Hello world program/Talk

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the tradition of using "Hello world!" as the test message was probably started by its use as an example program in the book [The C Programming Language]?, by Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie.

I think so too, but somone (not me!) on the BCPL page claims it started in BCPL. --drj


(external link) http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/who/dmr/bintro.html in 1997, Dennis Ritchie says: 'so far as Brian and I can remember, the Tutorial contains the first instance of a "Hello, world" program.' The Tutorial in question is (external link) http://cm.bell-labs.com/cm/cs/who/dmr/btut.html It is for the B programming language, and was published internally at Bell Labs in January 1973.

The program could be even older (the Unix people had switched to C for almost everything by then; the heyday of B on Unix was perhaps 1970-71). But January 1973 is the earliest surviving evidence.

This is a few years before "The C Programming Language" book, and obviously a precursor to it, since the same people are involved.

It would be interesting to hear more details of the BCPL claim. BCPL is the main inspiration for B, so it is possible someone doing B had seen the hello world in BCPL and "translated" it. Ritchie and Kernighan 24 years later would not necessarily remember this. On the other hand, it is possible some later reporter heard that hello world was invented in B and misreported this as BCPL. We need more details of the BCPL claim, preferably including a date.


The Java Swing example is excessively long. It should only be a half-dozen lines longer than the console example. Ed Poor

Good point. I'll put up a more reasonable one. The other option is to not have a GUI one at all, but I'll probabl lose that argument. --LDC


Would it be terribly off topic to include all the "Hello world!" examples from the old Evolution of a Programmer joke, possibly as a subpage? I don't want to go to the trouble of looking it up and copying it if it's just going to get deleted as off-topic.

It's really not on topic, so someone will likely remove it. --STG