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27 Jun 2016

C Language for Software Development.

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C Language for Software Development.

 

In this progressive IT world new languages come every day and get obsolete unlike C which has remained in the industry for more than 3 decades and even today there is hardly any language that can match its strength. C programming language was developed by Dennis Richie to re-implement the UNIX operating system which was initially written in assembly language. C is not solely the language of the operating systems, it is the parent for almost all of the popular high-level languages available today. Assembly language is fast and closely interacts with the hardware, but it is simply too difficult to program and interpret large applications. C, is a middle level language which interacts with the hardware and is also user friendly.

Let us see why the world is still powered by C programming. To master any other high level languages like C++, Java, C# and so on C forms the basic foundation for all these. Be it a systems development or application development C forms the base. Mobile phones and tablets which are gaining popularity every second are powered by OS kernel which is written in C. For example, Android OS is based on Linux which is written in C. The world’s most popular databases like Oracle Database, MySQL are coded in C.

C is giving life to Embedded Systems. Most of the objects that we encounter in our day to day life like alarm clock that wakes you up in the morning, microwave, coffee maker, TV, mobile phones are embedded systems which are internally powered by C. Apart from all that C offers flexible memory management(C allows the programmer to write directly to the memory) which is very important in embedded systems due to its limited memory. Most of the embedded systems are time critical. For example, while playing video games an operation must be performed in very less time and due to its closeness to the hardware C offers this. While the list may go on many embedded systems run on C due to its flexibility and closeness to the hardware. C has very small run time and the memory foot print is smaller compared to other languages and these aspects are very useful in embedded systems.

Another important aspect where C programming is used is device drivers. Device driver for any device is mostly written in C. The reason is that the kernel is written in C and hence if the device driver is also written in C it is easy to interact with the hardware. If the device drivers are written in other language the code size, memory and speed of execution will be slower compared to C.

Random memory address access using pointer arithmetic makes it a perfect for system programming and embedded systems. Micro controllers map their peripherals and I/O pins into memory addresses. System applications must read and write to those custom memory locations to communicate with the world. So C’s ability to manipulate arbitrary memory addresses is imperative for system programming.

A lot of fun programming is done in C. For instance if you want to develop a fast game or a web application C is the best choice. We can even play around with bytes and individual bits where optimization techniques come into picture. Whichever application you want to develop C forms the base for all.

The C programming language doesn’t seem to have an expiration date. Its closeness to the hardware, great portability and deterministic usage of resources makes it ideal for low level development for such things as operating system kernels and embedded software. Its versatility, efficiency and good performance makes it an excellent choice for high complexity data manipulation software, like databases. C is still unsurpassed when performance is the priority. The world is running on C-powered devices. We use these devices every day. C is the past, the present, and, as far as we can see, still the future for many areas of software development.

NAGARJUNA , ISM UNIV

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