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Lesson 6 - Linked lists in the C language

In the previous lesson, Dynamic arrays (vectors) in the C language, we created a dynamic array (vector). That is the first data structure in which we can store elements without having to specify its size first. As we mentioned, the advantage of the vector is a random access to its elements. And its disadvantage is the impossibility of inserting elements in the middle of the vector, as well as (even though it's not significant) memory and time demands associated with maintaining the free space in the array for additional elements.

In today's C tutorial, we're going to create a so-called linked list. It's a data structure that's used to store elements whose number we usually don't know in advance. We won't use an array in this case at all. The individual elements of the linked list are stored randomly in memory (they are no longer behind each other) and the consecutive elements point to each other. We can imagine this as a chain, when the 1st element points to the second, the second to the third, and so on.

Let's see how several numbers stored in an array look like:

Structure of array

When we put the same elements in a linked list, we can imagine the situation in the memory like this:


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In this tutorial, we'll program Linked list which, similarly to vectors, is unlimited in capacity but has other advantages and also disadvantages.

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Article has been written for you by David Capka Hartinger
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 David learned IT at the Unicorn University - a prestigious college providing education on IT and economics.