C - Language Overview

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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 applications programs have been written in C. The 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 1970

  • The language was formalized in 1988 by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI).

  • The UNIX OS was totally written in C by 1973.

  • Today C is the most widely used and popular System Programming Language.

  • Most of the state-of-the-art softwares have been implemented using C.

  • Today's most popular Linux OS and RBDMS MySQL have been written in C.

Why to use C?

C was initially used for system development work, in particular 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 code written in assembly language. Some examples of the use of C might be:

  • Operating Systems

  • Language Compilers

  • Assemblers

  • Text Editors

  • Print Spoolers

  • Network Drivers

  • Modern Programs

  • Databases

  • Language Interpreters

  • Utilities

C Programs

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.



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