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The Humble Beginning: The First “Hello, World!” Program

Have you ever wondered who wrote the first “Hello, World!” program? This seemingly trivial line of code has become a rite of passage for countless programmers, marking their first interaction with a new programming language. It’s a tiny program with a monumental impact, and its origins are both intriguing and essential to understanding the history of coding.

The Birth of “Hello, World!”

The “Hello, World!” program is believed to have made its debut in the programming world in the mid-1970s. The honor of creating this humble yet iconic piece of code goes to none other than Brian Kernighan, a renowned computer scientist, and programmer, along with his colleague Dennis Ritchie.

The Language and Why

The “Hello, World!” program was first written in the C programming language. C was a groundbreaking language that provided a higher level of abstraction while still offering low-level control over computer hardware. Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie created it as part of their work at Bell Labs, which aimed to develop the UNIX operating system.

So, why did they write this program? The answer is simple: they needed a way to test the capabilities of the new C programming language. They wanted a minimalistic program that could be used to verify that the compiler and toolchain were functioning correctly. Thus, the “Hello, World!” program was born.

The Code

#include <stdio.h>

int main() {
    printf("Hello, World!\n");
    return 0;

This straightforward code uses the printf function to print the famous greeting to the console. The \n character represents a newline, ensuring that the cursor moves to the next line after displaying the message.

Legacy and Significance

The “Hello, World!” program might seem inconsequential, but its significance goes beyond the screen. It has since become a universal way to introduce new programmers to a programming language. Writing this simple program serves as an initiation ritual, welcoming beginners to the world of coding.

In addition to its pedagogical role, “Hello, World!” highlights the beauty of simplicity in programming. It underscores the idea that even the most complex software begins with a single, uncomplicated step.

So, the next time you write your own “Hello, World!” program in a new programming language, remember that you’re following in the footsteps of Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie, pioneers who paved the way for countless aspiring programmers worldwide. It all started with a greeting: “Hello, World!”

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