The traditional “Hello World” to start programming/web coding

Well today I introduced the traditional “Hello World” program to my grade 11 Computer Science class in Java. They had already seen the “Hello World” program from me last year (in C#) and when I asked what they thought the first output should be, they immediately answered with “Hello World”. For years now I have taught this as the first program and said how it would bring ‘good luck’ for a first program (the concept of luck is not actually something that I ascribe to).

Hello World

Traditional “Hello World” program written in Java in Netbeans 7.0

As well, in my grade 11 Information
Technology class we used “Hello World” on the first XHTML coded web page we did. Again, for some this was there first time ‘coding’ anything and I stated how this would bring them ‘good luck’ This is always an interesting litmus test for my class to see how many students actually write “Hello World” and how many write something else (I never insist, and tell them that they can actually write whatever they want). Today this made me reflect on the actual origins of this tradition. The Wikipedia article doesn’t give a lot of history but a second link outlined that the first know use of it was in 1972 (even Mr. Wachs was 3 years old then) in a section of a book called “A Tutorial Introduction to the Language B” which predates the language C and C++. This made me reflect on where both my teaching and the state of ‘teach’nology (I want to start this as a new trendy word!) in education has led to. In this modern era of blogs, Smartboards, edmodo, iPads, etc. Here I am still teaching something that started in 1972! Does this date me? I think not! The discipline of Computer Science is one of the backbones allowing all these new technologies to occur and starting this discipline begins with “the basics” just like any other discipline.  Just rambling after a long Monday…. Wachs out!


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