Introduction to C Language

Summary: this tutorial helps you get started with C language, its history, key features, and applications.

What is C language

By definition, C is a general-purpose and procedural programming language.

  • General-purpose – it means C language is designed for developing software that applies in a wide range of application domains.
  • Procedural – it means a C program is a set of functions. Each function performs a specific task. In the C program, functions are called in sequence to make the program works as designed.

Who invented C language

RichieDennis MacAlistair Ritchie was known as the father of C language. Together with his colleague, Ken Thompson, they developed the UNIX operating system. Ritchie was a computer scientist who helped shape the digital era.

Dennis MacAlistair Ritche developed C language in the 1970s at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey for developing the UNIX operating system.

Applications of C

During 1980s, C language was really a popular language for developing software designed specifically for personal computers with UNIX systems. Since then it rapidly spread to mainframe. With C language, programmers could develop programs that are very compact and efficient; C programs are also easy to modify and adapt to new computer models. This is the reason why C was a preferred language for developing word processing programs, databases, spreadsheets and other software products.

Today you can easily find programs written in C in many embedded systems. C is used to program software for many microprocessors found in cameras, automobile, phone and other modern smart devices.

C language key features

The main key features of C language are listed as follows:

  • Capable of operating very closed to the machine. In C you can manipulate data at a very low-level such as direct memory address.
  • Efficiency. C programs are smaller and run faster than programs written in other languages such as C++, Java or C#.
  • Portable source code. If you have a compiler for C in a specific platform, C program will operate properly on that platform. You can find compilers for almost platforms. In addition, the design of C language makes it easy to port existing programs to a new platform.

Recently many new languages have been invented such as C++, Java, C#, etc. However, C language is still a good choice among developers for system programming, especially for embedded software. The efficiency of C also allows programmers to develop robust and powerful software including database management systems and graphics software.

C related languages

C++ was the first language that added object-oriented enhancements to C language, and later on, it became a standard. C++ is also a very popular language that many C programmers choose to work with after C.

AppleĀ® developed Objective-C that also adds object-oriented features on top of C for developing applications on OS X for MacOS and iOS for iPhone, iPad and other Apple’s products. The syntax of Objective-C, which is not dealing with object-oriented operations, is identical to C.

Is learning C difficult?

The answer is NO. C language is not difficult to learn at all. And once you master C language, you can write so many system software

We hope that you can get the most out of our C tutorials to master C by yourself with ease and fun. Happy programming!

Let’s starts writing the first C program.