Brief History Of The C Programming Language

Dennis Ritchie. Source :
Dennis Ritchie. Source :

Before we start any complex program in C, we must understand what really C is, how it came into existence and how it differs from other languages of that time. In this tutorial I will try to talk about these issues and then move towards view structure of a typical C program.

C is a programming language which born at “AT & T’s Bell Laboratories” of USA in 1972. It was written by Dennis Ritchie. This language was created for a specific purpose: to design the UNIX operating system (which is used on many computers). From the beginning, C was intended to be useful--to allow busy programmers to get things done.

Because C is such a powerful, dominant and supple language, its use quickly spread beyond Bell Labs. In the late 70’s C began to replace widespread well-known languages of that time like PL/I, ALGOL etc. Programmers everywhere began using it to write all sorts of programs. Soon, however, different organizations began applying their own versions of C with a subtle difference. This posed a serious problem for system developers. To solve this problem, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) formed a committee in 1983 to establish a standard definition of C. This committee approved a version of C in 1989 which is known as ANSI C. With few exceptions, every modern C compiler has the ability to adhere to this standard. ANSI C was then approved by the International Standards Organization (ISO) in 1990.

Now, what about the name? Why it was named C, why not something else. The C language is so named because its predecessor was called B. The B language was developed by Ken Thompson of Bell Labs.

Why Use C?

In today's world of computer programming, there are many high-level languages to choose from, such as Pascal, BASIC, and Java. But C stands apart from all these languages. This is due to its many desirable qualities. It is a robust language whose rich set of built-in functions and operators can be used to write any complex logic program. The C language compiler combines the capabilities of a low level language with the features of a high level language. Therefore the language is suitable for writing both system software as well as business packages & other software. You will find many compilers available in the market written in C.

Advantages of C

• Program written in c are very efficient and fast. This is due to its variety of data types and powerful operators. It is many time faster than BASIC. This helps developers in saving their valuable time.

• C is a powerful and flexible language which helps system developers to deliver various complex tasks with ease. C is used for diverse projects as operating systems, word processors, graphics, spreadsheets, and even compilers for other languages.

• C is popular among professional programmers for programming, as a result, a wide variety of C compilers and helpful accessories are available.

• C is highly portable language. This means that a C program written for one computer system (an IBM PC, for example) can be run on another system (a DEC VAX system, perhaps) with little or no modification. Portability is enhanced by the ANSI standard for C, the set of rules for C compilers.

• C’s another striking feature is its ability to extend itself. A C program is basically a collection of various function supported by C library (also known as header files). We can also add our own functions to the C library. These functions can be reused in other applications or programs by passing pieces of information to the functions, you can create useful, reusable code.

• Writing C program with user-defined functions(UDF) makes program more simple and easy to understand. Breaking a problem in terms of functions makes program debugging, maintenance and testing easier.

As these features shows that C is an excellent choice for your first programming language. But what is C++? You might have heard this term C++ and the programming technique called Object-Oriented Programming (OOP). Possibly you're wondering what the differences are between C and C++ and whether you should learn C or C++.

C++ is a superset of C, means that C++ is the new improved version of C for the latest programming needs. It contains everything C does, plus new additions for OOP concept. If you will learn C++ later, you will find that almost everything which you learnt in C is applicable in C++ too. In learning C, you are not only learning one of today's most powerful and popular programming languages, but you are also preparing yourself for other similar programming languages.

Another language that has gotten lots of attention is Java for its OOP and portability. Java, just like C++, is based on C. If later you decide to learn Java, you will find that almost everything you learned about C applies here.

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sophieqd profile image

sophieqd 7 years ago

A Brief History of the C Language

thanx a lot for the useful info

keep hubbing :)

bhaumik 7 years ago

thanks ......................

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Mehdi Hazara 7 years ago

thaks a lot

hummm 7 years ago

thx a lot

sanjay 7 years ago


lhen 7 years ago


C language is a big thing for many students they knw hw to access and its help to use for any computer subject.

thank you

juveria 7 years ago

thx 4 a such a brief xplanation it helps more students

anand  6 years ago

thanks for that i learn more from this

jeniffer 6 years ago

thanks for the info

mahendra raghuwanshi 6 years ago

thanx a lot history of c is very good

prasad 6 years ago

thank u very much

dokot 6 years ago

i learn lot tnx

deepika 6 years ago

it was very brief thanx

donavallisateshkuamr 6 years ago

thanka a lot,

this information is more useful to us every student.once again THAKS A LOT...

N.mamatha 6 years ago

thanku so much

jessieh 6 years ago

thank you so much for such a great info.

venkatesh 6 years ago

thank u so much for giving good history about C language.

master suraj 6 years ago

thanx for d wonderful info........

shivprakasah meena 6 years ago

thankyou very much

manoj 6 years ago

tanx a lot

GOR URF GOURAV 6 years ago


Bharathi(srec) 6 years ago

Thank u very much

nagesh 6 years ago

simple and usefull for every one ......thanx

latha  6 years ago

It is very usefull information and giving completely details about C language,and also one good thing is giving the authors name to refer the books of C lang.

Thanks u very much

eljai 6 years ago

mgnda toh..

rajat dhawan 6 years ago


divyanka dwevedi 6 years ago

very nice

Samar Singh 6 years ago

Thanx for valuable history

goutham kumar pamula 6 years ago

Thank u somuch hubpages i learn a very brief history of c language.

Muhammad Usman Ghani 6 years ago

its nice work

hari krishna 6 years ago

AT&T means

minal bodkhe 6 years ago

nice information about c laguage histry

highin 6 years ago

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bolan 6 years ago

thank u

anil 6 years ago

this is not enough information about c language

please describe clearly ans early with serialy.

devesh kumar 6 years ago

thanks to brief learning about the c

Anurag Juneja 6 years ago

I wanna know who was the first user scientist of C language?

neha858 6 years ago


neha858 6 years ago


rahul 6 years ago

thanx a lot

ravi 6 years ago


joy 5 years ago

thank you....

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B.ramajaneyulu 5 years ago

c is very difficult over than java

MON 5 years ago


rose 5 years ago

it helps a lot...thanks for the information

john 5 years ago

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vs 5 years ago

it is looking good yaar...

swaroop 5 years ago


snigdha 5 years ago

AT & T means American Telephone and Telegraph company

rajkishor09 profile image

rajkishor09 5 years ago from Bangalore, Karnataka, INDIA Author

thanks @Snigdha for your help...

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selva 5 years ago

this info know only c history

you fully provide for detailed in A&B language

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vinay 4 years ago

what is the abrivation of main in c

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Pranitha Reddy 4 years ago

thanq for history of c...........

niteen 4 years ago

Thank you

siva 4 years ago

its more helpful for me

pavani 4 years ago

i wanna want to know about the A & B languages and the abrvation of c mainly thank uuuuuu

Suresh Balakrishnan 4 years ago

Yes, It's really helpful information about "C" but i want to know who is the owner of "C"? i mean which organization has developed "C"?

Avinash upadhyay 4 years ago

Thanx i learn so much from this

rajkishor09 profile image

rajkishor09 4 years ago from Bangalore, Karnataka, INDIA Author

Thank you frnd, keep visiting for more info on programming languages....

ruhi 4 years ago

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rea 4 years ago


Naveed ghouri 4 years ago

Thanks sir dennis ritchie.I belive it the blessing of God for us.

diksha 4 years ago


ASHWINI 4 years ago


rajkishor09 profile image

rajkishor09 4 years ago from Bangalore, Karnataka, INDIA Author

you are most welcome to read my other articles on C language. Hope you will learn lots of thing in easier way.

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IMRAN KHAN ITM(CS) 3 years ago


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2 years ago

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aarti rajput 12 months ago

its a very usefulll history of c language......... in about c language everything is including there which are the basics of c language

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