Many of the C projects were started decades ago. The code of the UNIX operating system, Oracle database and Windows 1.0 was written in C, with some parts in assembly in 1970s-1980s. The C language was actually created to move the UNIX code from assembly to a higher level language. But C programming isn’t limited to the projects that were created decades ago. Many C projects are still started today and there are some good reasons for that.
Despite the widespread higher-level languages, C continues to be one of the most used coding languages. The following software and hardware are the examples of the systems that are used by millions of people and programmed in the C language.
Windows 1.0 was released in 1985. Although Windows source code is not open, it’s been stated that its kernel was mostly written in C, with some parts in assemble language. So the operating system with 90% of the market share has been powered by the kernel written in C.
Linux kernel development started in 1991 and it was also written in C. There is an interesting fact that 97% of the world’s 500 most powerful computers run the Linux kernel. Btw, Linux is also widely used in many personal computers.
Mac computers by Apple are also powered by C, since the OS X kernel is also written mostly in C. Every software program and driver in a Mac, as in Windows and Linux computers, is running on C-powered kernel.
iOS, Android and Windows Phone kernels are also written in C. Actually they are just the adapters of kernels written for Mac, Linux and Microsoft Windows. So, C language also runs the world of mobile devices.
The most popular databases, including Oracle Database, MySQL, MS SQL Server and PostgreSQL are coded in C language (the first three are written both in C and C++). These databases are used in system of all types: financial, educational, government, media, telecommunications, retail, social networks and others.
3D Video movies are created usually by applications coded with C and C++. Those applications should be really effective and fast, as they handle a huge amount of data and do many calculations. The more efficient they are, the less time it takes to make a 3D movie shot and so more money the production company saves.
We’re surrounded by many devices and appliances that are programmed with C language: alarm clock, microwave oven, coffee machine, radio, TV with remote control and so on. Or let’s talk about a modern car. Most of them have the following features that are also programmed in C: automatic transmission, tire pressure detection system, sensors, dashboard computer, memory for seats and mirror settings, anti-lock brakes, climate control, cruise control, child-proof locks, airbag control, heated seats and so on.
Also such devices are embedded systems. They have a microcontroller or microprocessor inside that is running a program, also called firmware, on embedded devices. Such program must detect key processes and act accordingly, and display information to a user. For example, an alarm clock should interact with a user, detecting what button the user is pressing and how long it has been pressed, what song to play and when to turn it on, all while displaying the relevant information to the user.
Although the programming language used on embedded systems can vary from brand to brand, they are most commonly programmed in the C language, due to its flexibility, efficiency and performance.
Reasons to Learn C
C is not so difficult to learn comparing to some other programming languages. There are some typical reasons to learn it.
C is a kind of bridge language for developers. Many implementations of new algorithms in books or in the Internet are first made available in C by the authors. That provides the maximum possible portability for the implementation. C is an old and widespread programming language, so you can find all kind of algorithms written in C in the Web. Therefore you’ll gain lots of benefits from knowing this language.
Understand the Machine
When we discuss the certain portions of code or certain features of other languages with our colleagues, we end up “taking in C”: Is this part passing a “pointer” to the object or copying the entire object? Could a “pitfall” be happening here? And so on.
When we’re analyzing the behavior of some high-level language, we would rarely discuss it using the assembly instructions from C language. Instead, when we’re discussing what the machine is doing, we speak and think clearly in C.
Work on Many Interesting C Projects
Many interesting IT projects have been created using this programming language, from big database servers or operating system kernels to the small applications that you can code at home for your personal fun. So it’s a good idea to learn an old and small, but strong and time-proven language like C as this programming language doesn’t seem to have an expiration date.
The world is running on C-powered devices. We use these devices every day, realizing this or not. C is the past and the present, and as we can see, still the future for many areas of software and hardware development.
- Top Books for Developers (softheme-blog-2017)
- Programming Languages Popularity among Ukrainian Developers (softheme-blog-2017)