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What Does Library Mean In C 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 its compilers also support C language-only apps. Libraries are one of the main important parts of the C and C++ languages. For example, you can use <stdio.h> library – or <cstdio> in C++ – for the standard input output functions. You can use all C functions included in this library, i.e. printf, getssscanf, getchar, and many C functions in your C or C++ applications.

Today, you can develop C console apps or C++ apps with modern libraries, including database connections, 2D-3D visualizations, and more. Libraries are also used in C++. Do you know that C libraries can be used in C++ applications too? There are very modern libraries with GUIs like VCL (vcl.h) and FMX (fmx.h) libraries in C++ Builder. The latest C++ Builder can be used to develop these kinds of apps in Windows 11, including x86, x64, and ARM CPUs, in addition to iOS and Android operating systems. You can add modern GUIs with styled skins, and produce apps which apply effects to digital images easily for example sepia effects, glow effects, etc. 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.

What does library mean in C programming?

When we develop an application in the C or C++ language we often need to use pre-defined variables and functions to do different operations. For all these, generally, we should include standard libraries that have these pre-defined variables and functions. Each library in the C or C++ language includes functions and definitions for commonly-used purposes such as file or stream handling, memory management and so on.

What Does Library Mean In C Programming? A person thinking about C programming, or a really nice coffee.

Libraries in C and C++ programming, are pre-compiled files that are mostly included in the lib folder. Generally, their extension is *.lib. Libraries use a collection of header files that include these pre-defined variables and functions. Header files (*.h files in C and *.h , *.hpp files in C++) . Libraries may require many header files, for example, the VCL and FMX libraries of C++ Builder are huge libraries and they include many header files to enable our programs to create, display, and use a GUI-based user interface.

Here are some library types that we use in C and C++ programming;

Moreover, there are many libraries that can help you to develop your apps easier and faster, for example you can also check these below,

Libraries are very important and standard libraries exist for standard input and output functions, math functions, string handling functions, time manipulation functions, etc. We may use libraries in our own applications to split up our apps into modules. These pieces make them easier to understand, test, and debug, and also make it possible to reuse code from other applications that we develop.

How to use a library in C programming?

In C programming there are many useful functions that require libraries and their headers. Here are 3 examples of the most commonly used C libraries,

  • printf(); scanf(); gets(); getchar(); and many I/O functions are defined in <stdio.h> header and declared in its library
  • strcpy(); strstr(); strlen(); and many string functions are defined in <string.h> header and declared in its library
  • sin(), tan(), rand(); pow(); and many math functions are defined in <math.h> header and declared in its library

The libraries which are frequently used in most program types are combined in the C Runtime Library (RTL). All the headers and details of the C Runtime library can be found here. You can see all functions when you enter these headers.

Here is a example to how to use the sscanf function to scan two x and y numbers from a given string array str. Note that we include <stdio.h> to use sscanf(), printf() and getchar() functions.

What does library mean in C++ programming?

C++ also uses libraries. It uses standard C libraries and also modernized C++ libraries which are being updated in CLANG standards (C++98, C++11, C++14, C++17, C++20). RAD Studio / C++ Builder supports CLANG standards and has several thousand functions, macros, and classes that you call from within your C and C++ programs to perform a wide variety of tasks, including low- and high-level I/O, string and file manipulation, memory allocation, process control, data conversion, mathematical calculations, and more.

What is the C Run Time Library (RTL)?

The Run-Time Library (RTL) is a procedural library shared by Delphi and C++ for any supported target platform. The RTL is made up of the members of the SystemSystem.SysUtils, System.IOUtils, and System.Classes units. RTL Run Time Library is one of the most used library in C++ Builder. It has many standard libraries and headers. Mainly there is Windows C/C++ RTL for the Windows 32bit/64bit applications. There are macOS C/C++ RTL, see MacOS C RTL. For iOS C/C++ RTL, see iOS C RTL.

Most of the standard library headers like stdio.h, string.h, math.h are included in RTL library. More details about C Run Time Library can be found here: https://docwiki.embarcadero.com/RADStudio/Alexandria/en/C_Run-Time_Library_Reference

What is the Visual Component Library (VCL)?

What Does Library Mean In C Programming? VCL

The Visual Component Library (VCL) is an object hierarchy of visual components that are supported on Windows only (in Win32 and Win64 applications). The Visual Component Library (VCL) provides a set of visual components for the rapid development of Windows applications in the Delphi and C++ languages. VCL contains a wide variety of visual, non-visual, and utility classes for tasks such as building Windows applications, web applications, database applications, and console applications.

VCL is an acronym for the Visual Component Library, a set of visual components for rapid development of Windows applications in the Delphi and C++ Builder. The VCL contains a wide variety of visual, non-visual, and utility classes for tasks such as Windows application building, web applications, database applications, and console applications. All classes descend from TObject. TObject introduces methods that implement fundamental behavior like construction, destruction, and message handling.

Components are a subset of the component library that descend from the class TComponent. You can place components on a form or data module and manipulate them at design time. Using the Object Inspector, you can assign property values without writing code. Most components are either visual or nonvisual, depending on whether they are visible at run time. Some components appear on the Component Palette.

What is the FireMonkey Library (FMX) ?

The FireMonkey Library (FMX) is a visual component library with sophisticated graphics, animation, and styling capabilities. You can create FireMonkey applications for any supported target platform. FireMonkey Library (FMX)  leverages the graphics processing unit (GPU) in modern desktop and mobile devices to create visually engaging applications on multiple platforms, targeting the entire range from the personal to the enterprise.

What Does Library Mean In C Programming? FMX graphic

What does framework mean in C++ programming?

Frameworks are actually libraries that holds a lot of libraries including visual libraries. VCL and FMX are also called as frameworks. They both have Visual and None Visual components that can be used in GUI applications.

What Does Library Mean In C Programming? There are many non visual components
There are many visual and non-visual components and classes in the VCL and FMX

What Visual Components can be found in the VCL and FMX libraries?

Visual components, such as TForm and TSpeedButton, are called controls and descend from TControl. Controls are used in GUI applications, and appear to the user at run time. TControl provides properties that specify the visual attributes of controls, such as their height and width.

Nonvisual components are used for a variety of tasks. For example, if you are writing an application that connects to a database, you can place a TDataSource component on a form to connect a control and a dataset used by the control. This connection is not visible to the user, so TDataSource is nonvisual. At designtime, nonvisual components are represented by an icon. This allows you to manipulate their properties and events just as you

What Non-visual Components are there in the VCL and FMX libraries?

What do the other VCL and FMX classes do?

Classes that are not components (that is, classes that descend from TObject but not TComponent) are also used for a variety of tasks. Typically, these classes are used for accessing system objects (such as a file or the clipboard) or for transient tasks (such as storing data in a list). You cannot create instances of these classes at design time, although they are sometimes created by the components that you add in the Form Designer.

What does C++ Builder mean in C programming?

The C language is supported by the latest modern C++ IDE’s and compilers. One of the most powerful, yet easy to use, is C++ Builder.

cbuilder_11_512x5121x-6842885-6973897

C++ Builder is the easiest and fastest C and C++ IDE for building everything from simple to large-scale 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. RAD Studio’s C++ Builder version comes with the award-winning VCL framework library for high-performance native Windows apps and the powerful FireMonkey (FMX) framework library 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 Does Library Mean In C Programming? 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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