Why is the C language important?

The following list illustrates the importance the C programming language, in no particular order:

  • The C language is small and relatively easy to learn.
  • C compilers can produce highly efficient code.
  • C compilers and cross-compilers are widely available for a large array of hardware targets, from tiny eight-bit microcontrollers to giant mainframes. The availability of compilers enables highly portable source code to be written, when appropriate disciplines are followed.
  • C, although it is a high-level language, provides access to some fundamental low-level concepts such as memory addresses and dynamic memory management – concepts that are hidden by many other languages.
  • C has been used to implement (in whole or in part) several major operating systems and kernels, including Unix, Linux, MacOS, and Windows.
  • C has been used to implement (in whole or in part) runtime environments supporting execution of platform-independent code (e.g., the Java Virtual Machine, the .NET CLR, etc.).
  • C is often used to implement efficient libraries for less-efficient languages. For example, many libraries for Python are implemented in C.
  • Compilers and interpreters for a wide variety of programming languages have been written in C.
  • C remains the most popular programming language for programming microcontrollers in embedded systems.
  • C has influenced the following programming languages: PHP, C++, LPC, Perl, Vala, Objective-C, PCASTL, AWK, JavaScript, Limbo, D, C#, MOO, SISAL, Pike, ECMAScript, Joy, C–, Ferite, Yoix, ColdC, Aikido Programming Language, Nickle, BitC, Processing, NWScript, SAC programming language, Vala, Kaya, MIVA Script, Corba IDL, QuakeC, S-Lang, Cilk, Unified Parallel C, Split-C, Claire, VisSim, Java, Go, AMPL, Alpoca, Draco, S, Alef, Game Maker Language, BAIL.