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C Programming Language

C Programming Language

2nd Edition

Brian Kernighan, Dennis Ritchie

Apr 1988, Paperback, 274 pages
ISBN13: 9780131103627
ISBN10: 0131103628
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This second editon describes C as defined by the ANSI standard. This book is meant to help the reader learn how to program in C. The book assumes some familiarity with basic programming concepts like variables, assignment statements, loops, and functions. A novice programmer should be able to read along and pick up the language.

This book is meant to help the reader learn how to program in C. It is the definitive reference guide, now in a second edition. Although the first edition was written in 1978, it continues to be a worldwide best-seller. This second edition brings the classic original up to date to include the ANSI standard.

From the Preface:

We have tried to retain the brevity of the first edition. C is not a big language, and it is not well served by a big book. We have improved the exposition of critical features, such as pointers, that are central to C programming. We have refined the original examples, and have added new examples in several chapters. For instance, the treatment of complicated declarations is augmented by programs that convert declarations into words and vice versa. As before, all examples have been tested directly from the text, which is in machine-readable form.

As we said in the first preface to the first edition, C "wears well as one's experience with it grows." With a decade more experience, we still feel that way. We hope that this book will help you to learn C and use it well.

1. A Tutorial Introduction.

2. Types, Operators, and Expressions.

3. Control Flow.

4. Functions and Program Structure.

5. Pointers and Arrays.

6. Structures.

7. Input and Output.

8. The UNIX System Interface.

Appendix A.

Appendix B.

Appendix C.


  • all examples have been tested, which is in machine-readable form.
  • it discusses various aspects of C in more detail, although the emphasis is on examples of complete programs, rather than isolated fragments.
  • it deals with basic data types, operators and expressions.
  • covers functions and program structure, external variables, scope rules, multiple source files, and also touches on the preprocessor.
  • it also describes an interface between C programs and the UNIX operating system, concentrating on input/output, the file system, and storage allocation.
  • it also provides a language reference manual. The official statement of the syntax and semantics of C is the ANSI standard.

Brian W. Kernighan received his BASc from the University of Toronto in 1964 and a PhD in electrical engineering from Princeton in 1969. He was a member of the Computing Science Research center at Bell Labs until 2000, and is now a professor in the Computer Science Department at Princeton. He was a co-creator of several programming languages, including AWK, AMPL, and a number of tools for document preparation. He is the co-author of 10 books and some technical papers, and holds 4

patents. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2002. His research areas include programming languages, tools and interfaces that make computers easier to use, often for non-specialist users. He is also interested in technology

education for non-technical audiences.

Dennis Ritchie was a computer scientist notable for his influence on ALTRAN, B, BCPL, C, Multics, and Unix.

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