History of C language

C is a programming language developed at AT&T’s Bell Laboratory of USA in 1972. It was designed and written by Dennis Ritchie. As compared to other programming languages such as Pascal, C allows a precise control of input and output.

It was designed and written by Dennis Ritchie. As compared to other programming languages such as Pascal, C allows a precise control of input and output.

Now let us see its historical development. The late 1960s were a turbulent era for computer systems research at Bell Telephone Laboratories. By 1960, many programming languages came into existence, almost each for a specific purpose.

For example, COBOL was being used for Commercial or Business Applications, FORTRAN for Scientific Applications and so on.

So, people started thinking why could not there be a one general purpose language. Therefore, an International Committee was set up to develop such a language, which came out with the invention of ALGOL60.

But this language never became popular because it was too abstract and too general. To improve this, a new language called Combined Programming Language (CPL) was developed at Cambridge University. But this language was very complex in the sense that it had too many features and it was very difficult to learn.

Martin Richards at Cambridge University reduced the features of CPL and developed a new language called Basic Combined Programming Language (BCPL). But unfortunately, it turned out to be much less powerful and too specific.

Ken Thompson at AT & T’s Bell Labs, developed a language called B at the same time as a further simplification of CPL. But like BCPL this was also too specific.

Ritchie inherited the features of B and BCPL and added some features on his own and developed a language called C. C proved to be quite compact and coherent. Ritchie first implemented C on a DEC PDP-11 that used the UNIX Operating System.

For many years the de facto standard for C was the version supplied with the UNIX version 5 operating system. The growing popularity of microcomputers led to the creation of a large number of C implementations.

At the source code level, most of these implementations were highly compatible. However, since no standard existed there were discrepancies. To overcome this situation, ANSI established a committee in 1983 that defined an ANSI standard for the C language.

 

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