History of the C Programming Language

The C programming language was first developed between 1969 and 1973 by a team from Bell Telephone Laboratories. Many of the principles and ideas used in this language were taken from the programming language named ‘B’ (created by Ken Thompson) as well as its ancestors BCPL and CPL (Combined Programming Language and Basic Combined Programming Language respectively). Dennis Ritchie was the main person responsible for converting the C language from B but there were many others that helped such as: Ken Thompson, Alan Snyder, Steven C. Johnson, and Michael Lesk.

People soon realized C’s power and flexibility. Because of this, the Unix operating system which was originally written in assembly language, was re-written in C. Because of this popularity many colleges and universities chose to adopt this new language because of its ties to Unix and the abundant availability of compilers.

By 1983 there were many different C compilers as well as many different interpretations of the language. This lead to portability issues (the ability to use the same code on different computer systems) and by the end of the year the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) formed a committee to establish a standard specification of C. By 1989, the standard was ratified and was referred to as ANSI C, Standard C or C89.

In 1990, the ANSI C (with a few minor modifications) was adopted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and became known as C90. Since then the only large revision to the standard was in 1999. This new revision was adopted by ANSI in March of 2000 and is know called C99. This is the most recent standardization of the C language and is the most commonly used.

While C hasn’t had any major revisions in almost eight years it has influenced many different languages. A few of the more notably languages include: C++, D and Objective-C.

The link included is a picture of the history of Programming.

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