C Tutorial

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What is C?

C is a popular general purpose programming language. It has been closely associated with the UNIX system where is was developed. The language, however, is not tied to any one operating system or machine; and although it has been called a system programming language because it is useful for writing compilers and operating systems.

C programs are efficient, fast and highly portable, that is, C programs written in one computer canbe run on another with little or no modification.

C History

Many of the important ideas of C stem from the language BCPL, developed by Martin Richards.

The influence of BCPL on C proceeded indirectly through the language B, which was written by Ken Thompson in 1970 for the first UNIX system on the DEC PDP-7.

C has been designed and developed by Dennis Ritchie at Bell Laboratories in 1972.

Why C?

C language is a middle-level computer language. It does not mean that C is not powerful and robust for writing programs like in Pascal and Fortran. It is not troublesome like assembly-level language.

C language is a structured language. It allows variety of programs in small modules for easy debugging, testing and maintenance.

Applications of C

C is well suited for writing both application software and system software. The following is the list of few examples of where C programming is used.

  • Linux kernel is written in C and assembly language.
  • Unix operating System is written in C and assembly language.
  • MATLAB is written in C/C++ and Java.
  • Python interpreter is written in C.


To learn C, you don't need to have any prior programming experience.

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