hello, world

It’s pretty standard in introductory texts on programming languages to provide some example code that prints out the phrase “hello, world.” It’s like the computer program, this newly-born creation of the programmer, is greeting the rest of the universe.

The genesis of this phrase dates from the classic book The C Programming Language, by Brian Kernighan. I still have my first-edition copy of this book from 1975 or thereabouts. It’s a timeless classic, just like the C language itself (invented at Bell Labs by Dennis Ritchie). Many modern-day programming languages owe at least part of their design to the C language. Amazingly, C can still be used on Macs, Windows, Linux, and Unix systems (and probably others).

Why does this matter? “Hello, world” is a greeting offered by a snippet of computer code. Despite being enormously old (in computer years), it’s always fresh when first encountered. This, to me, is just like the publishing business. Everything in publishing today is completely different from what it was ten, twenty, or thirty years ago. Whether it’s tablet publishing, variable data, or responsive design, there’s always a new set of concepts and buzzwords to be learned. So publishing stays fresh, as it moves inexorably from ink on paper to photons shooting out of a screen. Yet professional publishing workflows — brainstorming to writing to editing to layout to approval to distribution, all the things we do to move our ideas from one person to another — are conceptually the same as they were back in the 1950’s. Like the man said, “the more things change the same, the more they stay.” Or something like that.

Welcome to the home of Elara Systems. This is not a fancy-schmancy “social” site, nor an active blog. It’s just a place where we can tell you what we do with publishing. And eventually, when we figure out how to do blinking text, a place where we can entertain you.