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I'd be remiss if I didn't first tip my hat to the most influential language on this list, C. Invented in the early `70s at Bell Labs and still in tremendous use around the world, C has influenced every language on this list. Not just the obvious ones like C++, C# and Objective-C, but also languages like Perl and PHP owe a tremendous amount to C. Now C is a pure structured language, as I mentioned before. It's the only non object oriented language that was on the list.
It's not about classes. It's not about objects. It is a fairly low level language that you do have to work with manual memory management quite a bit. It is typically a compiled language and strongly typed in the sense that you don't just create generic variables; you create variables of type integer or type float or Boolean variables. Well, it's not too hard to get started with C, the typical skill level is intermediate to advanced, to even very advanced if you're getting very detailed with this language.
And part of the reason for that is what is C used for? Well, I put up the top here everything, and it is, you will find C used for everything, but probably the majority of the use these days is in more advanced situations, in games and building 3D engines, in building embedded systems. Writing programs that are actually saved onto a DSP chip or writing operating systems. You'll even find C being used to build compilers for other languages. So if your requirement is you are wanting to build desktop apps or mobile app or web applications, where you're looking for a high productivity environment, it's probably not your typical choice.
keyword. In fact, this main word here is telling me that this is the single most
important function in a C program, and in fact, in a lot of C-based languages.
Main here is the name of a function, and it's the function where the program begins.
That's how C and most C-based languages know where to start, is because there's
a block of code with the word main attached to it, and a very common thing that
you'll see in a C program is a statement like this include
As we explore more languages, you'll see several things like this. It's very common for general purpose languages to link to external libraries. Basically saying in this file there is a whole bunch of code that somebody else wrote, a whole lot of functions, a lot of useful things that I can make use of in my program and I want to link to it. And you'll find that with most general purpose languages, it's less about the language itself and more about all these external files, these libraries of code that you can actually use and link to.
So if you did want to take a look at this how would you get started? Well C is one of your classic languages that you really don't need much. You need a text editor, you'd need a compiler. The classic compiler is something called GCC and it's an Open Source compiler used by a lot of different IDEs or Integrated Development Environments. So you'll often find C compilers built into programmers' text editors and other IDEs. Because C predates the web, there is no one website to go to to get information about it, although gcc.gnu.org is as good as any place to find some central authoritative information.
In fact, the most important single resource that I would point you to on the C programming language is the book called The C Programming Language, often referred to as the K&R book by the two lead authors Kernighan and Ritchie. This is one of the best books ever written on the subject to programming, and even if you don't intend to become a C programmer, it's worth having on your bookshelf.
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