhere
BASH is short for AKA Bourne-again Shell and it is a superset of Shell scripting. It is basically a command language which is available in open source and written by Brian Fox in the year 1989. It is mainly used by software developers and system admins to automate most of the tasks. It can read scripts and the most commonly used Unix shell. Bash supports Linux, Windows and Mac OS.
- Easy to use
- To automate the repetitive conducted operations
- It saves time
- To run sequence of instructions as only one command
- Quick start, and interactive debugging.
- It can be implemented in any Unix-like operating-system without any modifications
3. Go language
Go scripting language belongs to the Internet giant Google. This scripting language is written by Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike and Ken Thompson and it was released in the year 2009. It supports Linux, macOS, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Windows, Plan 9, DragonFly BSD and Solaris operating systems. It is available in open source.
- Golang has a standard library
- Golang is well known for its memory management capabilities
- Golang comes with inbuilt powerful testing tools
- It based on functions which makes it simple, easy and fast to learn
- It is used for different platforms (Windows, Linux/Unix, BSD versions and mobile devices)
- Go lang has efficient concurrency, like C,C++, Java
Ruby is amongst one of the best programming language but it is also a scripting language which is written by Yukihiro Matsumoto in the year 1995. Ruby supports cross platforms and it is available under GPL and BSD license. It supports multiple programming paradigms, including functional, object-oriented, and imperative.
- Easy to learn and master
- There are so many libraries and frameworks available
- Can start learning Ruby on rails, and make web applications much faster and easily
- Ruby is open source and is freely available on the web, but it is subject to license
- Ruby is very much scalable and easily maintainable
Groovy can be used as a scripting language and it is also consider as a top scripting languages for DevOps professionals. It was designed by James Strachan and developed by Guillaume Laforge, Jochen Theodorou, Paul King and Cedric Champeau. It was first released in the year 2003 and available under Apache license. It supports Java platform.
- Static and dynamic typing
- Groovy is supported by wide range of frameworks
- Jenkins Pipeline uses the power of Groovy
- Support for unit testing
- It can easily integrate with your existing interface.
- Concise, brief, direct syntax
- Relatively short learning curve
- Easy to learn for Java developers
- Native support for regular expressions/syntax/associative arrays
PERL (Practical Extraction and Reporting Language) is a high-level, interpreted, dynamic programming and scripting language written by Larry Wall and first released in the year 1987. It was specially designed for text editing. But these days broadly used for various purposes which includes system administration, network programming, web development, etc. Perl is quite popular for extracting data and generating reports.
- Easy to learn Perl is extremely portable
- Provides supports for cross platform
- It is free and open Source
- It can embed in web servers and database servers
- Makes system administration task easy
- Perl takes the best features from other languages, like C, sed, awk, and sh etc.
- It can extract data and generate reports
7. Microsoft PowerShell
Microsoft powershell or windows powershell is belongs to Microsoft and an open-source (yes you read it correct – opensource) automation framework and scripting language. It provides a command-line shell and scripting language which is integrated with the .Net framework and it can be embedded with other applications. If you have application infrastructure with windows than powershell is must for you. This scripting language is designed for system admin.
- Easy to understand and use
- Automate systems repetitive tasks
- Countless possiblites of querying and reporting
- It is more extensible via cmdlets and plugins
- It supports .NET Objects and Forms
- It runs on single threads and hence it can invoke any .Net libraries
- Concept of background jobs
- Powershell is interactive
- Easy to learn compared to other popular languages
- Being client-side reduces the demand on the website server
- Gives the ability to create rich interfaces
Terraform is developed by Hashicorp and it an open-source tool for building, changing, and versioning infrastructure safely and efficiently, written in go programming language. Professionals use various tools to automate the provisioning of software. Terraform works on the same principle, infrastructure as code, but focusses on the automation of the infrastructure itself. It can provision any application written in any language to any infrastructure.
- Popular DevOps tool
- Super portability – one tool, one language for describing infrastructure of any cloud
- It uses a custom language known as HCL (HashiCorp Configuration Language).
- It was designed to compromise the human-readable and the machine-friendly languages.
Ansible is known as configuration management and application deployment tool but it can also be used to write scripts. It belongs to Red-Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and written by its community members. Ansible uses playbook to describe automation jobs, and it uses very simple language like YAML (It’s a human-readable data serialization language & is commonly used for configuration files, but could be used in many applications where data is being stored) which is very easy for humans to understand, read and write.
- Seamless deployment
- Easy automation
- Very helpful for system administrators
- Popular DevOps tool
Do you agree with this list? If not then feel free to respond in the comment box with your own take on the most essential scripting languages for DevOps professionals.
One more thing, I would like to add here, if you need help to learn all these scripting languages and DevOps culture than DevOpsSchool can help you with industry-standard training programs.