The C programming language was perhaps the most influential development in coding history. It is still the language most commonly used around the wider computing industry.


The C programming language was perhaps the most influential development in coding history. It is still the language most commonly used around the wider computing industry.

First developed in the late 1960s by AT&T employee, Dennis Ritchie, the C language answered the shortcomings of a b type programming language that had proven unsuccessful in processing data sets. These sets has been put to the test in early operating systems ritchie and colleagues had been trialling, with the aim of developing a large computer for communal use.

Eventually, Ritchie and another colleague, Brian Kernighan, wrote their work up into a seminal book simply entitled ‘the C programming language’. the example program from the book encouraged early developers to use test messages that simply read ‘hello, world’, thus coining an iconic phrase used for generations to come.

What is C programming?

C programming allows computer users to formulate instructions that a computer can then carry out. Seen as a user-friendly language that allows total control for the programmer, the C language is used widely across multiple platforms. The language is run through a C compiler that turns the script from something humans can interpret into a machine-literate form: the microsoft visual compiler is an example of a popular, commercial application that is widely used.

What are the applications of C programming?

Because of its user-friendly nature and adapability, C programming is seen across computing devices of all sizes. Smartphones and tablets are examples of modern-day devices that use C programming, most notably because the scalability and simplicity of the language allow it to be used to create programmes that don’t take up too much memory.

The language is also deployed in creating embedded programming software, in the firmware of industrial and communications tools, and as an intrinsic part of verification software so integral to a wide range of hardware products.

The changing face of ‘C’ to ‘C++’

In 1983, a Bell Labs employee named, Bjarne Stroustrup, took the C language onto a new level: C++. This incarnation of the C programming script is widely considered the most popular in the language ever written. Applications such as ms office, adobe pdf reader and firefox are all C++ programmes.

Stroustrup simply decided to adapt and move the C language on in order to make it more flexible, and specifically so he could create something that would work better with software. contributing to the long success of C++ has been its openness as a language, offering scalability to programmers and coders. This flexibility means the language has been put to use across many different platforms.

One of the limitations of the original C language was that it didn’t allow for variables when coding, meaning that a programmer couldn’t use encapsulation or name spacing to create a slightly different take on a certain instruction. C++ addressed that issue, thus giving programmers much greater scope for interpretation and expansion.

The evolution to C#

C# was born in 2000, and is the code that underlies many of the most popular computer games, operating systems and general utilities in use today. it is envisaged to work alongside C++ rather than to supplant it, and forms the backbone of the framework.

The C# is understood as an extremely flexible proposition. For example, it allows programmers to undertake software engineering tasks more readily than previous incarnations, as C# provides a garbage collection facility so that developers can dump unwanted code that would otherwise clog up a system. Additionally C# applications are thus light on memory consumption as they are considered to be a cleaner written end-product that also doesn’t drain processing power.

Importantly, C# is a true challenger to java script in the online wars between programming languages! Java has come to pre-dominate in programming terms because of its utility in web browser design, helping facilitate the writing of software applications that have revolutionised the user experience on the web.

Now many observers point to the applicability of C# across the .net framework, and its similiarities in matching and bettering the performance of java as indications that the C programming language will go from strength to strength.