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What Are Open Source Scripts?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 30 October 2016
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A computer script is like a computer program but, instead of being read by a computer’s processor, it is read by another program. These are usually for web-based programs or websites, but also can be used in other software. Open source scripts are commonly seen online, especially on websites with free computer scripts. Being open source means the script can be modified, allowing the user to customize, delete or add functions to the original script.

Scripts and open source scripts are exactly the same in their functionality: They are made to complete one or several functions and processes. For example, an image gallery script, regardless of whether it is open source, will create an image gallery to which the user can add — or delete — images. Both of these scripts are processed the same, as well. They are processed from a running program, rather than being processed from the computer’s processor, which makes them easier to make but slower than functions that use the processor.

These scripts are most often seen on websites, but also can be used in programs. When used with websites, they add new functions to the website that would otherwise be impossible to duplicate. If paired with a program that allows scripts, this can add new functions or can program a macro into the software, telling it to perform several different functions at once.

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Open source scripts all come with an open source license. When something is open source, this means the source code — or the code used to create the script — is laid bare for the downloader to look at and manipulate. Closed scripts, which are usually sold and not free like most open source scripts, do not allow this manipulation and make it very difficult or impossible for users to change the code.

By making the source code bare and open, users are able to work on a script to tailor it to his or her exact needs. For example, if there is a script that creates a blog but the user wants to change how the blog displays posts, then the user goes into the source code and changes it around. The source code should only be changed if the user knows the programming language or has specific instructions, because changing the source code can accidentally destroy the script.

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