Brief History of C

  •  The C programming language is a structure oriented programming language, developed at Bell Laboratories in 1972 by Dennis Ritchie.
  • C programming language features were derived from an earlier language called “B” (Basic Combined Programming Language – BCPL)
  • C language was invented for implementing UNIX operating system.
  • In 1978, Dennis Ritchie and Brian Kernighan published the first edition “The C Programming Language” and is commonly known as K&R C.
  • In 1983, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) established a committee to provide a modern, comprehensive definition of C. The resulting definition, the ANSI standard, or “ANSI C”, was completed late 1988.
  • Many of C’s ideas & principles were derived from the earlier language B, thereby naming this new language “C”.


  1. It is reliable, simple and easy to use.
  2. C is a small, block-structured programming language.
  3. C is a portable language, which means that C programs written on one system can be run on other systems with little or no modification.
  4. C has one of the largest assortments of operators, such as those used for calculations and data comparisons.
  5. Although the programmer has more freedom with data storage, the languages do not check data type accuracy for the programmer.


  1. By the early 1980s, C was already a dominant language in the minicomputer world of Unix systems. Since then, it has spread to personal computers (microcomputers) and to mainframes.
  2. Many software houses use C as the preferred language for producing word processing programs, spreadsheets, compilers, and other products.
  3. C is an extremely flexible language—particularly if it is to be used to write operating systems.
  4. Unlike most other languages that have only four or five levels of precedence, C has 15.


  1. Middle level language.
  2. Small size – has only 32 keywords
  3. Extensive use of function calls- enables the end user to add their own functions to the C library.
  4. Supports loose typing – a character can be treated as an integer & vice versa.
  5. Structured language
  6. Low level (Bit Wise) programming readily available
  7. Pointer implementation – extensive use of pointers for memory, array, structures and functions.
  8.  It has high-level constructs.
  9. It can handle low-level activities.
  10. It produces efficient programs.
  11. It can be compiled on a variety of computers.



The C programming language is used for developing system applications that forms a major portion of operating systems such as Windows, UNIX and Linux.

Below are some examples of C being used:

  • Database systems
  • Graphics packages
  • Word processors
  • Spreadsheets
  • Operating system development
  • Compilers and Assemblers
  • Network drivers
  • Interpreters
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