C23: A Sneak Peek at the Future of C Code


The upcoming C23 programming language standard brings exciting new capabilities and improvements for C developers.

Better Integer Handling

One of the most anticipated changes is better support for handling integers through a new integer data type to represent bit-width specific integers. This makes working with integers safer and more flexible.

Enhanced Unicode Support

C23 also improves Unicode support through new syntax for identifiers, allowing developers to use a wider range of characters when naming variables and functions. This enables more expressive and inclusive code.

Strengthened Memory Safety

Security and memory safety get a boost as well. New rules for calloc help avoid buffer overflows and other vulnerabilities related to memory allocation. This allows for more secure C code.


Increased C/C++ Interoperability

For programmers working across C and C++, C23 improves interoperability through new compatibility features. This makes it easier to use both languages within a codebase.

C language code

Other New Features

C23 also introduces many other handy new language and library features like new floating point types, integer constants, preprocessor directives, and expanded standard library capabilities.


The C23 standard represents a major evolution for the C programming language. The new capabilities and improvements will empower developers to write safer, more expressive, and more secure C code. When finalized, C23 looks set to meaningfully enhance the programming experience for the millions of C developers worldwide.


Q: When will C23 be finalized?

A: C23 does not yet have an official release date, but it is expected to be finalized within the next couple of years, likely in 2023 or 2024.

Q: Will I have to update my compiler to use C23 features?

A: Yes, you will need a compiler that supports C23 in order to make use of the new features. Major compiler vendors like GCC and Clang will release upgrades to support C23.

Q: How is C23 different from C11 and C17?

A: C23 introduces many more new features compared to C11 and C17. Those were smaller updates focused mainly on defect fixes and clarifications. C23 is a major update for the language.

Q: Will C23 break backwards compatibility with older C code?

A: The C standards committee is committed to preserving backwards compatibility as much as possible. Some older code may need minimal updates, but C23 should not break a lot of existing code.

Q: Does C23 make C more like C++?

A: C23 does add certain features to make C and C++ more compatible, but C will remain a separate language focused on low-level systems programming compared to C++.

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