A ‘C’ PROGRAMMER EXPOSES HIMSELF
By Dave Russ
Never once flinching from that hard cruel stare, the lovely mantissa
threw off her flimsy wrap and pressed her heaving bosom into the dark matting
that was his chest... What was that Paul?... 80-BUS still 4 months behind...
an article on ‘C’?... But I was just!!... Oh alright then.
Well since my debut article on GSX I have been harbouring the thought
that my as yet untapped talent for generating copious blurb could be put to
better use in writing popular smut, however the frontiers of science will
never be pushed much further if I adopt that attitude so I had better move on
to more serious matters.
Have you ever heard the conversation that went like, “‘C’, yes I’ve had a
look at it but could never get the hang of it somehow, I just stick to BASIC
and assembler now”. I used to hear this quite often, and indeed have had to
suffer the guffaws of non ‘C’ afficianados when confronted with a seemingly
incomprehensible source listing. It did worry me at one time, and I was
considering having a complex about the fact that I actually liked using ‘C’.
Now, however, my confidence is restored as I have heard a buzz that the mighty
Digital Research is writing BIOS material in ‘C’, and it is whispered in the
hushed cloisters of Gemini Microcomputers that your own favourite agony aunt
David Parkinson uses it. So, in such esteemed company, I will finally come out
of the closet and expose myself in public once and for all.
Really folks once you get used to the language it seems like all your
prayers have been answered; in essence ‘C’ is a high level assembler which
also allows you to structure your programs according to the high ideals of the
computer academics. It was originally derived from BCPL I’m told but never
having seen that I don’t know, however, I suppose that the best comparison I
can make is to Pascal, but with a lot less typing involved. Concerning the
pedigree of this language I should say that ‘C’ and UNIX go hand in hand, more
so in the past as a large proportion of the UNIX operating system is written
in ‘C’ with only the nitty gritty way down there in the UNIX kernel being
directly coded in assembler. Considering present company though I will drop
the subject of UNIX as several ‘C’ compilers are available for the CP/M
I have in the past programmed in BASIC, COBOL and FORTRAN and I must say
that in terms of program structure and flexibility ‘C’ beats these hands down
for the type of applications that I have been concerned with. Of course there
is no getting round the fact that for certain parts of programs assembler code
is just going to have to be used for speed, but this is no problem as ‘’ will
allow you to either directly include assembler mnemonics in a source listing
or link in external modules using L80 or the suchlike, depending on your
compiler. This allows you to create the controlling software without a dollar
terminated string or BDOS call in sight and when necessary call the assembler
section to do its stuff and even pass parameters to it if required.
Now let me say at this stage that I bypassed Pascal for ‘C’ and thus I’m
not very familiar with it at all, so all you Pascal freaks can sit down now
and stop shouting ‘But I can do that’, I would never deride Pascal as I would
be using it myself now had I not taken to ‘C’.