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Who Wrote The C Programming Language?

The C and C++ programming languages are hugely popular despite having been around for 40 years. Behind that popularity are thousands of developers working together to bring out the best C and C++ compiler solutions which incorporate the very latest enhancements and improvements. Today we have C++ CLANG standards with names like C++17 and C++20. But the initial spark for the C language started in 1970’s. All these popular C functions like printf(), scanf, c alloc, malloc, do-while loops etc. were being used in 80’s applications. So, who were the people behind the development of the original C language and compiler?

Who wrote the original C programming language?

Who Wrote The C Programming Language A picture of Dennis Ritchie
Dennis Ritchie in 2011<br>Source wikimediaorg<br>
Who Wrote The C Programming Language A picture of Ken Thompson
Ken Thompson in 2019<br>Sourcewikimediaorg

Before the C programming language there was a B programming language. As far as I can tell there wasn’t an “A” programming language. The B Programming Language was a programming language developed at Bell Labs circa 1969 by Ken Thompson [1] and Dennis Ritchie [2]. B was successful but it was felt improvements could be made and the best way to do that was to create a successor. Thompson and Ritchie called that successor: C. The C Programming Language was developed in the 1970’s at Bell Labs [3] by Dennis Ritchie. Between 1972 and 1973 Ritchie and Thompson used C to construct utilities running on Unix.

Ritchie has taken time to state that although he is credited with inventing C and, along with Thompson, the UNIX operating system, he was part of a larger team who all contributed to the runaway success of both the operating system and programming language. 

What is C?

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.

What is C++?

Who Wrote The C Programming Language The C Programming Language by Kernighan and Ritchie started it all
The C Programming Language 1st edition cover Source Wikimedia

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 would later go on to be called C++. C++ had the fundamental syntax of C but added the concept of classes and objects to allow for object oriented programming or OOP.

In the years following the introduction of the C and C++ programming languages, they 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.

What is Objective-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”).

During this period many new C compilers emerged. These included 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.

What is Turbo C and Borland C++?

Turbo C and Borland C are predecessors of the current day C++ Builder. C++ Builder is the easiest and fastest C and C++ IDE for building simple or professional applications on the Windows, macOS, iOS & Android operating systems. It is also a breeze 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.

C++ Builder can fairly claim to be an evolution of the original C and C++ 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.

Who wrote the C++ programming language?

C++ was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup [4] at AT & T Bell Laboratories in Murry Hill, New Jersey (USA) in 1983. In C the increment operator is a double set of + symbols like therefore C++ was “C incremented” in other words, one increment further than C. A happy side effect of this evolutional foundation means that the C language has been included in all C++ programming languages.

Bjarne Stroustrup was honored at the CodeRage 2018 event held by Embarcadero and interviewed by David “I” Intersimone who is a long time advocate of C++ and one of the greatest educators and champions of the C++ and Delphi languages.

Who Wrote The C Programming Language A picture of David Intersimone and Bjarne Stroustrup
David Intersimone left and Bjarne Stroustrup right Source CodeRage 2018 Online Answers session

Since 1983 C++ has gradually overshadowed the C programming language. However, there is still a lot of code written in the 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 can also compile C language-specific commands. That perhaps should not be too much of a surprise since most of the standard C++ commands like for()while()printf() actually come from the C language.

The C++ Compiler and C++ IDE features have 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.

Who writes C++ Builder and Rad Studio?

Of course, as the saying goes “it takes a village”. There are many C and C++ developers who work on the compilers and linkers for IDEs like C++ Builder and RAD Studio. From those very early days at Borland even the company itself has merged and transformed until it has ultimately become Embarcadero Technologies under the auspices of Idera. To all those people who worked, and continue to work, so hard on C and C++ I am truly grateful. Their hard work has made RAD Studio and incredibly powerful system.

Who Wrote The C Programming Language The RAD Studio logo

C++ Builder supports multi-device applications with its great FireMonkey FMX framework. C++ Builder has multiple compilers for Win32, Win64, Android and iOS. C++Builder has both CLANG Enhanced C/C++ Compiler and a Borland C/C++ Compiler. It also features a modern, high-productivity RAD Studio IDE, debugger tools, and enterprise connectivity for to accelerate cross-platform UI development. You can develop GUI based applications easily, as it 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 that can be used by students, beginners and startups with limitations.

You can download the free C++ Builder Community Edition here:

Professional developers can use the Professional, Architect or Enterprise versions of C++ Builder. Please visit






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About author

Dr. Yilmaz Yoru has 35+ years of coding with more than 30+ programming languages, mostly C++ on Windows, Android, Mac-OS, iOS, Linux, and some other operating systems. He graduated and received his MSc and PhD degrees from the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Eskisehir Osmangazi University. He is the founder and CEO of ESENJA LLC Company. His interests are Programming, Thermodynamics, Fluid Mechanics, Artificial Intelligence, 2D & 3D Designs, and high-end innovations.
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