C was not the very first programming language. But for the shake of C programming language, the programming world has been changed entirely. It is very interesting to know about the development of the C programming language. Here we will discuss the brief history of C programming language.
C is a widely known general-purpose programming language. But initially, it was not intended to be a general-purpose language. C was specially designed for the development of the UNIX operating system. It was developed by Dennis M. Ritchie in 1972 at the Bell Laboratories. But the continuous development process of C went through a progress. Let’s talk about the initial development of the C programming language.
The first version of the Unix operating system was written in assembly language by Dennis M. Ritchie. Then it was implemented on a PDP-7 minicomputer. To develop utility programs for the operating system, programming languages is a must. Thompson – co-designer of UNIX operating system tried to make utility programs by implementing a Fortran compiler. But it did not work.
After then Thompson modified the syntax of BCPL language. The modified version is known as B programming language. Using B, Thompson wrote some utility programs which was very slow. At the time, to cope with this problem, Dennis M. Ritchie started to improve the B programming language. Eventually, Dennis M. Ritchie discovered the traditional version of the C programming language. Finally, the 4th version of Unix kernel was implemented by C programming language.
As already said, C was not the first programming language. Let’s see programming languages that were designed before modern C.
|1970||B (Impr. version of BCPL)||Ken Thompson|
|1972||C (Impr. version of B)||Dennis Ritchie|
|1978||K&R C||Kernighan & Dennis Ritchie|
|1989||ANSI C||ANSI Standard|
|1990||ISO C||ISO Standards|
K&R C Model
In 1978, Dennis Ritchie and Brian Kernighan developed a new standard version of C. And the first version of “The C Programming Language” was based on K&R C. It is a standard version of old C programming language. K&R C programming introduced several high-level features including:
- unsigned int data type
- int data type
- compound assignment operators
- struct or union data types for function
- void function
- Standard I/O library etc.
ANSI C & ISO C
During 1970-1980, C was implemented in a variety of microcomputer, minicomputer and mainframe computer. But because of the problem of Standardization of C programming language, it was not fully portable. Then for the shake of Standardization, ANSI formed a committee named X3J11. And the committee developed the standard version of C programming with a specification manual for Standardization. This version of C is still known as ANSI C or C89.
After then with some more changes, In 1990, ANSI adopted by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) to distribute the C programming language widely with universal standards. This version of C programming language is known as ANSI/ISO C or C90.
In general, C89 and C90 are the same in features, syntax, and standards.
This is the period of modern C programming language comes with lots of features and standard library functions. Below the timeline is responsible for the development of modern C programming language.
- In 1999, ISO released another version of C programming language known as C99. This version introduces some new features like one-line comment, new data types (long long int, complex), inline functions, etc.
- In 2011, The C committee released another version of C. The development of this version started in 2017. And before the final release, it was informally known as C1X.
- The latest and current version of C programming is C18. It introduced some new features and fixed some defates found in the C11.