The C programming language has been used successfully for every type of programming problem imaginable from operating systems to spreadsheets to expert systems – and efficient compilers are available for machines ranging in power from the Apple Macintosh to the Cray supercomputers. The largest measure of C’s success seems to be based on purely practical considerations:

  1. The portability of the compiler;
  2. The compact representation for complex expression
  3. The standard library concept;
  4. A powerful and varied repertoire of operators;
  5. Allows manipulation of internal processor registers
  6. An elegant syntax;
  7. Ready access to the hardware when needed; and
  8. The ease with which applications can be optimized by hand-coding isolated procedures

C is often called a “Middle Level” programming language. This is not a reflection on its lack of programming power but more a reflection on its capability to access the system’s low level functions.

Most high-level languages (e.g. FORTRAN) provide everything the programmer might want to do already build into the language.

A low level language (e.g. assembler) provides nothing other than access to the machines basic instruction set.

A middle level language, such as C language, probably doesn’t supply all the constructs found in high-languages – but it provides programmer with all the building blocks that programmer will need to produce the desirable results.


Uses of C Language:

C is a very simple language that is widely used by software professionals around the world. Initially this language was used for system development work, in particular the programs that make-up the operating system. Mainly the use of C language produces code that runs nearly as fast as code written in assembly language. The uses of C language can be summarized as follows:

  • C language is primarily used for system programming. The portability, efficiency, the ability to access specific hardware addresses and low runtime demand on system addresses makes it a good choice for implementing operating systems and embedded system applications.
  • C has been so widely accepted by professionals that compilers, libraries and interpreters of other programming languages are often implemented in C.
  • For portability and convenience reasons, C is sometimes used as an intermediate language for implementations of other languages; Examples of compilers who use C this ways are BitC, Gambit, the Glasgow Haskell Compiler, Squeak and Vala.
    Basically, C language was designed as a programming language. Therefore, although C can be used as an intermediate language it is not an ideal option. This led to the development of C-based intermediate languages such as C++.
  • C language is widely used to implement end-user applications.

By the use of portability and efficiency feature of C language, some more examples of the use of C language might be as follows:

As System Software:

  • Operating System
  • Compiler
  • Interpreters
  • Editors
  • Assemblers
  • Linker
  • Loaders

Application Software:

  • Graphics packages
  • Spread sheets
  • Data base system
  • CAD/CAM application
  • Office Automation tools
  • Scientific and Engineering applications
  • Word Processors
  • Network Drivers
  • Data Base management programs
  • Utilities

In recent years C language has been used as a general-purpose language because of its rich functionality and popularity among programmers.

It is not the world’s easiest language to learn and you will certainly benefit if you are not learning C as your first programming language. C is trendy (I nearly said sexy) – many well established programmers are switching to C for all sorts of reasons, but mainly because of the portability that writing standard C programs can offer.

Future of C Programming language:

The current popularity of programming language C++ and JAVA may seem to have displaced C’s position in the programming world. But C language is here to stay for a very long time. One main factor behind the unbeaten strength of C language is that C++ has inherited most of its syntax from C but has incorporated several new concepts which form the basis of Object Oriented programming.

It is better to know C in order to learn C++ though there are many who advocate the theory that one has to unlearn procedural programming habits in order to learn Object Oriented programming. GUI based C++ programming environments are more popular for its simplicity, but it use lot of disk space and extended memory is the drawback of that. They use complex class libraries and are not well suited for developing small programs that run on smaller systems. C is a better option when it comes to programming device drivers, embedded applications and utility programs.


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