I'm trying to write a concise linked list implementation in C and so far it looks pretty good. I'd like some pointers (pun) on how I can improve what I've got in terms of naming, consistency, efficiency, and anything else that's relevant.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

typedef struct node {
    int data;
   struct node *next;

int length(node_t *head){
    int length = 0;
    for(node_t *cur = head; cur; cur = cur->next)
    return length;

void printList(node_t *head){
    for(node_t *cur = head; cur; cur = cur->next)
        printf("%d\n", cur->data);

void deleteList(node_t **head){
    node_t *current = *head, *next;
    while (current != NULL) {
        next = current->next;
        current = next;
   *head = NULL;

void deleteNode(node_t *node, node_t *head){
    node_t *cur = head;
    while (cur->next != node)
        cur = cur->next;
    cur->next = node->next;
    free(node); node=NULL;

node_t *getNode(int key, node_t *head){
    node_t *node = head;
        if (node->data == key){ return node; }
        else { node = node->next; }
    return NULL;

node_t *insert(int key, node_t *head){
    node_t *cur = head;
        cur = cur->next;
    node_t *new = malloc(sizeof(node_t));
    if (new == NULL){ exit(-1); }
    new->data = key;
    new->next = NULL;
    cur->next = new;
    return new;

node_t *createList(int key) {
    node_t *head = malloc(sizeof(node_t));
    if (head == NULL){ exit(-1); }
    head->data = key;
    head->next = NULL;
    return head;

int main(){
    node_t *head = createList(1);
    insert(2, head);
    node_t *nodeA = insert(3, head);
    insert(4, head);
    printf("1) Printing list:\n");
    node_t *nodeB = getNode(4, head);
    deleteNode(nodeA, head);
    deleteNode(nodeB, head);
    printf("2) Printing list:\n");
    printf("3) Printing list:\n");
    return 0;
  • \$\begingroup\$ Always use opening and closing brackets {} it can lead to ugly bugs and it doesn't give you any benefit if you don't use them. Also go on a new line after an opening bracket { code is easier to read anf it keeps it cleaner \$\endgroup\$ – Frode Akselsen Feb 16 '17 at 4:24

Bug: can't delete head node

Your delete_node() function doesn't work if the node you want to delete is the head of the list. In fact, the function signature can't work:

void deleteNode(node_t *node, node_t *head);

Since the head pointer can change if you delete it, your signature has to be one of these two instead;

void deleteNode(node_t *node, node_t **head);
node_t *deleteNode(node_t *node, node_t *head);

Insert should be renamed

Since your "insert" function adds to the end of the list, I think it should be called append() instead.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The head node bug I understand, but the insert one I had intended to write an append and prepend in the future. \$\endgroup\$ – Chirality Feb 16 '17 at 0:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Chirality But isn't insert() already the append() function? \$\endgroup\$ – JS1 Feb 16 '17 at 3:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sure is. Valid comment, just explaining where I planned on going with it. \$\endgroup\$ – Chirality Feb 16 '17 at 4:43

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