Hello and welcome to the new-look guide to the basics of C programming. The previous designs were informative but dull. The new version aims to put the "fun" back in online learning. Plus there are a few new gadgets to play about with along the way.

Each lesson will cover the bare essentials and you'll be expected to go away and find out more advanced areas if you are feeling keen.

C is a high-level programming language developed by Dennis Ritchie in 1972. He named it C because there was an existing programming language called B.

Programs are written in C. Computers don't understand C - the code needs to be compiled and turned into machine (binary) code before the program can be executed. Binary code is the lowest level language (think of binary code as a sequence of zeros and ones).

To learn C you must PRACTICE!!!! Reading is not enough. You should also get a C compiler and write and test your own programs - I learnt best from my (many) careless mistakes.

There are many free compilers available on the net. For freeware, shareware and demo programs, try performing a search at: http://download.cnet.com or visit the Downloads section.

So why should you learn C? Well, my reason is because it was part of my studies and I would have failed the course if I didn't learn it! But seriously, other languages like C++, Java, Perl and even JavaScript and Flash ActionScript are all based on C in terms of the way we write the code.