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Is C Programming Hard?

Is C Programming Hard

In comparison with some of programming languages available today new developers may find the C language hard to learn. Is C programming really hard? If you learn the basics of the C language and if you have a good C editor it is easy to code, compile and run applications. The C programming language is one of the most popular programming languages. You can start to learn the C language with simple examples and free development tools like Dev-C++ and C++ Builder CE.

The C Programming Language was developed in the 1970s and since 1970, there have been many new programming languages invented as well as many changes in the C language, like C+, C++, CLANG standards C++99, C++11, C++14, and C++17. C++ programming language includes C language and is powered by Object Oriented Programming features like Classes, Objects and Methods. Still, this venerable language is popular, frequently appearing in the top 3 programming language choices – but if we consider its other variations and its usage on microchips and IoTs it is the most widely used programming language.

If C programming is hard, why it is in the top 3 programming languages?

C and C++ Compilers are great tools to develop with when they are paired with a professional C++ IDE for Windows app development. According to TIOBE Index [1] the C and C++ programming language have more than 23+% share in total. The C language has more than 13.13% share and if you add Objective-C, Swift, and other C and C++ related programming languages it has about more than 33% share in worldwide and note that these are recorded from online data only.

C programming language variants are widely used on desktop operating systems, mobile operating systems, on IoT devices, on embedded systems. It is very popular in professional industry; software for mainboards, graphic cards, CPUs, robotics, car systems, flight systems, camera systems, music systems, etc. etc. It is also popular in education among students when they are learning coding IoT devices like Arduino, Raspberry Pi etc.

Is C Programming Hard? The C logo
A simple “Hello World” example

Why is a C compiler a powerful tool for C programming?

There are two types of programming languages: Interpreted and Non-Interpreted (Compiled). All computers (CPU/GPU) work with machine code (code that can be directly programmed by assembler codes) that tells the computer what to do (exe files are this kind of file). This is the most native and fastest code, but it requires writing many lines for simple things and is hard to generalize for all kinds of machines. A compiler (C or C++ Compiler, etc.) is a computer program that converts one programming language i.e., C/C++ code written with text into executable machine code with a linker.

Such code may not be as fast as assembler code, but the difference in speed is very small because both machine code and compiler-based code in text form are much more compatible with other CPU/GPUs and/or with other Operating Systems when you compile them on a machine. This is one reason why C++ is the fastest and most powerful programming language. Interpreted programming languages run inside executable applications like Java, Python, or Visual Basic. This is why they are slower when executing operations, as they need to use compiled libraries for faster operations. Again, they mostly use C/C++ compilers to build these libraries. Using an interpreted programming language is like being carried by a runner, while a compiled (non-interpreted) programming language is like running itself. This subtle difference turns into a huge gap when you run the same routine for example in face recognition, millions of times a millisecond.

What is the C language? Was C programming hard before modern improvements?

The C Programming Language was developed in 1970’s and originally developed at Bell Labs [4] by Dennis Ritchie between 1972 and 1973 to construct utilities running on Unix. It was applied to re-implementing the kernel of the Unix operating system

What Is Programming Language C? The C Programming Language by Kernighan and Ritchie started it all
The C Programming Language 1st edition cover Source: Wikimedia

1970

Dennis Ritchie, based at Bell Laboratories, created the C Programming language. C is a procedural computer programming language supporting structured programming, lexical variable scope, and recursion, with a static type system. The C programming keywords and structures map code very efficiently to typical low-level machine instructions. It was easy to create more generalized code than it was in assembly language, and this encouraged the adoption and spread of the C programming language as a viable alternative to the more cumbersome and onerous assembly instructions with minimal compromises. In the years following the introduction of the C++ programming language, it became widely used for a broad range of general and specialized purposes including operating systems and various application software that targeted computer architectures ranging from supercomputers to PLCs and embedded systems.

1980

In the early 1980′s, also at Bell Laboratories, another programming language was being developed which was based upon the C language. This was an extension to C Language which will later go on to be called C++.

Meanwhile, Objective-C was created primarily by Brad Cox and Tom Love in the early 1980s at their company Productivity Products International (PPI). Objective-C later became adopted by Apple Computer as their primary programming language, supplanting their Apple-flavored object-orientated version of Pascal called Object-Pascal (often simply called “Apple Pascal”).

Around these years there were new C compilers on Amiga computers. These were Lattice C, Aztec C, SAS-C compilers. Actually SAS-C was a really great C and C++ compiler used with IBM computers such as the IBM® System/390TM mainframes, as well as end-consumer machines such as Amiga computers too.

1983

C++ was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup [5] at AT & T Bell Laboratories in Murry Hill, New Jersey (USA) in 1983. In C the increment operator is a double set of + symbols therefore C++ was “Incremented C” means Extension to C. That means after this year C language has been included in all C++ programming languages. For more details of programming history of C and C++ you can read this article.

Is C programming hard in 2022?

Since 1983, because of C++, generally C programming has taken a back seat to C++ and other C style variants. C programs can usually be compiled with C++ compilers and IDEs. Sometimes we combine and use C functions in the methods of C++ classes. Generally, a C++ compiler also compiles C language-specific commands, most of the standard C++ commands like for()while()printf() come from the C language. One of the biggest differences between C and C++ programming languages is, C++ is an Object Oriented Programming (OOP) language that supports using Classes, Objects, Methods and similar concepts.

Is C Programming Hard? An image of a Hello World C++ program being compiled in the IDE
Compilation of Hello World C Example in C++ Builder

The C++ Compiler and C++ IDE features really evolved from the early and auspicious beginnings of Turbo C, C++ and Borland C++. Today we have a wide array of features supporting a rich and diverse amount of OS platforms running on thousands of types of devices encompassing everything from cell phones, watches, cars to a broad collection of IoT (internet of things) specialized hardware. If we look at the C and C++ programming languages it has more than a %33+ share in programming overall and is still the most popular programming language worldwide. It is really amazing to see the ways in which humanity is benefitting from the advances in technology that have accompanied the evolution of our beloved programming language.

Today, we have a lot of operating systems than before and a lot of devices. They are evolved in versions year by year and they are also there are many big software projects that includes many libraries and many many methods. C is huge in programming, it has many free and commercial 3rd party libraries, addons, components, or IDE tools. There are also some requirement on debugging, release and tests. Deployment and releasing applications on stores also require more knowledge about it. While we think all these huge environments, C is not hard, now there are only few changes in C language while the C++ language has many new CLANG standard evolutions like C++17, C++ 20 etc. So C language is still simple, easy to use and has same functions while the systems were evolved much.

Which IDE makes C programming easier?

The latest C++ Builder IDE and compiler is the easiest and fastest C and C++ IDE for building simple or professional applications on the Windows, iOS & Android operating systems. It is also easy for beginners to learn with its wide range of samples, tutorials, help files and LSP support for code. C++ Builder comes with Rapid Application Development Studio, also known as RAD Studio, and C++ Builder is one of the most professional IDE’s that work under RAD Studio. It is the oldest IDE (it began as Borland TurboC in 1990 and was later renamed Borland C++ Builder). Under the Embarcadero brand, it comes with new versions, features, updates, and support. RAD Studio’s C++ Builder version comes with the award-winning VCL framework for high-performance native Windows apps and the powerful FireMonkey (FMX) framework for cross-platform UIs. There is a free C++ Builder Community Edition for students, beginners, and startups.

In C++ Builder, you can select C or C++ project when you create a new project

In 2022, Embarcadero announced the RAD Studio and C++ Builder 11.2, it contains a number of improvements and quality fixes for C++ developers using C++Builder and RAD Studio 11.1, including performance improvements, display of code completion results, improved navigation, as well as a variety of quality fixes including resolving an issue for users of the classic compiler, issues saving all files in a project, and more. There are also several new features, including handling multiple navigation destinations when Control-clicking on an identifier, delayed indexing to reduce CPU usage, and a third option for LSP Code Insight behavior which indexes all files in all projects. We recommend reading the documentation on configuring C++ Code Insight in order to tune its behavior for your projects and needs. RAD Studio 11 versions are introduced several new features, enhancements, and quality updates in key areas including:   

  • Provision apps for Windows 11
  • Compile for Android API 30
  • Compile for macOS M-series (Apple Silicon) processors
  • Design on high-DPI 4k+ screens
  • View VCL Styles in design time
  • New & modernized VCL components  
  • Use enhanced remote desktop support to collaborate remotely 

cbuilder_11_512x5121x-6842885-6973897


You can download the free C++ Builder Community Edition

Professional developers can use the Professional, Architect or Enterprise versions of C++ Builder. Please visit https://www.embarcadero.com/products/cbuilder.

References

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About author

33+ years of coding with more than 30+ programming languages, mostly C++ on Windows, Android, Mac-OS, iOS, Linux and some other operating systems. Dr. Yilmaz Yoru was born in 1974, Eskisehir-Turkey. He graduated from the department of Mechanical Engineering of Eskisehir Osmangazi University in 1997. One year later he started to work in the same university as an assistant. He received his MSc and PhD degrees from the same department of the same university. He has married and he is a father of a son. Some of his interests are Programming, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics and Artificial Intelligence. He also likes the graphical 2D & 3D design and high-end innovations.
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