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TEAM-ADA  February 2000

TEAM-ADA February 2000

Subject:

What Ada needs are Visionaries (was RE: Who wants to spell millio naire?

From:

"Kester, Rush W." <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Kester, Rush W.

Date:

Mon, 28 Feb 2000 11:10:50 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (94 lines)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Beard, Frank [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Friday, February 25, 2000 12:43 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Who wants to spell millionaire?
>
<Frank's laments about the advantages and disadvantages of being a Microsoft
product and not catching the "wave" like Delphi or Linux snipped>

> What I miss is the richness of tools.  We have to get Ada > vendors to
become more visionary.

On this point most Ada Teamers are in complete agreement.  However, in most
cases in order to be a successful "visionary" or market leader you need to
have lots of money and use it wisely to market your product.

IMO: AT&T did this very successfully by giving away Unix and C to
universities.  Now almost every college trained computer scientist knows
both.

The good news is that the AJPO before they succumbed to the U.S. federal
budget axe developed a free Ada compiler (GNAT).

Linux is also becoming very popular.  But Ada is also riding this wave.  You
should check out the very active Ada Linux community, see
[log in to unmask]  There are also a number of real-time Linux vendors
that have or will have Ada bindings (if enough of us ask/demand them).

Java too has potential for being a winning wave.  Not Java the language, but
Java the "virtual machine" a target environment that's extremely valuable
for developing portable programs.  Using open standards is a double edge
sword for vendors.  Using open standards allows others to easily compete and
replace your product.  One of the reasons for Microsoft's success in the
market is they freely use proprietary capabilities and make it easy for
developers to get locked in.  But there must be an open standard for the
goal of portability to be achieved.

Ada is riding the Java wave too with several Ada compilers that produce Java
byte code and have bindings to the full native Java environment.

> Is it too much to dream that I could learn one language
> and one tool that would allow me to develop a GUI
> interface that will run on any platform I choose?  Yeah,
> I know it's called JAVA, but that's just a prettier
> version of an ugly and cryptic language called C/C++.
> Ada has the power and potential, but will it ever happen?

Perhaps, but immediately.  I have worked with Ada from its early days when
it was "hyped" as THE programming language of the future.  I have seen the
DoD Ada "mandate" largely ignored and used to turn Ada vendors "fat and
lazy" and the Ada language into the one everyone loved to hate and bash at
every opportunity.  But recently I am seeing the Ada community come alive
again.  The price of Ada compilers and products is coming down and (if you
are willing pay a premium for extra reliability) are competitive.  New
additions to the Ada compatible software inventory are being added at an
astounding rate.

> I'm sorry I'm venting this frustration.  I'm just tired
> of Ada being behind the curve, with their development
> tools being inferior to Microsoft and Delphi.  I'm very
> pro Ada, but I'm tired of defending a losing situation.
> It's a superior language with inferior tools.  And the
> writing is on the wall unless we do something about it.
> There is no reason Delphi couldn't have been written in
> Ada instead of Object Pascal.  One particular vendor
> still holds the view that if  someone will fund the
> effort then they will do it.  Well who funded Delphi?  It
> created it's own market.  Why can't Ada vendors do the
> same thing.  How can we pressure them; even though, it
> shouldn't be our responsibility?  How could we get
> Microsoft to develop an Ada product?
>
> Frank Beard
> SPAWAR Washington

Keep the faith Frank, set a goal to promote Ada that you feel is worthwhile
and pursue it steadily.  Every little bit will help ensure that Ada not only
lives but also grows.  The advantage that the Ada community has over most
others is that the software we produce is reliable, and easily maintained
and extended.

Rush Kester
Software Systems Engineer
AdaSoft at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab.
email:  [log in to unmask]
phone: (240) 228-3030 (live M-F 9:30am-4:30pm, voicemail anytime)
fax:      (240) 228-6779
http://hometown.aol.com/rwkester/myhomepage/index.html

P.S.  Even those I've worked with in NASA and the US DoD who wanted to get
rid of Ada are finding that it doesn't make economic sense to rewrite those
applications in the "language de jour."  What they are finding is that Ada
is cheap and easy to reuse and a good building block for the future.

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