C Programming Tutorial

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Every program is limited by the language which is used to write it. C is a programmer's language. Unlike BASIC or Pascal, C was not written as a teaching aid, but as an implementation language. C is a computer language and a programming tool which has grown popular because programmers like it! It is a tricky language but a masterful one. Sceptics have said that it is a language in which everything which can go wrong does go wrong. True, it does not do much hand holding, but also it does not hold anything back. If you have come to C in the hope of finding a powerful language for writing everyday computer programs, then you will not be disappointed. C is ideally suited to modern computers and modern programming.

This book is a tutorial. Its aim is to teach C to a beginner, but with enough of the details so as not be outgrown as the years go by. It presumes that you have some previous aquaintance with programming -- you need to know what a variable is and what a function is -- but you do not need much experience. It is not essential to follow the order of the chapters rigorously, but if you are a beginner to C it is recommended. When it comes down to it, most languages have basically the same kinds of features: variables, ways of making loops, ways of making decisions, ways of accessing files etc. If you want to plan your assault on C, think about what you already know about programming and what you expect to look for in C. You will most likely find all of those things and more, as you work though the chapters.

The examples programs range from quick one-function programs, which do no more than illustrate the sole use of one simple feature, to complete application examples occupying several pages. In places these examples make use of features before they have properly been explained. These programs serve as a taster of what is to come.

Mark Burgess. 1987, 1999

This book was first written in 1987; this new edition was updated and rewritten in 1999. The book was originally published by Dabs Press. Since the book has gone out of print, David Atherton of Dabs and I agreed to release the manuscript, as per the original contract. This new edition is written in Texinfo, which is a documentation system that uses a single source file to produce both on-line information and printed output. You can read this tutorial online, using either the Emacs Info reader, the standalone Info reader, or a World Wide Web browser, or you can read this same text as a typeset, printed book.