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What Does C Mean In Programming?

What Does C Mean In Programming

The C programming language is one of the most popular programming languages. C++ is the highly evolved and modernized Object Oriented version of the C language and as a result you can use a C++ compiler to support compiling C language programs too. Today, -you can develop C console apps or C++ apps with modern libraries, database connections, 2D-3D visualizations. You can add modern GUIs with styled skins, effects to digital images easily, i.e. pixelate image, sepia effects, glow effects, etc. to your C++ apps that uses some of C functions. The latest C++ Builder can be used to develop these kind of apps in Windows 11, including x86, x64 and ARM CPUs, in addition to iOS and Android operating systems.

The C programming language can be used to develop apps with C or C++ SDKs and with free tools like Dev-C++ and C++ Builder Community Edition. Then, what does C mean in programming? Where does it come from? What is the story about it?

What does C mean in programming history?

The history of programming languages started with the Assembly Language in 1951, Fortran was the first compiler in 1957 that compiles text formed language to machine codes in assembly language. ALGOL was very strong in those days which was A of programming. There have been many other programming languages since now. But, the early C related versions were CPL in 1963, BCPL in 1967.

Before the C programming language there was a B programming language in 1969 by the Bell Laboratories. The B Programming Language is a programming language that developed at Bell Labs circa 1969 by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie.

What Is C Programming In 2022? The C Programming Language by Kernighan and Ritchie started it all
The C Programming Language 1st edition cover Source: Wikimedia

After this successful B Programming language, the C Programming Language was developed in 1970’s and originally developed at Bell Labs 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. Dennis Ritchie, based at Bell Laboratories, created the C Programming language. C was the next version of B language, if we consider ALGOL is the A of the programming languages. C was also shorten of the previous developed CPL which was a forerunner to C. I think C letter refers to Code and Compiler terms too.

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.

Development of C programming

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 (their variant was often simply called “Apple Pascal”).

Around these years there were a great selection of C compilers including 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.

C++ was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup 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 “C incremented” or “one further than 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.

What does C mean in programming now?

Since 1983, because of C++, generally the C programming name is less often used but most of the code are based on classic C language, and these can 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 etc.

Which Software Is Used To Run C program and C++ apps on Multi Platform OS? A collection of C++ and RAD Studio logos

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.

The C Programming Language was developed in the 1970s and since 1970 there have been many languages which took their inspiration or basis from the C language, like C+. The C++ programming language enhances the C language with 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 used programming language.

C and C++ Compilers are great tools to develop when they are paired with a professional C++ IDE for Windows app development. According to TIOBE Index and parallel to these results in many true statistic web sites, C and C++ programming language have more than 23+% share in total, 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.

What does C Mean in programming in comparison with other languages?

There are two types of programming languages: Interpreted and Non-Interpreted (Compiled). All computers work with machine code (code that can be directly executed by the computer and operating system without any additional compilation steps) that tells the computer what to do . 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 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. C++ is the fastest and most powerful programming language since it requires no additional steps and is very close to the raw computer instructions of the CPU. Interpreted programming languages run inside executable runtime applications like Java, Python, or Visual Basic. As a result they are slower when executing operations because need to use external compiled libraries for faster operations.

Ironically, these interpreted languages mostly use C/C++ compilers to build both the runtimes and external libraries. More often than not, the engine enabling the other languages are written in C or C++. 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 does C mean in a professional programming IDE?

The C language is supported by the latest modern C++ IDE’s and compilers. One of the most easy to use and the most professional one is C++ Builder, the current C++ Builder version is 11.2 released in the Q3 of 2022.

cbuilder_11_512x5121x-6842885-6973897

C++ Builder 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 2022, Embarcadero announced the RAD Studio and C++ Builder 11.2 . C++ Builder 11.2 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 What’s New in RADS 11.2 in order to tune its behavior for your projects and needs.

What Is C Programming On Windows? A screenshot of the C++ Builder IDE showing the about box and installed libraries.
RAD Studio / C++ Builder Welcome Screen

RAD Studio 11.2 versions are introduced several new features, enhancements, and quality updates in key areas including:   

  • Provision apps for Windows 11
  • C++Builder CodeInsight Update
  • More Powerful Compilers And Debuggers
  • Improved Code Insight!
  • Support for Android API Level 32
  • Compile for macOS M-series (Apple Silicon) processors
  • New & modernized VCL components  
  • Use enhanced remote desktop support to collaborate remotely
  • High-DPI designers for VCL and FireMonkey
  • IDE Support for Markdown, VCL-Based HTML preview
  • IDE Supports high-DPI 4K+ Screens
  • Many Quality Improvements And Bug Fixes


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.

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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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