C is a general-purpose computer programming language used for operating systems, games and other high performance work.

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165
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12answers
247k views

When to use C over C++, and C++ over C?

I've been introduced to Computer Science for a little over a year now, and from my experience it seems that C and C++ are both considered to be "ultrafast" languages, whereas others such as Python and ...
150
votes
6answers
30k views

Is every language written in C?

Sometimes while programming in different languages (C/C++, C#), this thought comes to my mind: Is each and every language written in the C programming language? Is the C language the mother/father ...
144
votes
19answers
143k views

Is there any reason to use C++ instead of C, Perl, Python, etc.? [closed]

As a Linux (server side) developer, I don't know where and why should I use C++. When I'm going for performance, the first and last choice is C. When "performance" isn't the main issue, programming ...
136
votes
20answers
26k views

Interesting interview question [closed]

Today I was asked this question. We have 2 cases with code blocks A, B and C. These code blocks don't share any resources except an iterator (int i). Please give 3 possible reasons why case 1 could ...
134
votes
11answers
20k views

Should I stop using the term C/C++?

I understand C and C++ are different languages but when I was learning C++ I was always told that C is a subset of C++ or C++ is C with classes. And that was quite true until the appearance of C++x0, ...
132
votes
7answers
159k views

When do you use float and when do you use double

Frequently in my programming experience I need to make a decision whether I should use float or double for my real numbers. Sometimes I go for float, sometimes I go for double, but really this feels ...
131
votes
6answers
17k views

Why hasn't a faster, “better” language than C come out? [closed]

With all the new "modern" languages out today, how is it that C is still heralded as the fastest and "closest to the machine"? I don't really believe in there ever being only one correct way to do ...
119
votes
15answers
29k views

Why do people use C if it is so dangerous?

I am considering learning C. But why do people use C (or C++) if it can be used 'dangerously'? By dangerous, I mean with pointers and other similar stuff. Like the Stack Overflow question Why is ...
90
votes
5answers
106k views

How to write a very basic compiler

Advanced compilers like gcc compile codes into machine readable files according to the language in which the code has been written (e.g. C, C++, etc). In fact, they interpret the meaning of each codes ...
86
votes
19answers
33k views

Why isn't OCaml more popular?

I've always heard that C is the language of choice to use for embedded systems, or anything that needs to run at maximum speed. I never developed a fondness for C, mostly because I don't like pointer ...
82
votes
16answers
13k views

Do the young minds need to learn the pointer concepts?

Why did the C master Dennis Ritchie introduce pointers in C? And why did the other programming languages like VB.NET or Java or C# eliminate them? I have found some points in Google, and I want to ...
82
votes
3answers
34k views

Why do programming languages, especially C, use curly braces and not square ones?

The definition of "C-Style language" can practically be simplified down to "uses curly braces ({})." Why do we use that particular character (and why not something more reasonable, like [], which ...
80
votes
7answers
21k views

Why declare a variable in one line, and assign to it in the next?

(I figured this question was already asked, and searched for it, but was unable to find a duplicate; if I missed something, please delete this one and accept my apologies!) I often see in C and C++ ...
77
votes
4answers
45k views

How is a Java reference different from a C pointer?

C has pointers and Java has what is called references. They have some things in common in the sense that they all point to something. I know that pointers in C store the addresses they point to. Do ...
76
votes
19answers
6k views

Is it ok to replace optimized code with readable code?

Sometimes you run into a situation where you have to extend/improve some existing code. You see that the old code is very lean, but it's also difficult to extend, and takes time to read. Is it a good ...
74
votes
15answers
32k views

What makes C so popular in the age of OOP? [closed]

I code a lot in both C and C++, but did not expect C to be the second most popular language, slightly behind Java. TIOBE Programming Community Index I'm curious as to why, in this age of OOP, C is ...
68
votes
17answers
101k views

Is the C programming language still used?

I am a C# programmer, and most of my development is for websites along with a few Windows application. As far as C goes, I haven't used it in a long time, as there was no need to. It came to me as a ...
67
votes
10answers
11k views

Why do C arrays not keep track of their length?

What was the reasoning behind not explicitly storing an array's length with an array in C? The way I see it, there are overwhelming reasons to do so but not very many in support of the standard (C89)....
65
votes
26answers
102k views

Small C Projects [closed]

I am a professional developer who generally uses high level, memory managed languages. However, I am growing more and more ashamed at my incompetence at low level languages like C, which I haven't ...
64
votes
11answers
18k views

How can I convince my boss that ANSI C is inadequate for our new project? [closed]

A few months ago, we started developing an app to control an in-house developed test equipment and record a set of measurements. It should have a simple UI, and would likely require threads due to the ...
63
votes
13answers
32k views

What's the benefit of object-oriented programming over procedural programming?

I'm trying to understand the difference between procedural languages like C and object-oriented languages like C++. I've never used C++, but I've been discussing with my friends on how to ...
62
votes
14answers
9k views

Are data type declarators like “int” and “char” stored in RAM when a C program executes?

When a C program is running, the data is stored on the heap or the stack. The values are stored in RAM addresses. But what about the type indicators (e.g., int or char)? Are they also stored? ...
61
votes
5answers
13k views

Why are there so few C compilers?

C is one of the most widely-used languages in the world. It accounts for a huge proportion of existing code and continues to be used for a vast amount of new code. It's beloved by its users, it's so ...
61
votes
18answers
3k views

Why should I care about micro performance and efficency?

Many questions and answers on the C/C++ pages, specifically or indirectly discuss micro performance issues (such is the overhead of an indirect vs direct vs inline function), or using an O(N2) vs O(...
60
votes
11answers
1k views

Have you dealt with space hardening?

I am very eager to study best practices when it comes to space hardening. For instance, I've read (though I can't find the article any longer) that some core parts of the Mars rovers did not use ...
59
votes
10answers
27k views

Why has C prevailed over Pascal? [closed]

My understanding is that in the 1980s, and perhaps in the 1990s too, Pascal and C were pretty much head-to-head as production languages. Is the ultimate demise of Pascal only due to Borland's neglect ...
58
votes
15answers
37k views

I don't know C. And why should I learn it? [closed]

My first programming language was PHP (gasp). After that I started working with JavaScript. I've recently done work in C#. I've never once looked at low or mid level languages like C. The general ...
57
votes
5answers
16k views

Why are there no package management systems for C and C++? [closed]

There are some programming languages for which exist a package management system: CTAN for TeX CPAN for Perl Pip & Eggs for Python Maven for Java cabal for Haskell Gems for Ruby npm for NodeJS ...
53
votes
8answers
7k views

Why does C provide language 'bindings' where C++ falls short?

I recently was wondering when to use C over C++, and vice versa? Fortunately someone already beat me to it and although it took a while, I was able to digest all the answers and comments to that ...
53
votes
13answers
4k views

Philosophy behind Undefined Behavior

C\C++ specifications leave out a large number of behaviors open for compilers to implement in their own way. There are a number of questions that always keep getting asked here about the same and we ...
53
votes
7answers
4k views

Should one check for every little error in C? [duplicate]

As a good programmer one should write robust codes that will handle every single outcome of his program. However, almost all functions from the C library will return 0 or -1 or NULL when there's an ...
52
votes
10answers
3k views

Why do we have postfix increment?

Disclaimer: I know perfectly well the semantics of prefix and postfix increment. So please don't explain to me how they work. Reading questions on stack overflow, I cannot help but notice that ...
48
votes
16answers
4k views

Strictness in programming methods among Stack Overflow users [closed]

I've been a member of Stack Overflow for a couple of weeks now and have answered questions and read others answers, mostly in C/C++. True, I have learned about some things. For example, undefined ...
47
votes
8answers
13k views

What happens to garbage in C++?

Java has an automatic GC that once in a while Stops The World, but takes care of garbage on a heap. Now C/C++ applications don't have these STW freezes, their memory usage doesn't grow infinitely ...
44
votes
16answers
10k views

Languages on a resume: Is it better to put “C/C++” or “C, C++”? [closed]

I'm graduating in a couple of weeks, and my resume (as expected) lists the languages that I've had experience with. Previously I've put "C/C++", however back then I didn't have that much experience ...
41
votes
8answers
2k views

How to Properly Google for C

The problem with trying to use Google to find tutorials or answers for the C programming language is that C is not an expressive enough name to narrow down the searches. Even coupled with keywords ...
41
votes
2answers
50k views

How to become a Kernel/Systems/Device driver programmer? [closed]

I currently work in a professional capacity as a software engineer working with the Android OS. We work at integrating our platform as a native daemon among other facets of the project. I primarily ...
39
votes
14answers
4k views

What do I need to do to NOT steal “Hello World” code with a GPL license?

In the project, I found a file, math.c, with a big GPL header and ... //------------------------------------------------------------------------------ /// Returns the minimum value between two ...
39
votes
7answers
25k views

Is it better to document functions in the header file or the source file?

In languages that distinguish between a "source" and "header" file (mainly C and C++), is it better to document functions in the header file: (pilfered from CCAN) /** * time_now - return the ...
39
votes
3answers
16k views

How could the first C++ compiler be written in C++?

Stroustrup claims that Cfront, the first C++ compiler, was written in C++ (Stroustrup FAQ). However, how is it even possible that the first C++ compiler be written in C++? The code that makes up the ...
39
votes
3answers
135k views

Android development using C and C++ [closed]

I am a C, C++ developer. I am interested in mobile development. I want to know how can I develop Android apps using C and C++, I have read that they are providing a kit for C, C++ developers but it ...
38
votes
6answers
5k views

How to think as a C programmer after biased with OOP language? [closed]

Previously, I've only used Object Oriented Programming languages (C++, Ruby, Python, PHP), and am now learning C. I'm finding it difficult to figure out the proper way to do things in a language with ...
38
votes
2answers
7k views

What is the purpose of NaN boxing?

Reading 21st Century C I arrived at chapter 6 at the section "Marking Exceptional Numeric Values with NaNs", where it explains the use of the bits in the mantissa to store some arbitrary bit patterns, ...
37
votes
4answers
9k views

C is written in C, how is this possible? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How could the first C++ compiler be written in C++? I know my question goes to the underground galaxy cave where languages are born and involves some lambda math and light-...
37
votes
16answers
3k views

Does it hurt to learn bits of many programming languages?

I started my programming career with BASIC, during 9th grade. I learned a bit of BASIC by writing simple programs to add, subtract and to print. Then I went to the university and took Computer ...
36
votes
14answers
16k views

If you need more than 3 levels of indentation, you're screwed? [closed]

Per the Linux kernel coding style document: The answer to that is that if you need more than 3 levels of indentation, you're screwed anyway, and should fix your program. What can I deduce ...
35
votes
11answers
9k views

Is this a decent use-case for goto in C?

I really hesitate to ask this, because I don't want to "solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion" but I'm new to C and want to gain more insight into common patterns used in the ...
34
votes
5answers
7k views

What did Bjarne Stroustrup mean by his characterization of C and C++? [closed]

There's a quotation by Bjarne Stroustrup that says: C makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot; C++ makes it harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg. I've often come across this ...
34
votes
17answers
13k views

How can I feel more confident about my programming skills? [closed]

Programming isn't alien to me. I first starting doing markup (HTML, now please don't laugh at me) when I was 12 and a little bit of BASIC when I was 13 (I knew much about Flowcharts, Pseudocodes at ...
34
votes
9answers
3k views

Doesn't “always initialize variables” lead to important bugs being hidden?

The C++ Core Guidelines have the rule ES.20: Always initialize an object. Avoid used-before-set errors and their associated undefined behavior. Avoid problems with comprehension of complex ...