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General Discussion

Daniel Swan
Daniel Swan
18,227 Points

Why "Hello World"?

Just curious, how did the phrase "Hello World" become so universal in basic programming? Is there a story behind this or did it just catch on?

4 Answers

Ben Jakuben
STAFF
Ben Jakuben
Treehouse Teacher

I was just reading about this recently! The Wikipedia page has a good summary of its origin, although it doesn't say why the author chose that phrase specifically:

The first known instance of the usage of the words "hello" and "world" together in computer literature occurred earlier, in Kernighan's 1972 Tutorial Introduction to the Language B,[1] with the following code:

main( ) {
    extrn a, b, c;
    putchar(a); putchar(b); putchar(c); putchar('!*n');
}
a 'hell';
b 'o, w';
c 'orld';

The practice was later popularized in the seminal book The C Programming Language.

Andrew Chalkley
STAFF
Andrew Chalkley
Treehouse Guest Teacher

I like to think it's like the computer is becoming sentient and it's saying hello to the world it's found itself in.

Ben Jakuben
STAFF
Ben Jakuben
Treehouse Teacher

@Andrew, is that how you greeted this world when you found yourself in it?