One questionable notion in the NRC report is that language is a minor
part of the software engineering process. This is probably wrong.
Consider the notion of linguistic continuity. The language of the
requirements processs should be consistent with language of the
analysis which should, in turn, be conistent with design language,
which should be consistent with the implementation language. By relegating
the programming language decision to a subordinate role, we are likely to
make that decision on the basis of programmer preference or even on the
basis of some even more arbitrary reasons.
By selecting the programming language in advance, especially a language
such as Ada 95, we bias the rest of the project methods in favor of a
software engineering approach.
I realize this is a different point-of-view from that espoused by many on
the committee, but I am persuaded that linguistic continuity is an important
feature of successful software construction, and this continuity should
include early selection of an appropriate software engineering language.
To establish and enforce a policy in favor of a particular language, such
as Ada, the DoD can look forward to better adherence to linguistic
continuity for the entire project.
This is not unlike many commercial organizations which standardize on
some language, often choosing that language based on criteria that
come close to being whimsical. The DoD should continue to standardize
on Ada because it is the right thing to do. It is baffling to see a
report as important as the NRC report based on admittedly inconclusive data.
I would be interested in seeing some of the members of the study group
write their own views, polling the jury so to speak, to see where they
stand with regard to the very odd recommendations published in the final
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