Skip to main content

Brief History of the C Programming Language


Before we start any complex program in C, we must understand what really C is, how it came into existence and how it differs from other languages of that time. In this tutorial I will try to talk about these issues and then move towards view structure of a typical C program.

C is a programming language which born at “AT & T’s Bell Laboratories” of USA in 1972. It was written by Dennis Ritchie. This language was created for a specific purpose: to design the UNIX operating system (which is used on many computers). From the beginning, C was intended to be useful--to allow busy programmers to get things done.

Because C is such a powerful, dominant and supple language, its use quickly spread beyond Bell Labs. In the late 70’s C began to replace widespread well-known languages of that time like PL/I, ALGOL etc. Programmers everywhere began using it to write all sorts of programs. Soon, however, different organizations began applying their own versions of C with a subtle difference. This posed a serious problem for system developers. To solve this problem, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) formed a committee in 1983 to establish a standard definition of C. This committee approved a version of C in 1989 which is known as ANSI C. With few exceptions, every modern C compiler has the ability to adhere to this standard. ANSI C was then approved by the International Standards Organization (ISO) in 1990.

Now, what about the name? Why it was named C, why not something else. The C language is so named because its predecessor was called B. The B language was developed by Ken Thompson of Bell Labs.

Dennis Ritchie. Source :

Dennis Ritchie. Source :

Why Use C?

In today's world of computer programming, there are many high-level languages to choose from, such as Pascal, BASIC, and Java. But C stands apart from all these languages. This is due to its many desirable qualities. It is a robust language whose rich set of built-in functions and operators can be used to write any complex logic program. The C language compiler combines the capabilities of a low level language with the features of a high level language. Therefore the language is suitable for writing both system software as well as business packages & other software. You will find many compilers available in the market written in C.

Advantages of C

• Program written in c are very efficient and fast. This is due to its variety of data types and powerful operators. It is many time faster than BASIC. This helps developers in saving their valuable time.

• C is a powerful and flexible language which helps system developers to deliver various complex tasks with ease. C is used for diverse projects as operating systems, word processors, graphics, spreadsheets, and even compilers for other languages.

• C is popular among professional programmers for programming, as a result, a wide variety of C compilers and helpful accessories are available.

• C is highly portable language. This means that a C program written for one computer system (an IBM PC, for example) can be run on another system (a DEC VAX system, perhaps) with little or no modification. Portability is enhanced by the ANSI standard for C, the set of rules for C compilers.

• C’s another striking feature is its ability to extend itself. A C program is basically a collection of various function supported by C library (also known as header files). We can also add our own functions to the C library. These functions can be reused in other applications or programs by passing pieces of information to the functions, you can create useful, reusable code.

• Writing C program with user-defined functions(UDF) makes program more simple and easy to understand. Breaking a problem in terms of functions makes program debugging, maintenance and testing easier.

As these features shows that C is an excellent choice for your first programming language. But what is C++? You might have heard this term C++ and the programming technique called Object-Oriented Programming (OOP). Possibly you're wondering what the differences are between C and C++ and whether you should learn C or C++.

C++ is a superset of C, means that C++ is the new improved version of C for the latest programming needs. It contains everything C does, plus new additions for OOP concept. If you will learn C++ later, you will find that almost everything which you learnt in C is applicable in C++ too. In learning C, you are not only learning one of today's most powerful and popular programming languages, but you are also preparing yourself for other similar programming languages.

Another language that has gotten lots of attention is Java for its OOP and portability. Java, just like C++, is based on C. If later you decide to learn Java, you will find that almost everything you learned about C applies here.

Reader's Feedback


binal on September 15, 2015:

thank you so much☺

m on October 13, 2014:

thanks for your kind information

Scroll to Continue

harshasri on September 21, 2014:

thank u for giving such a wonderfull information. by this i clarified my doubts. i learn new things.

manoj on August 07, 2014:

seriouly very useful & important languages.

dimpy on July 21, 2014:

its very helpful thank u..........

jyoti on June 30, 2014:

vry useful nd intresting........

maritoni93# on June 15, 2014:

thank you for these knowledgeable article because it helps me a lot specially that im a freshmen student entering the course BS IT

david krishna on July 20, 2013:

a wonder full info and thanx a lot

thulluri naresh on July 20, 2013:

a wonderful information given by u thanks boss

rehana shaikh on July 10, 2013:

full bakwass information is provided

anusha on May 15, 2013:

thank you sir .This information is very nice

pinky on April 19, 2013:

thankyou so much

disha on March 24, 2013:


venkatakrishna on March 13, 2013:

a wonderful information given by u thank u so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IMRAN KHAN ITM(CS) on February 01, 2013:


kumar on January 03, 2013:

really good but i know it properly......good synchronization.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BE CONTINUE ......................OK TAKE CARE.

Uttam Pandey on January 02, 2013:

very very thank to u ................ u site help me at important time .......... thanks by heart ................

anup on January 01, 2013:

thanx 4 Great "C" LANGS.

atish lohar on December 31, 2012:



thhhannnnkssssssssss on December 28, 2012:

thanks for this information

Sirisha on December 01, 2012:

Very good presentation for the new users thanks a lot

princy bandil on September 13, 2012:


this is lot of onformation........

anurag on July 24, 2012:

nice piece of info..............

RAJKISHOR SAHU (author) from Bangalore, Karnataka, INDIA on July 16, 2012:

you are most welcome to read my other articles on C language. Hope you will learn lots of thing in easier way.

ASHWINI on July 16, 2012:


diksha on July 09, 2012:


Naveed ghouri on June 19, 2012:

Thanks sir dennis ritchie.I belive it the blessing of God for us.

rea on June 17, 2012:


Ruhi on May 19, 2012:

Thanxxxxxxxxxxx i learn a lot of information

ruhi on May 19, 2012:

thanks a lot

RAJKISHOR SAHU (author) from Bangalore, Karnataka, INDIA on April 28, 2012:

Thank you frnd, keep visiting for more info on programming languages....

Avinash upadhyay on April 26, 2012:

Thanx i learn so much from this

Suresh Balakrishnan on April 04, 2012:

Yes, It's really helpful information about "C" but i want to know who is the owner of "C"? i mean which organization has developed "C"?

pavani on April 02, 2012:

i wanna want to know about the A & B languages and the abrvation of c mainly thank uuuuuu

siva on March 15, 2012:

its more helpful for me

niteen on March 09, 2012:

Thank you

Pranitha Reddy on March 07, 2012:

thanq for history of c...........

sonam stanzin on February 29, 2012:

very clear brief history .. very easy to understand thanks for the luvly linesssss.....

shalini on February 23, 2012:

I am really happy because this is very helpful to me to know about the 'c' language.

sanjay on February 14, 2012:

i'm a BCA student i don't know nothing.... its very tuff to study... and also very boring.....

gautam anil on February 09, 2012:

its gave me the knowledge that i don't know that is quite better for me but i need a more than this how is it possible

vinay on February 07, 2012:

what is the abrivation of main in c

rita on January 18, 2012:

thnk u so mch

selva on January 12, 2012:

this info know only c history

you fully provide for detailed in A&B language

Krishna57 on January 11, 2012:

Thnks 4 supporting us

M ADIL NASIR on January 08, 2012:

A lot of thanx for the usfl info....God bless u.

teja on January 08, 2012:

thank u

it was helpful......

SMRUTI on January 06, 2012:

wao ... helped me in viva a lot thanksssssssssss

afrozyahya on December 25, 2011:

thank you for giving information about c-language its very helpful to many students like me... :)

sreepadh on December 14, 2011:

good level of teaching

pooja on December 14, 2011:


mannai thenmozhi on December 06, 2011:

hints are very useful.

baristo on November 30, 2011:


Noman iftikhar on November 27, 2011:

i feel very good after feading this.thanks

satyam on November 19, 2011:


Marlon on November 18, 2011:

Thanks i realy appreciate...

Aastha on November 18, 2011:

Thanx 4 this history its really very useful n there r more to learn.........

Its very nice

EMMANUEL on November 18, 2011:

Tanx so much for making it possible for me to become a programmer today with the aid of informations.

la name on November 16, 2011:

thnx for the helps me to answer my assignment....

nandini mvgr on November 15, 2011:

i really proud of you sir,i like c programming language,my branch is cse,thanks a lot sir

bindu on November 13, 2011:

really good

namratha on November 13, 2011:

really good

tayyeba bhatti on November 10, 2011:

thax a lot...........

i m very appreciated u.....

hariharan on November 09, 2011:

thank you

alonna_18 on November 09, 2011:

thanxs its very helpful :)

Jaga on November 09, 2011:

Its interesting to study about history of c language . Thanx a lot for ur info. . .

tom on November 08, 2011:

tnxxxxxxx sa information

umer farooq on November 03, 2011:

i like c parogaraming languag

ammar on October 30, 2011:

many ,many thanxxxxxxxxxxxx a lot for C.............

celyn_sati on October 26, 2011:

thank you for giving information about c-language its very helpful to many students like me... :)

Deepak Kumar Harvansh on October 20, 2011:

Gada Gada Badhai HO Sir.......................

Taswar Qaisrani on October 11, 2011:

thank u so much for giving good history about C language.

Samia Rox on October 09, 2011:

Thanko Soo Much For The Great Info :)

Ann Mary Thomas on October 06, 2011:

very helpful .thanks

dua jan khanam on October 05, 2011:

thenkw 4 info

harvey on October 04, 2011:

major...major thanks to the author......yepehhh

nikhil on October 01, 2011:

thanks to give usefull information.

muralimanohar on September 28, 2011:

thankyou for giving information

sahiti on September 25, 2011:

very very very usefullllllllllllll!!!!!!!!

shiva on September 18, 2011:

very very use ful for c.programmmmmmm

jitendra sharma on September 16, 2011:

very useful and very helpful language thank you so much

sujee on September 12, 2011:

thank u for giving me best information

Er_Vijay Singla on September 07, 2011:

Is Exception handling possible in C++ Language By Using Try Catch Block Which is used in Java and other Language. Please reply me on my email

bhanu on September 01, 2011:

thank u giving Gd information

sai krishna on September 01, 2011:

i feel so much happy in this lab.

jagan on September 01, 2011:

youth rokazzz

dalinaidu on September 01, 2011:

youth rockzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

honey on August 29, 2011:

I have one doubt. who got thought first for creation of 'c' language and also this much difficulty. what is the reason behind this language creation?????????????

Amol Wagh on August 28, 2011:

i feel very good after feading this.thanks

sahil on August 20, 2011:


ninad kadlag on August 19, 2011:


faisal on August 18, 2011:

thx a lot for givng a detail infrmtn which i have could not gained in detail without help of these

tejinder kaur on August 09, 2011:

thanx for valueable info about c......

RAJKISHOR SAHU (author) from Bangalore, Karnataka, INDIA on July 22, 2011:

thanks @Snigdha for your help...

snigdha on July 21, 2011:

AT & T means American Telephone and Telegraph company

swaroop on July 18, 2011:


vs on June 16, 2011:

it is looking good yaar...

john on June 15, 2011:

nice information about C language...thank you to your help.................

rose on June 09, 2011:

it helps a lot...thanks for the information

MON on June 07, 2011:


Related Articles