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Amit Merchant

Amit Merchant

A blog on PHP, JavaScript, and more

The genesis of the "Hello World" programs

The “Hello World” program is the first program that most people write when they are learning a new programming language. It’s so widespread that even outside of the programming world, it’s used as a reference to the first step towards learning something new.

For instance, this blog also has a Hello world post as the first post!

But did you know the origin of the “Hello World” program? Who wrote it first? And why only “Hello world”? Why not anything else?

Well, it turns out, the first “Hello World” program was written by Brian Kernighan in 1972.

According to this interview of Brian Kernighan, in his own words, he says,

“My memory which is now probably completely meaningless because it’s been so long, is that somewhere in my life I had seen a cartoon that showed a chick just coming out of an egg and you know cracking little head poking out and a caption that said Hello World and I, for some reason, it stuck with me and so somewhere I wrote a program that did that and the rest is history.

I don’t know why it’s picked up. I don’t know whether it will last forever. There are web pages with hello worlds in hundred of languages if not more. So maybe it’s useful in some sense.”

Have you ever thought your hello world programs are somehow related to a cartoon? No? Me neither.

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👋 Hi there! I'm Amit. I write articles about all things web development. You can become a sponsor on my blog to help me continue my writing journey and get your brand in front of thousands of eyes.