Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hello Honourable Reader!

I hate Hello World! programs. They are too simple. They don't provide any insight into the programming language. And worst: they don't show any creativity at all.

So who came up with this silly Hello World! idea?

A quick search in Wikipedia shows it was Brian Kernighan, back in 1974. I had never heard of him, so I read on on Wikipedia. Back in the 70s he worked at the famous Bell Labs. The letter K in the awk program language is from the first letter of Kernighan. He turned the original "unics" spelling into "unix." He worked on graph partitioning and the Travelling Salesman. And he did lots of other important IT work.

That certainly sheds a different light on Hello World!

However, I understand that it was quite an astonishing achievement to come up with the Hello World! program in 1974. But anno 2012, haven't we been able to come up with anything better? Open any IT book, and you are likely to find Hello World! somewhere in it. Nearly 40 years later, shouldn't we at least upgrade the semantics to Hello, Honourable Reader!?

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