Modern C replacements?

Systems-oriented developers already have programming languages like C, C++, Rust, and Go, notes InfoWorld.

But now, “we also have Zig, a newer language that seeks to absorb what’s best about these languages and offer comparable performance with a better, more reliable developer experience.” Zig is a very active project. It was started by Andrew Kelley in 2015 and now seems to be reaching critical mass. Zig’s ambition is rather momentous in software history: to become the heir to C’s longstanding reign as both the go-to portable low-level language and as a standard to which other languages are compared….

Currently, Zig is being used to implement the Bun.js JavaScript runtime as an alternative to Node.js. Bun’s creator Jarred Sumner told me “Zig is sort of similar to writing C, but with better memory safety features in debug mode and modern features like defer (sort of similar to Go’s) and arbitrary code can be executed at compile-time via comptime. It has very few keywords so it’s a lot easier to learn than C++ or Rust.”

Zig differs from most other languages in its small feature footprint, which is the outcome of an explicit design goal: Only one obvious way to do things. Zig’s developers take this goal so much to heart that for a time, Zig had no for loop, which was deemed an unnecessary syntactic elaboration upon the already adequate while loop. Kevin Lynagh, coming from a Rust background, wrote, “The language is so small and consistent that after a few hours of study I was able to load enough of it into my head to just do my work.” Nathan Craddock, a C developer, echoed the sentiment. Programmers seem to really like the focused quality of Zig’s syntax.
While Zig is “approaching” production-ready status, the article notes its high degree of interoperability with C and C++, its unique error-handling system, and its elimination of a malloc keyword (leaving memory allocation to the standard library).

“For now, the Zig team appears to be taking its time with the 1.0 release, which may drop in 2025 or later — but none of that stops us from building all sorts of things with the language today.”

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