Every Computer language is designed for some specific purpose. For example, Fortran was designed for scientific and mathematical calculations, COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language) was designed for business applications. Similarly, C language was developed for programming in the operating system called UNIX. It was created by Dennis Richie in 1970’s. Actually, C was derived from a language called B which was written by Ken Thompson, hence the name C to indicate it is a successor of language B.
C is not a high-level language, instead, it is a mid-level language with the simplicity of high-level language and power of low-level language. As a result, programs written in C are very fast.
C is a small language with only 32 keywords (keywords are reserved words used by the language for doing specific tasks).
Features of C language
C is a compiled language
A compiler is a program which converts high-level language or mid-level language to machine language so that computer can execute the code.
C is very efficient language. The programs written in C are very fast. Since C was designed for programming UNIX operating system it was crucial that C program could run quickly with the limited amount of memory.
C programs are portable. It means that a program written in C can run on a wide variety of operating system with little or no modification at all.
One of the most powerful and flexible operating system was written using C. The C language is still used to create compilers and interpreters for languages like Python, Perl, PHP, BASIC etc.
Integration with UNIX
C closely ties with Unix and Linux operating system. Most UNIX and Linux system already comes bundled with C compiler called GCC. In fact, there are some tools which require the user to have good knowledge of C.
What kind of applications can be developed using C?
Anything you want. C language is used to create UNIX, Linux, Windows, Photoshop, Apache Web Server etc.
In the next lesson, we will learn how to install IDE to create and run C programs.