What is c language


C is a structured programming language developed by Dennis M. Richie, at BEL laboratories in 1972. It is a middle level language and more suited for systems applications. It is the language of choice for the programmers to develop Compilers, Assemblers, language editors, operating systems etc.

C is a procedure oriented language, which means that most of the C statements contain functions. C contains number of library functions, which are included in different head files provided with the C compiler. For using any of the library function it is necessary to include the respective header file, through the pre-processor statements (include<headerfile>).

Structure of C program


      Global variable declaration;

      Global function declarations;

      void main()


                Body of main function;


We will discuss all these one by one. Consider the following program that displays the message “Learn C through Programs” on the screen.

Program to display message



       void main()


         clrscr();         /* for clearing the screen */

         printf(“Learning C through Programs”);




            Learning C through Programs

Now we can look at the statements. The first statement includes the header file “stdio.h” to the program. C language provides number of library/build-in functions, which are kept ready to use by the programmers. These library functions are grouped depending on their purpose and stored in different files. These file are called as header files. There are number of number of header files in C language which may vary from compiler to compiler and version to version. The purpose of “stdio.h” is to include all standard input and output functions to the program file. In the above program there is only one output function i.e., printf(), which is used to print the message or value on the screen. 

The second statement is also preprocessor statement used to include header file “conio.h”, which contains library functions related to ‘console input and output’. The library functions “clrscr()” and “getch()” used in the above program are console   IO functions. The clrscr() function used to clear the screen and is optional statement in the program. The other statement ‘getch()’ is also optional and is used to take a character from the keyboard. This function is useful because when we execute the program (by pressing ctrl+f9) the program executes.

The other important statement in the above program is ‘void main()’. This is the function which is to be included in each and every C program and this is the point from where the program execution starts. The keyword ‘void’ indicated that the function will not return any value.

The body of each and every function in a program is enclosed within a pair of bracket {} to make it as a compound statement (group of statements). All the simple statements in C program end with semicolon ‘;’.

Note:- C language is case sensitive. Upper and lower case characters are considered to be district.  All keywords and library function names are written in small letters and variables declared by the programmer should be used in the same case as declared by him.

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