Welcome to my portfolio, here you can check some info about my work and, occasionally, some post about a random subject.
So, did you notice the post title? “Hello, World!”, the default first post for every new WordPress setup. Did you know that it actually has a great history behind it? Did you know that the “Hello, World!” represents much more than just a friendly greeting? Many people have no idea of it, so I gonna paste a brief history of it here. Enjoy ^^
Where does ‘Hello World’ come from?
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“Hello, World” was created by Brian Kernighan, author of one of the most widely read programming books: C Programming Language, in 1978. He first referenced ‘Hello World’ in the C Programming Language book’s predecessor: A Tutorial Introduction to the Programming Language B published in 1973.
Unfortunately, the legend himself can’t definitely pinpoint when or why he chose the words “Hello, World.” When asked what sparked the idea for the name “Hello, World” in interview with Forbes India, he said his memory’s dim. “What I do remember is that I had seen a cartoon that showed an egg and a chick and the chick was saying, “Hello, World.”
It’s pretty fitting, considering “Hello, World” represents the birth of computer programming as a widespread phenomenon for the masses.
At the time, neither Kernighan nor his colleague Dennis Ritchie, the late author of the C language, could imagine just how monumental the language and the tutorial book would have on the field of programming today. These ideas were nothing but a research project inside Bell Labs, the research and development branch of AT&T.
Although no one can scientifically explain why “Hello, World,” grew to become wildly popular, “Hello, World” program marks a major change in the historical rhetoric of programming. Let’s look at its historical context.
Still in its Shell
It’s hard to imagine today, but before “Hello World” was published in Kernighan’s book, computers carried a negative connotation among the public before the 1970s. They were massive mainframes, incredibly slow, filled an entire room and needed a full staff of scientists or researchers for maintenance. In fact, before the late 70s, computer scientists programmed using stacks of punch cards!
People generally saw computers as untouchable, complex and ridiculously expensive devices reserved only for the elite in academia, defense or the government. In fact, the industry titans who devoted their lives to the world of computing worked hard to overcome this stigma. It’s amazing to think how we’ve come so far as to some actually feel anxiety in being without our personal devices.
One of the first famous uses of computers in the US was back in 1890 when the Automatic Electrical Tabulating Machine calculated data for over 60 million Americans. In the 1940s, the Bombes and Colossus computers decrypted German codes during World War II.
The 1950s welcomed the first commercial computers, like the Zuse 3 and UNIVAC, for arithmetic operations, but you would need millions of dollars to actually buy one.
From an educational standpoint, most all of the programming language books about the earlier programming languages, like FORTRAN or BASIC, started off by proving a point: Computers are, in fact, useful. This is according to Algorithmist and Researcher John Mount. Mount says the explosive popularity of “Hello, World” signifies an era when computer scientists no longer felt they needed to convince society that the utility of computers is tangible.
For instance, in the 1964 book My Computer Likes Me When I Speak Basic, the introduction talks about the purpose of programming languages in general. Plus, the first example outputs: “MY HUMAN UNDERSTANDS ME.” Using this example aims to reinforce the unpopular idea that humans can, in fact, talk to computers. The 1956 Dynamic Programming kicks off with examples that can be applied to ordinary calculus.
It wasn’t until The C Programming Language when “Hello World” really took off.