C language was created for programming in the operating system called UNIX. It was created by Dennis Richie in 1970s. Actually, C was derived from a language called B which was written by Ken Thompson, hence the name C to indicate that 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). Consequently, it can be learned easily.
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 a very efficient language. The programs written in C are very fast. Since C was designed for programming UNIX operating system it was crucial that the 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 (GNU Compiler Collection). 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.
Popular database applications like MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite are also written in C.
There are graphics libraries like OpenGL, which is used for rendering 2D and 3D vector graphics is also written in C.
C is also used to create an extremely popular version control system called Git.
Cross-platform widget toolkits like GTK and wxWidgets are also created using C.
In the next lesson, we will learn how to install IDE to create and run C programs.
Quiz - Intro to C Programming
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