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What are the differences between C and Embedded C?

Differences between C and Embedded C programming: In this article, we are going to discuss about C and Embedded C, why they are used and what are the difference between C and Embedded C programming? By IncludeHelp Last updated : April 20, 2023

What is C Language?

C programming language was designed by the Dennis Ritchie in 1972 in Bell Labs. It was developed to rewrite the code of Unix operating system, later it was launched for other/general purposes. C language is a general purpose, structural programming language which follows the concept of POP (procedural oriented programming);it is completely based on procedures/function/modules.

What is Embedded C?

While, Embedded C is an extension C language, which are used to develop micro-controller based applications (low level and high level).

If we look around the world, we will find various types of Embedded Systems, like mobiles, digital cameras washing machines, AC etc. These all devices are micro-controller/micro-processor based and mostly embedded devices use Embedded C language to develop their device drivers, applications.

Difference between C and Embedded C

S.No. C programming Embedded C programming
1 C is a general purpose programming language, which can be used to design any type of desktop based applications. Embedded C is an extension of C language (some of the features are there, which can be used to specific purposes), it is used to develop micro-controller based applications (low-level or/and application level).
2 While, writing a C programming language code there is no need to know about computer hardware i.e. C language is not hardware dependent language. You must have good knowledge about the hardware for that you're developing any code. Embedded C is fully hardware dependent language.
3 C language program is hardware independent. Embedded C program is hardware dependent.
4 For C language, the standard compilers can be used to compile and execute the program. For Embedded C, you need to some specific compilers that are able to generate particular hardware/micro-controller based output.
5 We need to write full program from scratch while developing a C language code. The compiler generates some initial code automatically (which may include some assembly language code/files) based on the selected micro-controller/microprocessor.
6 In the C programming language, we can use standard function like printf(), scanf() etc for output and input. These functions may not work, because in an embedded device there may not any standard output device (like monitor, Keyboard etc.). you have to write code to display output to connected display unit like 16X2 LCD, graphics display etc.
7 C language compilers generate operating system dependent executable files that can be run on the same operating system. Embedded C language compilers generate hardware dependent files that you have to upload in the micro-controller and then you have to switch on the device to check weather code is working or not
8 Readability modifications, bug fixing are very easy in a C language program. It's not too easy to read, understand, modify and fix the bugs in an Embedded C language program.
9 GCC (GNU Complier collection), Borland turbo C, Intel C++ compiler are some of the popular compilers which are used to compile, execute a C language program. Keil compiler (An Arm company compilers), BiPOM ELECTRONIC – Embedded training and Development, Green Hill software etc are some of the popular compilers to compile, run an Embedded C language program.

Mainly C programming language (C and Embedded C) is used to develop the applications that are nearest to the hardware i.e. the applications which directly communicate to the hardware. Some of the examples where it is used:

  • To design programming translators (like compilers, interpreters etc.).
  • To design operating system (for the computers).
  • To design firmware's (for the embedded system).
  • To design device drivers (application that manages he attached devices to the embedded systems).
  • To design games, verification software (where we need direct access to the hardware).

Initially C programming language was used to rewrite the UNIX operating system, due to its features (like flexibility, easiness, fast, powerful) it is using since 1972 to till date and it is most important and powerful language nowadays.

I hope this article Differences between C and Embedded C programming will be helpful for you to understand the concept of C programming language and Embedded C programing. If you any query, please write in the comment box. We will be happy to reply.

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