Introduction

In case you don't know why you are here, let me tell you. You are here to learn the computer language called C. No, by "computer language", I don't mean a new way for you to have conversations with your computer. Of course I mean "programming language". In other words, in a short while you will be, what is commonly called, a programmer. So, in order for you to communicate your exact requirements to the computer, you need a simple (written) language, which in this case, is called C.

We'll take a look at how that works in practice when we look at what a C compiler is, in just a moment. For now, let me get your enthusiasm up by telling you about C.

C has become one of the most popular programming languages for a few key reasons. Firstly, C works at a relatively low level. This means there are not many layers of abstraction between you and the machine. This makes it quite an efficient language. Secondly, C has been around for a very long time and has been used by very many people. This means that it is well supported in every respect. If you can think of something you want to do with your computer, chances are someone has a package somewhere, written for C, that does it. Thirdly, C is relatively natural, being much closer to English than the native language of the machine itself and not as convoluted as many other computer languages. This means it is not too difficult to learn, even for beginners. There are simpler languages to learn, such as BASIC. However such languages lose many of the other benefits of C.