C Language - Overview
C is a general-purpose, high-level language that was originally developed by Dennis M. Ritchie to develop the UNIX operating system at Bell Labs. C was originally first implemented on the DEC PDP-11 computer in 1972.
In 1978, Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie produced the first publicly available description of C, now known as the K&R standard.
The UNIX operating system, the C compiler, and essentially all UNIX application programs have been written in C. C has now become a widely used professional language for various reasons −
- Easy to learn
- Structured language
- It produces efficient programs
- It can handle low-level activities
- It can be compiled on a variety of computer platforms
Facts about C
- C was invented to write an operating system called UNIX.
- C is a successor of B language which was introduced around the early 1970s.
- The language was formalized in 1988 by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI).
- The UNIX OS was totally written in C.
- Today C is the most widely used and popular System Programming Language.
- Most of the state-of-the-art software have been implemented using C.
- Today's most popular Linux OS and RDBMS MySQL have been written in C.
Why use C?
C was initially used for system development work, particularly the programs that make-up the operating system. C was adopted as a system development language because it produces code that runs nearly as fast as the code written in assembly language. Some examples of the use of C might be −
- Operating Systems
- Language Compilers
- Text Editors
- Print Spoolers
- Network Drivers
- Modern Programs
- Language Interpreters
A C program can vary from 3 lines to millions of lines and it should be written into one or more text files with extension ".c"; for example, hello.c. You can use "vi", "vim" or any other text editor to write your C program into a file.
This tutorial assumes that you know how to edit a text file and how to write source code inside a program file.