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Lesson 5 - Dynamic arrays (vectors) in the C language

In the previous lesson, Dynamic strings and structures in the C language, we learned how to work with dynamically allocated strings and structures. Until now, memory allocated for us was limited. Whether we allocated memory dynamically at runtime, or C has allocated it for us, we always encountered its limits. For example, we had to keep an eye on the number of stored numbers to not exceed the array size. In the next two C tutorials, we'll finally learn how to store an unlimited number of elements in memory. We'll complete the knowledge we need to create real-world applications in C.

Dynamic arrays (Vectors)

We already know that array elements are stored immediately after each other in memory. We also know that the array size is limited. Once we create an array, we have to specify how much space should be reserved by the operating system (how long the row of ones and zeros should be). For example, if we programmed a phone book, it's very difficult to estimate how many numbers our user will have. Will it be 10 or 1000? We could create an array of 1000 phone numbers. The user would then use only a part of it, and it'd still be a better solution than if we underestimated the array size and the application told the user that there's no more storage space (in the best case) or if the memory overflew. But how to do it right?


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In this tutorial, we'll program vector, a dynamic array whose capacity is doubled when it's full. It occupies reasonable space and is not limited in size.

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Article has been written for you by David Capka
The author is a programmer, who likes web technologies and being the lead/chief article writer at He shares his knowledge with the community and is always looking to improve. He believes that anyone can do what they set their mind to.
Unicorn university The author learned IT at the Unicorn University - a prestigious college providing education on IT and economics.
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