C is a middle-level programming language developed by Dennis Ritchie during the early 1970s while working at AT&T Bell Labs in the USA. The objective of its development was in the context of the re-design of the UNIX operating system to enable it to be used on multiple computers.
Earlier the language B was now used for improving the UNIX system. Being a high-level language, B allowed much faster production of code than in assembly language. Still, B suffered from drawbacks as it did not understand data-types and did not provide the use of “structures”.
These drawbacks became the driving force for Ritchie for development of a new programming language called C. He kept most of language B’s syntax and added data-types and many other required changes. Eventually, C was developed during 1971-73, containing both high-level functionality and the detailed features required to program an operating system. Hence, many of the UNIX components including UNIX kernel itself were eventually rewritten in C.
Benefits of C language
- As a middle-level language, C combines the features of both high-level and low-level languages. It can be used for low-level programming, such as scripting for drivers and kernels and it also supports functions of high-level programming languages, such as scripting for software applications etc.
- C is a structured programming language which allows a complex program to be broken into simpler programs called functions. It also allows free movement of data across these functions.
- Various features of C including direct access to machine level hardware APIs, the presence of C compilers, deterministic resource use and dynamic memory allocation make C language an optimum choice for scripting applications and drivers of embedded systems.
- C language is case-sensitive which means lowercase and uppercase letters are treated differently.
- C is highly portable and is used for scripting system applications which form a major part of Windows, UNIX, and Linux operating system.
- C is a general-purpose programming language and can efficiently work on enterprise applications, games, graphics, and applications requiring calculations, etc.
- C language has a rich library which provides a number of built-in functions. It also offers dynamic memory allocation.
- C implements algorithms and data structures swiftly, facilitating faster computations in programs. This has enabled the use of C in applications requiring higher degrees of calculations like MATLAB and Mathematica.
Riding on these advantages, C became dominant and spread quickly beyond Bell Labs replacing many well-known languages of that time, such as ALGOL, B, PL/I, FORTRAN, etc. C language has become available on a very wide range of platforms, from embedded microcontrollers to supercomputers.
This article is contributed by Shubham Bansal. If you like GeeksforGeeks and would like to contribute, you can also write an article using contribute.geeksforgeeks.org or mail your article to firstname.lastname@example.org. See your article appearing on the GeeksforGeeks main page and help other Geeks.
Attention reader! Don’t stop learning now. Get hold of all the important DSA concepts with the DSA Self Paced Course at a student-friendly price and become industry ready.