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Chapter 1 Overview Of C Programming - Brief History Of C Language


HISTORY OF C & ANSI C

C LANGUAGE TUTORIAL FOR BEGINNERS

'C' seems a strange name of a programming. But this is strange sounding language is one of the most popular computer programming language today because it is a high-level, machine-independent & structured language. It allows software developer to develop program without worrying about the hardware platform where they will be implemented. 

HISTORY OF ANSI C
FIG 1 - HISTORY OF ANSI C

ALGOL 1960

  • The root of all modern languages is ALGOL, introduced in the early 1960s.
  • ALGOL was the first computer language to use a block structure.
  • It is never becoming popular in USA, it was widely used in EUROPE. 
  • ALGOL gave the concept of structured programming to the IT community.
  • Computer scientists like Corrado Bohm, Guiseppe Jacopini & Edsger Dijkstra populizer this concept during 1960s. 

BCPL 1967 

  • In 1967, Martin Richards developed a language called BCPL (Basic Combined Programming Language) primary for writing software.

B Language 1970 

  • In 1970, KEN THOMPSON created a language using many features of BCPL & called it simply B.
  • B was used to create early versions of Unix Operating System at Bell Laboratories.
  • Both BCPL & B where "typeless" system programming languages.

Traditional C 1972 

  • C was envolved from ALGOL, BCPL & B by Denis Ritchie at the Bell Laboratories in 1972. C uses many concepts from these languages & added the concepts of Data Types & other Powerful Features. Since it was developed along with the Unix Operating System, it is strongly associated with Unix.
  • This operating system, which was also developed at Bell Laboratories, was coded almost entirely in C. Unix is the one of the most popular network operating system in use today and the heart of the internet data superhighway.
  •  For many years, C was used mainly academic environments, but eventually, with the release of many C compilers for commercial use and the increasing popularity of UNIX, it began to again widespread support among computer professionals. 
  • Today, C is running under a variety of operating system and hardware platforms. During the 1970s,  C had evolved into what is known as "traditional C".

K&R C 1978

  • The language became more popular after the publication of the of the book 'The C Programming Langauge' by Brian Kerningham & Denis Ritchie in 1978. The book was so popular that the language came to be known as "K&R C" among the programming community.
  • The rapid growth of C led to the development of different versions of the language that was similar but often incompatible. The posed a serious problem for system developers.  

ANSI C 1989

  • To assure that the C language remains standard, in 1983, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) appointed a technical committee to define a standard for C. 
  • The committee approved a version of  C in December 1989 which is now known as ANSI C. 

ANSI/ISO C 1990

  • It was then approved by the International Standard Organization (ISO) in 1990. This version of C also referred to as C89. 
  • During the 1990s, C++, a language entirely based on C, underwent a number of improvements and changes and became an ANSI/ISO approved language in November 1977. C++ added serval new features to C to make it only a true object-oriented language but also more versatile language. During the same period, Sun Microsystems of USA created a new language JAVA modeled on C and C++.

C99 1999

  • All popular computer languages are dynamic in nature. They continue to improve their power and scope by incorporating new features and C is no exception. Although C++ and Java were evolved out of C, the standardization committee of C felt that a new feature of C++/Java, if added to C, would enhanced the usefulness of the language. The result was the 1999 standard for C. This version usually referred to as C99. The history of the development of C is illustrated in FIG - 1. 
  • Although C99 is an improved version, still many commonly available compilers do not support all of the new features incorporated in C99. We, therefore, discuss all the new features added by C99 in an appendix separately so that readers who are interested can quickly refer to the new material and use them wherever possible.

Preface to the Seventh Edition

C is a powerful, flexible, portable and elegantly structured programming language. Since C combines the features of a high-level language with the elements of the assembler, it is suitable for both systems and applications programming. It is undoubtedly the most widely used general-purpose language today in operating systems and embedded system development. It's an influence is evident in almost all modern programming languages. Since its standardization in 1989, C has undergone a series of changes and improvement in order to enhance the usefulness of the language. The version that incorporates the new features is now referred to as C11.

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