As I set up my website, I was greeted with a customary ‘Hello World!’ default template post. The temptation to delete and replace it with ‘real’ content was quite strong. As I resisted and reflected, this post took shape. My purpose here is to accompany you down the route of tradition as I chalk out my intentions and road map for this website.
Printing out a merry ‘Hello World’ to standard output still marks the starting point in the journey of many programmers, a tradition that has stood the test of time. The representative code example has gained immense popularity since its usage in the book “The C Programming Language,” authored by Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie and published in 1978. The underlying philosophy was that a basic understanding of environments, concepts, and tools is a very important, if not the most important, component in starting a new project. Everything else would then follow comparatively easily (might not inspire confidence at the moment but please bear with me and play along!).
My website is to have an almost exclusive focus on data science and python starting simple and building up from there. So let us chalk out the steps to a standard Hello World example in Python: we need an installation of Python (version 3.0 is the de facto standard), a basic understanding of the Python console, and the print() function. Typing print (‘Hello World!’) in the console or into a file with a text editor lets Python greet you, pretty simple right? Well, Python is a high-level programming language, which makes it perfect for data science, with a very low Time to Hello World; a chunk of the implementation happens under the hood.
Didactic reasons and tradition aside, I do wonder how useful a Hello World ideology might be in the present programming context. Of course, the simplest Hello Word code snippet could be scaled up to something more illustrative: the fizz buzz and the 99 bottles of beer exercises could be constructive beginner-friendly examples. For a product, a Hello World example is simply the most minimal version of the application that could be scaled up to something useful and testable.
Well, what if I am not interested in programming? I am glad you asked. A Hello World blog post plays, for me, a role as an initiator of a series of events that come along with learning and embarking on a journey. I would like the symbolism associated with this old tradition to be carried over to my blog as I try and churn out content that will hopefully be useful for my readers. With that said, hello world!