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C Language - Overview

C is a programming language developed at AT&T's Bells Laboratories of USA by a system programmer named Dennis Ritchie in 1972. Because of its ease of use and it's strength, C began to replace familiar languages of that time like PL/I, ALGOL etc.

All computer programming languages can be divided into two categories:

  • Problem Oriented Languages or High Level Languages - These languages are developed to give better performing efficiency and faster Program Development. Examples are FORTRAN, BASIC, PASCAL etc.
  • Machine Oriented Languages or Low Level Languages - These languages are developed to give better machine efficiency and faster Program Execution. Examples are Assembly language and Machine language.

C stands in between these two categories.That is why it is called as Middle Level Language. C performs like any other High-level language even overpowering others by closely intact with the hardware components of the computer.

Stages in C Evolution

C evolved from several earlier versions like the ones mentioned below:

Year Language Developed By
1960 ALGOL International Committee
1963 CPL Cambridge University
1967 BCPL Martin Richards at Cambridge University
1970 B Ken, Thompson at AT&T
1972 C Dennis Ritchie at AT&T

C originally developed to be used on UNIX systems, but C is widely used across many platforms mainly for writing system programming.

In C, the fundamental data objects are characters, integers and floating points.In addition, it also provides derived data types using arrays, pointers, structures, unions and functions. C provides flow control mechanisms like looping and decision making.

Other Versions of C:

Currently there are three main versions of C available in the market.

  • UNIX C
  • Microsoft's Quick C
  • Borland's Turbo C