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Course Description

This is an intensive introduction to ANSI C programming using the GNU C compiler. At the end of the course attendees should be reasonably confident in reading and writing C programs and have a good practical understanding of advanced topics such as the use of C pointers , the relationship between pointers and arrays, as well as dynamic memory allocation and memory management. In addition, they will be able to understand makefiles and version control using RCS and CVS.

Throughout, the course will emphasize a disciplined and structured approach to C programming. Debugging and code testing techniques will also be covered extensively, including the use of the GNU debugging tools. The course is not based on any particular Integrated Development Environment (IDE), and adopts a more traditional approach where files are created using a suitable editor (such as EMACS) and programs are compiled either by issuing commands at the command line, or by invoking make on an appropriate makefile.

Who Needs to Attend:

The course is for experienced programmers who will be developing applications in C++, predominantly in a Unix or Linux environment.


Attendees are expected to have some programming experience.

You will learn to:

  • Master the GNU C compiler

  • Learn both the syntax and usage of C

  • Enter the exotic world of dynamic data structures and algorithms

  • Be able to save data to files and read data from files

  • Understand the intricacies of makefiles and make

  • Appreciate the need for version control and be able to work with RCS and CVS

  • Master the techniques for writing well structured modular code in C

  • Know how to use the GNU debugger

Hands-on Exercises:


In addition to the major exercises listed below, the course includes numerous mini-challenges and code examples for private study.

  • Compiling a simple C program

  • Compiling an application containing several C modules (.c files)

  • Creating data structures and applications that use them

  • Traversing and processing information in one dimensional and multi-dimensional arrays

  • Finding your way round the GNU documentation and help manuals

  • Reading and writing text and binary files

  • Creating and using indexed data structures

Course Outline

First steps

  • How C became

  • Getting to know the GNU C compiler

  • The basic anatomy of a C program

Data types, operators and expressions (the basics)

  • base data types and their sizes

  • constants and declarations, variable names , arithmetic operators

  • relational and logical operators

  • increment and decrement operators, assignment operators, operator precedence

  • expressions, casting and type conversion

Program flow control

  • if – else, switch, while , do-while and for-loops

  • statements and blocks


  • functions and function prototypes

  • returning values from functions

  • external variables and scope rules

  • static variables, call by value and recursion

Pointers and arrays

  • pointers and addresses, pointers as arguments to functions, pointer arithmetic

  • arrays, the relationship of pointers and arrays, arrays of pointers – their uses and initialization

  • how C deals with multi-dimensional arrays

  • strings and string functions


  • fundamentals of structures, arrays of structures, pointers to structures

  • passing structures as arguments to functions

  • returning structures as return values from functions

  • using pointers to structures to pass values to a function and return values from a function

  • typedef and its uses in developing well structured and maintainable code

An introduction to data structures and algorithms

  • sorting arrays of records, allocating and freeing memory (malloc and free)

  • linked lists and queues, indexing (table lookup, binary trees, hashing)


  • Standard input and standard output

  • Formatted output – printf

  • Formatted input – scanf, The dangers of scanf

  • File access and file I/O

  • An overview of input-output in a windowing environment

Further topics

  • The MACRO pre-processor and how to use it wisely

  • Unions, Bit fields

  • Date and Time functions in the C Standard Library

  • Diagnostics-the assert macro

Makefiles, Libraries, RCS and CVS

  • Simple make files, MACROS in make files, Recursive makefiles

  • Use of dummy targets

  • Building and using libraries

  • The importance of version control

  • RCS and CVS

Unique Training Solutions for Unique Clients - Expanding skills today to meet the challenges of tomorrow 2/25/2003