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Begin Your Journey with C

To initiate your learning in C, you require the following:

  • A text editor for crafting C code
  • A compiler like GCC to convert the C code into a machine-understandable language

There are various text editors and compilers to select from. For this tutorial, an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) will be used by us.

Setting up the C IDE

An IDE is a software suite that consolidates the basic tools needed to write and test the code. Popular IDEs include Code::Blocks, Eclipse, and Visual Studio which are all free to use and facilitate both the editing and debugging of C code.

Note: Although web-based IDEs can be used, they typically have more limitations compared to their desktop counterparts.

We recommend starting with Code::Blocks. The latest version can be downloaded from here.

Let's Start with C

Create your first C file by following the steps below:

  1. Open Codeblocks
  2. Go to File > New > Empty File
  3. Write the following C code and save the file as myfirstprogram.c:
#include <stdio.h>, int main() { printf("Welcome to Fynd Academy!"); return 0;}

The above code might seem incomprehensible for now, we'll break it down in later chapters. For now, concentrate on running the code.

Executing Your Code

After writing the code, it's time to run it. In Codeblocks, navigate to Build > Build and Run. Your result will look something like this:

Welcome to Fynd Academy!

Great job! You've just written and executed your first C program.

Your C Learning Journey with Fynd Academy

Learning C with Fynd Academy is facilitated by our "Practice it Yourself" tool. It concurrently illustrates the code and the outcome, simplifying every new part you learn:

#include <stdio.h>int main() { printf("Welcome to Fynd Academy!"); return 0;} Welcome to Fynd Academy!

Practice it Yourself »

Fynd Academy Pathfinder

Track your progress as you embark on your learning journey. Best of all, it's complimentary!

C Pointers and Arrays Working with Arrays and Pointers Pointers can also be helpful for accessing arrays. Consider the following array of integers: ```html <p>Example</p> <pre> int myValues[4] = {25, 50, 75, 100}; </pre> ``` Normally, you loop through the array elements with a for loop: ```html <p>Example</p> <pre> int myValues[4] = {25, 50, 75, 100}; int index; for (index = 0; index < 4; index++) {   printf("%d\n", myValues[index]); } </pre> ``` What if, instead of printing the value of each array element, we print the memory address of each array element: ```html <p>Example</p> <pre> int myValues[4] = {25, 50, 75, 100}; int index; for (index = 0; index < 4; index++) {   printf("%p\n", &myValues[index]); } </pre> ``` The memory addresses of each element differ by 4 because an int type is typically 4 bytes: ```html <p>Example</p> <pre> // Create an int variable int myValues; // Get the memory size of an int printf("%lu", sizeof(myValues)); </pre> ``` So, for each array element, the compiler reserves 4 bytes of memory, meaning the entire array takes up 16 bytes (4 * 4) of memory storage: ```html <p>Example</p> <pre> int myValues[4] = {25, 50, 75, 100}; // Get the size of the myValues array printf("%lu", sizeof(myValues)); </pre> ``` Arrays Pointers Relationship The relationship between pointers and arrays is quite unique. In C, the name of an array is actually a pointer to the first element of the array: ```html <p>Example</p> <pre> int myValues[4] = {25, 50, 75, 100}; // Get the memory address of the myValues array printf("%p\n", myValues); // Get the memory address of the first array element printf("%p\n", &myValues[0]); </pre> ``` Furthermore, you can work with arrays through pointers! Since myValues is a pointer to the first element, it can be accessed by using the * operator: ```html <p>Example</p> <pre> int myValues[4] = {25, 50, 75, 100}; // Get the value of the first element in myValues printf("%d", *myValues); </pre> ``` You can access other elements by incrementing the pointer/array: ```html <p>Example</p> <pre> int myValues[4] = {25, 50, 75, 100}; // Get the value of the second element in myValues printf("%d\n", *(myValues + 1)); // Get the value of the third element in myValues printf("%d", *(myValues + 2));// // and so on.. </pre> ``` Or by looping through it: ```html <p>Example</p> <pre> int myValues[4] = {25, 50, 75, 100}; int *ptr = myValues; int index; for (index = 0; index < 4; index++) {   printf("%d\n", *(ptr + index)); } </pre> ``` With pointers, it's also possible to change the value of array elements: ```html <p>Example</p> <pre> int myValues[4] = {25, 50, 75, 100}; // Change the value of the first element to 13 *myValues = 13; // Change the value of the second element to 17 *(myValues + 1) = 17; // Get the value of the first element printf("%d\n", *myValues); // Get the value of the second element printf("%d\n", *(myValues + 1)); </pre> ``` Working with arrays via pointers might seem a bit complex as compared to simple arrays. However, for large arrays, accessing and manipulating arrays with pointers is much more efficient. It helps with accessing two-dimensional arrays and strings easier and faster. But remember, pointers have to be handled carefully to prevent overwriting other data stored in memory.