WHAT YOU WILL LEARN IN THIS CHAPTER:
What a scripting language is, and how it differs from languages such as Java and Objective-C
The basic properties of each of the scripting languages, and how each language looks
Where you can learn more about the various scripting languages
With its Unix heritage, Mac OS X comes laden with little surprises that are not traditionally of the Mac but now have a home on the platform. Scripting languages are a good example. Before Mac OS X the support for scripting was limited, aside from Apple's own solution — AppleScript. Now you can run any of the scripting languages found commonly on other Unix platforms and Linux directly from your Mac and not have to sacrifice anything. There are even some advantages to using Mac OS X with these languages, such as the Scripting Bridge, which allows you to write great-looking Cocoa apps in most of the popular scripting languages.
This chapter provides an introduction to scripting in general and an overview of the most important scripting languages on Mac OS X — from the Bash Shell to Python and Ruby. Because it would be impossible to cover all scripting languages in one short chapter, a selection of the most important scripting languages has been made. Each of the languages ships with the Mac OS X system, so you can start using them straight out of the box.