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Static Typing

Jenna Phipps
Last Updated May 24, 2021 8:04 am

Static typing in programming requires data types to be defined before the program is compiled. A programmer must tell the programming language how the data types behave and interact before the program can run. Statically typed languages are very structured and often have strong typing, which means strict management of code for preventing or fixing errors.

Compilation is the process by which a compiler, often a piece of software, reads and translates the code so that the computer can use it. Statically typed languages are slower while compiling, because checking for both consistency and errors takes time. But that additional compilation time means fewer slowdowns due to errors once the program is running.

Difference between static typing and dynamic typing

As previously mentioned, statically typed languages require variable data types to be clearly defined before the program can run. If a programmer later writes a data type into the code incorrectly, the program won’t run correctly until the error is fixed.

Dynamic typing allows a program script to be compiled even if the data types have errors or inconsistencies. Dynamically typed programming languages don’t flag those issues until run time. Dynamically typed languages are often faster to write.

Advantages and disadvantages of static typing

For writing large programs that need clearly defined data types, static typing is often a good choice. The structure and rules of static typing can help design a program that is consistent and that won’t produce idiosyncrasies in data types and variables.

Statically typed programming languages are not often very expressive. Expressivity in programming is the ability of a language to convey a greater variety of concepts or functions. Expressive programming is often more intuitive: for example, a program might interpret human intention by accepting a piece of code that makes sense to a human reader, even if it doesn’t perfectly conform to all the program’s rules. Because static typing is so structured and strict, it doesn’t leave much room for expression or flexibility.

 

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Static Typing vs. Dynamic Typing