Have you learned C programming language recently but don’t know what to do with it? Well, you’re at the right place. Let’s look at the real-world applications of C programming language in this article.
I learned C as my first programming language from college. But I didn’t know what was the uses of C language. Now, wonder why it was taught to us at the beginning of our career in schools/colleges? We usually work on Java, Python, PHP, .Net, etc., but do we ever use C in internet programming? Or is it even used anywhere? Let’s find the answers to these questions.
What Is C Programming Language?
C is a middle-level language. The code written in system programs using a high-level language like- PHP, Swift, etc., is not directly understood by the CPU and this is the reason why it is compiled into a low-level language. Here comes the use of a middle-level language which provides all building blocks that are needed to produce the desired result. C is a fundamental language which is often used as an introductory programming language in schools/colleges.
C programming language is majorly used in the creation of hardware devices, operating systems, drivers, kernels, etc. It is also used for the development of GUIs and IDEs.
For example: Linux Kernel is written in the C language.
Applications of C Language
The use of the C language is widespread and now it has become a general-purpose language because of its popularity.
Areas, where C language is used, are:
C is a powerful programming language that can be used to design browsers. Some of the examples are:
- Google file system
- Google Chromium browser
- Google Open Source community has plenty of projects being handled using C
- Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird – They are open-source email client projects
Language Compiler Design
There are compilers that are used to compile the C language itself, which are Borland Turbo C, GCC, Portable C, etc. But there are many compilers that could be used to compile C as well as other languages which are designed in C language. Some examples are:
- Bloodshed Dev-C
- Clang C
- Apple C
Operating System Design
Operating system (OS) interacts with hardware. It should be built with such a language that has the power to read from a memory location and write to a memory location. C is a language whose code gets translated into machine-level code(assembly language) and it can run on any machine. C can use various system calls and has a pointer concept which makes it desirable. This is the reason why C is preferred in designing operating systems.
Below are few examples:
- Microsoft’s Windows kernel
- Linux kernel
- Apple’s OS X kernel (iOS)
- Microsoft Windows utilities
- Symbian (Nokia)
- Windows Phone Kernel
An embedded system can be understood as a hardware system having software embedded in it. C language is considered a superlative choice when it comes to scripting applications and drivers of embedded systems, as it is closely related to machine hardware.
- Coffee Maker
- Climate control Systems
- In a car-
- automatic transmission
- tire pressure detection systems
- sensors (for oxygen, temperature, oil level, etc.)
- memory for seats and mirror settings.
- dashboard display
- anti-lock brakes
- automatic stability control
- cruise control
- climate control
- child-proof locks
- keyless entry
- heated seats
- airbag control
Windows 32 is a C runtime OS that allows you to write Windows GUI (Graphical User Interfaces) applications. But nowadays there is some designing taking place in C with respect to GUI.
Few examples are:
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe IllustratorAdobe Premiere
- Adobe Image Ready
Computer Game Development
C language is often used to code games for smartphones like Android or iOS. It is not heavy-duty and mainly uses Objective-C when it comes to the development of games. Here are some common examples of games that are developed in the C language:
- The Dino game
- The Snake game
- bouncing ball
Development of New Programming Languages
C directly or indirectly influences the development of many languages including C++, which is an object-oriented version of C.
- UNIX’s C Shell
Also C++, Perl, and PHP have syntax and control structures based upon C.
This is the reason why C is introduced to us as one of the basic languages and thus is very important.
Device drivers are typically written in C, using the Driver Development Kit (DDK); one needs low-level hardware access here. For example-
- Network driver
- Keyboard driver
- Mouse driver
C language is used in areas where the program must be closely interconnected with the hardware. C, C++, C#, Java, and Objective-C appeared under a strong influence of C.
New Programming Platforms
There are platforms designed based on C, for example- Matlab and Mathematica.
We can also design databases using C. Some of the databases we are currently using based on C are:
- MS SQL Server
We all use smartphones nowadays and these all are running on C kernel. We already discussed about the kernel above. iOS, Android, and Windows phones use C kernels.
- Vi is the editor written in C which is preferred by Unix/Linux programmers, it is also called VIM editor.
- The FreeDOS version of edlin is also written in C.
- gedit is the default text editor of the GNOME desktop environment. It is designed as a general-purpose text editor which is written in C.
An assembler is a program that helps to convert the code in assembly language into machine code. There are many assemblers that are written in C language like:
- GNU Assembler
- Vasm (680×0 and 6502 assembler)
- Xasm(6502 assembler)
Design Language Interpreters
The runtime system and bytecode interpreter are written in standard C. We can also design the interpreters using C language.
- Python Interpreter- Cpyhton
- MATLAB Interpreter
Other Use Cases of C
You can also use C language in:
- Networking Devices
- Designing Spreadsheet
- 3D Movies
- Compiler production
- IoT application
- Design Medical Applications
Below are some examples that we use in our day to day life, but we are not aware that these apps were developed in C:
- VLC Media Player
- Microsoft Office Suite
- Autodesk Maya
- WINAMP Media Player
- Bloomberg’s RDBMS uses C as its core platform development which provides real-time financial information to investors.
- Callas Software develops PDF technology. It includes pdfToolbox, pdfChip, pdfaPilot, pdfGoHTML, which are available in C.
There are many programming languages that allow developers to be more productive than C for different kinds of projects like JSON, XML, UI, etc. But notwithstanding that, there are plenty of reasons to believe that C programming will remain active for a long time.
But I believe that C is unbeatable, and almost mandatory, for certain applications. We have already seen enough uses above.