Features of C language
The C programming language is a feature-rich programming language. It has all the required features that a developer (beginner or expert) would want a programming language to have.
Here is a simple chart to list the main features of the C language.
Let's talk about all these features one by one.
1. Simple and Efficient
The C Language is a simple language that is easy to learn even for a beginner and is super efficient to use both in terms of the time of development and time of execution.
Yes, if you want to create software using C language you can do so in quite less time depending upon the size of the software that you want to code.
The learning curve for C language is less.
The scope of C language is also less so you won't get confused like in Python which has many popular libraries (you keep thinking about which one to learn).
C Language program runs the same way everywhere. It means if you have written a simple C program like a program to find sum of N numbers in C, on your Windows operating system and then compiled it and run it, you can then take the compiled code and run it on any other operating system or machine, like, Linux or macOS, etc., your C program will always return the same result.
If you have a software written in the C language for Unix OS, and you now want to run it on Windows OS, you can easily adapt the software (with some modifications or no modifications at all) for Windows OS, and that is the power of the C language.
Hence, we can say that the C language is portable.
3. Structured Programming language
C language is a structured programming language because we can create functions in the C language.
Using functions we can separate a particular operation from the main program and then use it again and again.
A structured language is not just about having the ability to create functions, but it supports loops, conditional statements, etc.
It has a broad range of features like support for many data types, operators, keywords, etc., that allows the structuring of code using functions, loops, decision-making statements, etc.
Then there are complex data structures like structures, arrays, etc., and pointers, which makes C quite resourceful.
Using the C language you can easily read, write and create files.
5. Rich Standard Library
C supports various inbuilt functions and libraries that create development fast.
The standard library support for the C language is superb and you will see that a lot of keywords or ready-made operations that you will use while writing code in C language are already pre-defined.
You just have to use them, without worrying about how they work.
These libraries are called Header files in C language.
C language supports multi-threading, which means multiple code processes can run in parallel.
This feature was introduced in C11.
A new header file threads.h was added for multithreading support.
Another header file subatomic.h for supporting atomic operations.
7. Libraries Support
There is not just the standard library for C language but also a large ecosystem of 3rd party libraries, which are created by developers/coders around the world, and anyone can use them.
Even you can write your own C language library and distribute it online through your GitHub profile. You never know, people around the world might need your solution.
8. Separate Compilation
C language code is compiled and then it is run. You will learn how the C language code is compiled in another tutorial.
For now, just assume that the code is compiled. Obviously, the compilation of code will take some time.
A small piece of code will compile faster while a large code will take time to get compiled.
In C language you can break your code and put it in multiple source code files. C language will compile the files separately and then link them together for execution. This makes compilation fast.
Another plus point of this is, multiple programmers/developers can work on different code files while working on a single project.
9. Middle-Level Language
The C programming language brings together the best of both worlds.
A low-level language is generally fast, and powerful but hard to understand and write code in.
Whereas a High-level Language is easy for us to understand and write code in, it is also highly portable, but it is generally slow and is unable to directly talk to the system hardware.
The C programming language is said to be a Middle-level programming language, as it allows manipulation of bits, bytes, and addresses, hence providing low-level access to the computer systems, while being easy to use, portable, and supporting all other features of a High-level language, etc.
10. Syntax-based Language
There are proper rules for writing the code, and the C language strictly follows them.
If you write anything that is not allowed, you will get a compile-time error, which happens when the compiler is unable to compile your code because of some incorrect code syntax.
11. Format Free Language
The C language is a format-free language.
There are no line numbers needed in the C language code, or we can say that the line number holds no significance.
There is no need to place statements on a specified location on a line.
12. Compiled Language
The C language uses a Compiler to compile the code into object code, which is nothing but machine code that the computer understands. Hence to run a C language program we have to install a C language compiler first.
13. Case-sensitive Language
In C, the uppercase and lowercase characters are different. That means
if is not the same as
IF in C language.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)
Here are some frequently asked questions, that beginners have when they learn about features of the C language.
1. What are the main features of the C language?
The main features of the C language are, it is simple(easy to learn) yet powerful, Portable, Mid-level language, which is structured and needs a Compiler for execution. The C language also has a rich standard library with the support of extensive 3rd party libraries.
2. What is the main reason behind the popularity of the C language?
The main reason behind the popularity of the C language is that it has a rich feature set, making it a suitable language for a wide range of use cases. You can create an operating system using C language or any other simple software. The C language is a general-purpose programming language.
3. Why is C considered a Powerful Programming Language?
It is considered a powerful language because it provides a broad range of features like support for many data types, operators, keywords, etc., allows structuring of code using functions, loops, decision-making statements, then there are complex data-structures like structures, arrays, etc., and pointers, which makes C quite resourceful and powerful, etc.
4. Is C language Portable?
Yes, the C language code is portable. If you have software written in the C language for Unix OS, and you now want to run it on Windows OS, you can easily adapt the software for Windows OS, and that is the power of the C language.
5. What are the advantages of C Language?
Given below are some of the advantages of the C language:
a) C is a Portable language.
b) It provides rich support of built-in functions.
c) It is a powerful and efficient language.
d) C language is a structured language, with features of both High-level language and Low-level language.