General Characteristics of C Language


C is one of the most popular modern computer programming language and is developed in 1972 by Dennis M. Ritchie at Bell Laboratories (AT and T Bell Labs).

The C Language is designed on BCPL (Basic Combined Programming Language). The popularity of the C Language is due to many of its charateristics.

Some of the characteristics of C language are as follows.

  • Generality
  • Middle Level Language
  • Extensive Library Functions
  • Efficiency and Speed
  • Portability
  • Structured Programming

Generality :

C Language is a general purpose language. It is used to write programs varying from simple to complex. Nowadays, it is used in developing applications which are effectively used in academic campus, multinational companies, etc.

Middle Level Language :

The C-compiler combines the capabilities of an assembly language with the features of a high level language. Therefore, C language can be well suited for writing both system software's (operating systems, compilers etc.) and application software's (video games, business packages etc).

Extensive Library Functions :

An important feature of C is its ability to extend itself. A C program is basically a collection of functions that are supported by c library. We can continuously add our own functions to C library. With availability of a large number of unctions, the programming task becomes simple.

Example : printf(), scanf() etc.

Efficiency and Speed :

C language has a variety of data types and powerful operators, making the language more efficient and fast. It is many times faster than BASIC. for example, a program to increment a variable from 0 to 15000 takes about one second in C while it takes more than 500 seconds with an interpreter of BASIC.

The C language provides some operators(increment and decrement operators) which speed up the execution to large extent. Further, it also provides user defined data types (structures) throught which miscellaneous data can be easily manipulated.

Portability :

C language is highly portable. It means that the programs written on some computer can be executed on another computer with little or no modifications in the program. Portability is important, if the user wants to use a new computer with a different operation system.

Structured Programming :

C language is well suited for structured programming, thus requiring the user to think of problem in terms of function modules or blocks. A proper collection of these modules would make a complete program. This modular structure makes program debugging, testing and maintenance easier.

It also provides basic control flow statements which are essential for structured programming(if-else, switch, while, for etc).

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