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What is the C Programming language ?

Posted in C Programming

C language is a general-purpose, procedural programming language. In 1972, Dennis Ritchie designed and developed the C language at Bell Telephone Laboratories for the purpose of porting and developing the UNIX operating system.

Students use C to learn programming, but its role goes far beyond that. It is not only an academic language. It is not the simplest language because C is a very low-level programming language.

Today, C is widely used in embedded devices and drives the majority of Internet servers built with Linux. The Linux kernel is written in C, which also means that C drives the kernel of all Android devices. It can be said that at this moment, a large part of the world is running on C code, which is amazing.

C brought an easy-to-implement language, and its compiler could be easily ported to different machines.

  • C is a compiled language, like Go, Java, Swift, or Rust. Other popular languages, such as Python, Ruby, or JavaScript, are interpreted languages. The difference between compiled languages and interpreted languages is constant: compiled languages generate binary files that can be directly executed and distributed.
  • C does not support garbage collection, which means we must manage memory ourselves. Managing memory is a complex task that requires extreme care to prevent defects, but C has become the ideal language for embedded device programming, such as Arduino.
  • C does not hide the complexity and capabilities of the lower-level machine. Once you know what you can do, you can have tremendous power.
  • C programming is considered the foundation of other programming languages, which is why it is called the mother tongue.
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C language can be defined in the following ways:

  •  The foundation of all modern programming languages
  • System programming language
  • Procedural programming language
  • Structured programming language
  • Intermediate programming language.

 The Foundation of All Modern Programming Languages

The most compilers, JVMs, kernels, and more are written in C, and most programming languages follow C syntax, such as C++, Java, and C#. It provides core concepts such as arrays, strings, functions, and file handling, which are used in many languages such as C++, Java, and C#.

System programming language

System programming languages are used to create system software. C language is a system programming language because it can be used for low-level programming (such as drivers and kernels). It is commonly used for creating hardware devices, operating systems, drivers, kernels, etc.

For example, the Linux kernel is written in C. At its inception, C was considered a high-level language because it could be ported across different machines.

It cannot be used for internet programming such as Java, .Net, PHP.

Procedural programming language

procedural language Procedures are also called functions, methods, routines, subroutines, etc. Procedural languages specify a series of steps for the program to solve a problem.

Program languages break down programs into functions, data structures, etc.

C is a procedural language.  In C language, variables and function prototypes must be declared before use.

Structured programming language

Structured programming language is a subset of procedural language. Structure refers to breaking down the program into multiple parts or blocks for easier understanding.

In C language, we use functions to break down the program into multiple parts. It makes the program easier to understand and modify.

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Intermediate programming language

C is considered an intermediate language because it supports both low-level and high-level language features. C language programs are translated into assembly code. It supports pointer arithmetic (low-level feature), but it is machine-independent (high-level feature).

Low-level languages are specific to one machine, i.e., machine-dependent. It depends on the machine and runs faster, but it is not easy to understand.

High-level languages are not specific to one machine, i.e., machine-independent. It is easy to understand.

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