C Programming

C is a powerful general-purpose programming language. It can be used for a wide range of applications from Operating systems like Windows and iOS to software that is used to create 3D movies.

To get started with C programming, visit our C Tutorials.

Features of C Programming

A procedural language

C is a procedural language. This means instructions in the C program are executed step by step.

If you are interested to know how procedural language is different from other forms of programming language like object-oriented, visit differences between procedural and object-oriented languages.

C programs are fast

C programming allows programmers to directly manipulate computer hardware. This is one of the reasons why C programming is faster in processing than other new languages like Java, Python, etc.

Standard C programs are portable

"Write once, compile everywhere". This means we can write a standard C program in one system (e.g. Windows) and compile it in another system (e.g. Mac OS) without any change.

Use of Modularity

C provides various standard libraries. Standard libraries are a section of C code that helps to perform different tasks.

For example, suppose you need to display something on the screen, you can include stdio.h library that allows you to use printf() function.

Statically typed language

C is a statically types language. This means the type of a variable is checked during the compile time but not in the run-time. Statically typed languages are faster than dynamically typed language in general.

General-purpose language

Despite being old, C is used in a variety of applications. For example,

  • Embedded Systems
  • Operating System - Windows, Linux, OSX, Android, iOS
  • Databases - PostgreSQL, Oracle, MySQL, MS SQL Server
  • Other Uses - Network drivers, Compilers, Print spoolers

Why should you learn C programming?

If you don't know C, you don't know what you are doing as a programmer. Sure, your application works fine and all. But, if you can't say why while (*s++ = *p++); copies a string, you're programming on a superstition. (Joel Spolsky's words, not mine).

1. You will understand how a computer works

If you know C, you will not only know how your program works but, you will be able to create a mental model of how a computer works (including memory management and allocation).

2. C is the lingua franca of programming

Almost all high-level programming languages like Java, Python, Javascript, etc can interface with C programming. Doesn't matter if the person you are talking with doesn't know C, you can still convey your programming ideas in a way they can understand.

3. Opportunity to work on open source projects

If you know C, you can contribute to large open-source projects that impact hundreds of millions of people. Some of the larger open source projects where C programming is used are Linux, Kernel, Interpreter, Python, SQLite Database, etc.

4. You will find it much easier to learn other programming languages

A lot of popular programming languages are based on C (and C++, considered superset of C programming with OOP features). Hence, if you know C and C++, you will not have any problem switching to another language.

And also, languages like Java and C# are related to C and C++. And, the syntax of Javascript and PHP is similar to C.

C Programming Best Practice

Best practices are informal rules which can improve quality and decrease the development time of the software.

Some of the practices mentioned here are valid for all programming languages. However, some are valid only for C programming.

Be consistent with the formatting

The number of spaces you use in the program doesn't matter in C. However, you shouldn't use a different number of spaces at different places. Also, proper spacing makes the code easier to understand.

Use one statement per line

What's wrong with the following code?

int count; float squareRoot = 10.0; printf("Square root = %f", squareRoot);

Actually, the code is perfectly valid. But, wouldn't this be better:

int count;
float squareRoot = 10.0;
printf("Square root = %f", squareRoot);

The goal here is to write code that your fellow programmers can understand.

Naming Convention and Consistency

Give a proper name to variables and functions and be consistent with it. For example,

int a, b:

Here, a and b are two variables. But, it doesn't specify what they represent. However, if you choose names like:

int counter, power;

This will be better to understand.

Start Habit of Using Comments

Comments are part of codes that the compiler ignores. They can be used to explain what you are trying to achieve in your program. This helps fellow programmers to understand the code.

Final Words

We at Programiz think C is a terrific language to learn.

For beginners, it helps to understand the working of programs and computers in general. And, for professionals, it will certainly help you brush up on programming basics.

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