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Learning C Programming for College Students

Welcome to the basics, rookie, this is your coding boot camp where you will learn everything you need to for that Introduction to C class you’ve been stressing about all semester in only a few short, caffeine powered hours. Or maybe you’re a business, or biology major who has always wanted to see what those darn computer science kids are up to. Either way, you’ve come to the right place, and welcome to The Lonely Coder. Learning C programming for College Students can be a difficult process, but I promise it is not impossible.

In any case, let’s get started, programming, often referred to more Learning C Programming for College Studentssimply as code, is full of semantics and syntax, big and fancy words used to scare people that are really just where semicolons and parenthesis go. Most compilers are very finicky with these sorts of things so it is always a good practice to get down how these are written.

In my next few posts I will be putting up articles about the basics of C programming, including printf and scanf statements, for and while loops, and the basic operations that make a C program live and breathe. Eventually these small, and perhaps confusing, blocks of code will turn from a nightmare into a dream.

In future articles I will also be advancing the content into higher level material such as abstract data types and sorting, but for now, let’s just stick to the basics you need to know for that exam or to impress your friends at the library.

Getting Started

First and foremost, the thing that is most often taught first in a C class is commenting, these tiny comments let the reader of the program know what you’re doing with your code even if they aren’t computer scientists. Here’s how you write a comment:


//This is a single line comment, all you need is a double forward slash
//Single line comments do not need semicolons at the end of them
//Single line comments can contain any text the programmer desires
//The compiler does not execute comments (the device that runs the program)

/* This is a multiline comment
Similarly to the single line comment
you can put anything you'd like in here because
it will not be ran, you will end the
statement with the reverse of how you started it
an asterisk followed by a forward slash like so*/

Header Statements

Here is the first thing you need to know:

#include <stdio.h>

Ah yes, the first line of code in any great C program, and although it may look like a bunch of symbols and weird words together, I’ll explain what it means. The include keyword means that you’re, well, including a file in your program. This file, placed in between a < and > is a file with the extension .h. this .h is a file type that C recognizes as a library or header file.

Firstly, this is a library that will contain all the printf, output, and scanf, input, statements throughout your program. “stdio” is the name that C recognizes and interprets as the “standard input and output” thus stdio. That’s all you need to know about this first line.

The second line in a good C program:

#include <stdlib.h>

This is very similar to the line that we talked about previously, and I’m sure you could probably guess what stdlib stands for, standard library. This will contain a few statements that are essential in many C programs, including random number generation.

Writing the First Program

Lastly and most importantly the main function:


int main(void)
{
    //Code will go here
    return;
}

Moreover, if you’re intimidated, don’t be, I’ll break it down and all will be well by the end of this paragraph. A function is much like a function in algebra, f(x), it takes an input x and performs an operation. Accordingly, here f(x) is main(void), main will be the name of our function, just like in algebra how we can have f(x), g(x), h(x) and so on, and void will be our x. Void basically means that nothing is to be put into this function because it is simply where the program starts. The little word “int” before main is what will be “returned.”

Furthermore, when your program returns 0 as it does at the bottom with the statement “return 0;” the compiler interprets that as everything ran smoothly in your code. However, notice how it has a semicolon at the end of the statment, without this the program would crash. Now you see why I said it’s very finicky. The curly brackets simply are the start and end of the function, once the program reaches “return 0;” in the main function, your program will “terminate” and end.

Conclusion

Learning C programming for college students may be somewhat difficult, but with some practice it might actually become enjoyable. That’s all for this article on learning c programming for college students. In conclusion I will leave you with some new material to learn about in the next article on print statements, try to interpret what this small program does, I will teach it in the next article on learning printf for college students.

The Lonely Coder
#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h> 
int main(void)
{
    printf("Hello World!");
    return 0;
}
Sources:
http://nootropicsuniversity.com/adderall-stack
By |April 27th, 2017|Categories: C Lesson|Tags: , |0 Comments

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