25 September, 2011

Hello, World

As many programmers know, the first program one writes while learning a new language is called your "hello, world" program.  The intent is to do nothing more than output the string "Hello, world." to whomever runs the executable, typically to whatever serves as the stdout in the language's target environment.  Its purpose is to ensure one knows the basics of working with the language, such as everything that must be written in the source code file to produce a functioning program, how to build the executable, and so forth.  Its name stems from the C programming environment, where the Bell Labs folks who invented C inaugurated this idea of something very simple to demonstrate basic functioning; almost a diagnostic.

Inasmuch as Blogger is a programming language, this is my "hello, world."  And it sort of is, because Blogger is "programmed" partially with HTML.  Very basic HTML is used to create the links in the middle of posts, like the ones you see above to footnote/explain "source code," "C," and so forth.  This is more or less for me to get a feel for the platform, and see how my posts are rendered.

Well, actually, I want to include one other concept.  I want to explain the reason I started this blog at all.  It was so that longer-form writings need not appear in the middle of my Google+ (or "G+") posts.  While it is true that there is nothing particularly which will limit G+ being used as a means of blogging, the general usage patterns of other users seems to be to keep it short and to the point.  I learned from FLOSS maven +Eric Raymond (thanks, Mr. Raymond) to use this technique of posting the (more) complete thoughts on a blog, then just write a summary of it and link to it on G+.  Unfortunately, I have posted some blog-esque writings on G+ already, but those will remain as-is.   I will tell you, what has nudged me to create this blog this time 'round was the 24-Sep-2011 episode of "A Prairie Home Companion."

OK, so there's one more thing I wanted to cover briefly in my first post, just to clear one thing up right out of the gate.  "R. Chandra" is not my given name, it is simply a handle I have been using on the Internet for many years.  It comes from a character in Arthur C. Clarke novels, "Dr. R. Chandra."  What really started it all (for me) was Bob Balaban's portrayal of that character in the movie 2010: The Year We Make Contact, which is an adaptation of the novel 2010: Odyssey Two.  It's the ID I use to log into many Web sites, so I thought, why not for Blogger too?