Some Were Meant For C: The endurance of an unmanageable language
The C language leads a double life: as an application programming language of yesteryear, per- petuated by circumstance, and as a systems programming language which remains a weapon of choice decades after its creation. This essay is a C programmer’s reaction to the call to abandon ship. It questions several properties commonly held to de ne the experience of using C; these include unsafety, unde ned behaviour, and the motivation of performance. It argues all these are in fact inessential; rather, it traces C’s ultimate strength to a communicative design which does not t easily within the usual conception of “a programming language”, but can be seen as a counterpoint to so-called “man- aged languages”. This communicativity is what facilitates the essential aspect of system-building: creating parts which interact with other, remote parts—being “alongside” not “within”.
Wed 25 Oct
|15:30 - 16:15|
Stephen KellUniversity of Cambridge
|16:15 - 17:00|
Antti-Juhani KaijanahoUniversity of JyväskyläDOI Pre-print