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Dynamic Allocation and C

The C language supports two kinds of memory allocation through the variables in C programs:

Dynamic allocation is not supported by C variables; there is no storage class "dynamic", and there can never be a C variable whose value is stored in dynamically allocated space. The only way to refer to dynamically allocated space is through a pointer. Because it is less convenient, and because the actual process of dynamic allocation requires more computation time, programmers use dynamic allocation only when neither static nor automatic allocation will serve.

For example, if you want to allocate dynamically some space to hold a struct foobar, you cannot declare a variable of type struct foobar whose contents are the dynamically allocated space. But you can declare a variable of pointer type struct foobar * and assign it the address of the space. Then you can use the operators `*' and `->' on this pointer variable to refer to the contents of the space:

  struct foobar *ptr
     = (struct foobar *) malloc (sizeof (struct foobar));
  ptr->name = x;
  ptr->next = current_foobar;
  current_foobar = ptr;

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