The importance of ‘Hello world’

It is not a greeting, not a statement but a great teaching aid.

Hello world has its roots in the programming world and it would be unfair of us if we didn’t share this utility with the rest of the world.

So what is Hello World?
In my opinion, Hello World should stand for “The first and shortest working step when learning something new for the first time”.

Imagine you had to teach your 10 year old girl how to drive, how would you start? I would sit the kid behind the steering wheel of an automatic car, start the engine, engage the gear and then command her to press the gas pedal (of course I would be seated with her on the same chair). In about 3 minutes my kid would be driving, totally clueless of the functionality of the gearbox, ignition, brakes and everything else about the car. As far as she is concerned it will be another big toy to play with.

Teaching someone how to use a computer:  Introduce them to media player first, before they even know how to switch the computer on.

When we were in kindergarten and they wanted us to learn how to write, they gave us crayons and lots of paper to scribble away. The teachers would then build on our scribbling experience to teach us other forms of drawing/writing.

The point I am trying to make is that when learning something new it is very important to get your hands dirty as early as possible. This gives you the opportunity to practice and apply whatever you are learning while keeping your interest levels high and frustration levels very low.

Learning something new will be frustrating if you don’t make any progress in applying what you are learning.  I failed chemistry in my A-level because I had to cram all those boring chemical names and formulas week in and week out. Right now my memory of organic chemistry is lots of C’s; carbon this, carbon that, carbon, carbon, periodic table, carbon,….etc. Right now I wish that if only I had a chance to experiment with carbon and those other elements may be my history of chemistry would have been a lot different.

If you are writing a how-to or a tutorial please always include a quick-start section; it is very exciting and encouraging when following a tutorial with working practice examples.

I have this bad habit of trashing every tutorial that has no quick-start or has a hard to implement quick-start. This is the main reason windows still rules the desktop pc market, it’s just so easy to get up and running with it.

Try this; before going very far when learning something new (in the first two hours) try to have a working prototype of what you are trying to learn.

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