Chapter 1. What Is C?


Contributed By : Shehrevar Davierwala


  1. What Is C?

C is a programming language that allows a software engineer to efficiently communicate with a computer.
C is a highly flexible and adaptable language. Since its creation in 1970, it’s been used for a wide variety of programs including firmware for micro -controllers, operating systems, applications, and graphics programming.
C is one of the most most widely used languages in the world and is fairly stable. An improved C language called C++ has been invented, but it is still in development, and its definition is still being worked on.
C++, originally known as C with Classes, adds a number of new features to the C language, the most important of which is the class. Classes facilitate code reuse through object-oriented design (OOD).

2. Who developed C?

C(The name came about because it superseded the old programming language he was using: B.) 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.

3. C and Unix?

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

4. Know 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.

5.  Which is better, C or C++?

C++ does great things for you behind your back, such as automatically calling constructors and destructors for variables. This processing makes some types of programming easy, but it makes
static checking of programs difficult, and you need to be able to tell exactly what your program is doing if you are working on embedded control applications. So some people consider C++ the better
language because it does things automatically and C doesn’t. Other people consider C better for precisely the same reason.

C++ is a relatively new language that’s still changing. Much more C code exists than C++ code, and that C code will need to be maintained and upgraded. So C will be with us for a long time to

6. 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
  • languageilers
  • Assemblers
  •  Text Editors
  •  Print Spoolers
  •  Network Drivers
  • Modern Programs
  • Databases
  •  Language Interpreters
  •  Utilities

7. How C program works?

C programs are written in a high-level language using letters, numbers, and the other symbols you find on a computer keyboard.
Computers actually execute a very low-level language called machine code (a series of numbers). So, before a program level can be used, it must undergo several transformations.
Programs start out as an idea in a programmer’s head. He uses a text editor to write his thoughts into a file called a source file, containing source code. This file is transformed by the compiler into an object file. Next, a program called the linker takes the object file, combines it
with predefined routines from a standard library, and produces an executable program (a set of machine -language instructions). In the following sections, we’ll see how these various forms of the program work together to produce the final program.

Transformation of a high-level language into a program
Transformation of a high-level language into a program

Fortunately you don’t have to run the compiler, assembler, and linker individually. Most C compilers use “wrapper” programs that determine which tools need to be run and then run them.
Some programming systems go even further and provide the developer with an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). The IDE contains an editor, compiler, linker, project manager, debugger, and more in one convenient package. Both Borland and Microsoft
provide IDEs with their compilers.

Most UNIX systems use command-line compilers. There are a few IDE compilers available for UNIX, but they are rare. On the other hand, almost every compiler for MS-DOS/Windows contains an IDE.

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