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TEAM-ADA  December 2002

TEAM-ADA December 2002

Subject:

Re: Future of Ada

From:

"G. Booker" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Wed, 4 Dec 2002 08:31:35 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (56 lines)

Hi everyone,

I usually just lurk quietly, but thought I'd throw in my two cents here.

I've been in the Philadelphia area for the last eight years.  From this perspective, I've only seen interest in Ada from government agencies (Army, Navy, and FAA) and in real time communications (like L3).

I've been advocating Ada since before '95 came out, but everyone seems to dismiss it as "that military language", as though it somehow only works on bombs. Most of the places that used to offer Ada classes around here have dropped it. I think the only one surviving is right next to the FAA's research center.

Three major causes, IMHO, of the downturn:
1) the complete lack of support or mention of Ada by major vendors like Micro$oft. Ada is like a third party candidate - it doesn't get invited to the debate over who's best, so no one knows it exists.
2) the dropping of the mandate for military preference of Ada unless proven otherwise.
3) a complete lack of interest in dependable mainstream software.  Oh sure, everyone will claim that's a priority, but when push comes to shove, getting SOMETHING out the door will win over a quality product every time.

So what is the future of Ada?  It (she??) will remain a niche language - never going away in the foreseeable future, but not taken seriously by most, either. Kind of like Apple's Macintosh, who seems destined to stay in single digit market share, no matter how clever they are.

OT:  Incidentally, I pitch Ada whenever appropriate for my classes at Drexel University. My lecture notes on information technology are at http://users.snip.net/~gbooker/.

Glenn

---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: "Harbaugh, John S" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: "Harbaugh, John S" <[log in to unmask]>
Date:         Tue, 3 Dec 2002 09:46:19 -0800

>I too am seeing a general trend away from Ada for new product development.
>It may be due to a confluence of skills availability and the drive towards
>OTS software (from commercial, govt., and public sources).  Most military
>aerospace systems do not have stringent certification requirements, or if
>they do, it applies to only a fraction of the total software.
>
>There is a tremendous desire to raise productivity and reduce costs.  Some
>may cite a lower rate of defect injection for one language over another.
>However, by their actions, I conclude that most companies do not believe
>that defect rates are a significant cost driver.  The popular hypothesis is
>that using OTS software is a key to achieving the desired improvements.
>Theory would be too strong of a word;  I have seen no data to suggest either
>improved productivity or reduced lifecycle cost from using COTS, but that's
>today's silver bullet.
>
>The drive to use OTS software has created a need for a new kind of domain
>knowledge, that of OTS products and the technology to bind it together with
>custom code.  I know from experience that this is often dependent on
>specific combinations of compilers and hardware.  Most of the OTS products
>are written in C++/Java, and those are the languages favored by the OTS
>domain experts.  Furthermore, large companies do not like to be dependant on
>a few individual with "esoteric" skills.  They are more comfortable with
>large labor pools from which to draw on.  Large labor pools give more
>flexibility to quickly ramp up for new contracts.  Conversely, in an age
>where companies keep telling us that our careers are our responsibility, not
>theirs, most engineers look for the largest labor pool in which to swim.
>
>Just my two cents, and certainly not those of my employer...
>
>        - John Harbaugh
>

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