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TEAM-ADA  November 1996

TEAM-ADA November 1996

Subject:

NRC Report

From:

"David J.A. Koogler" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Tue, 12 Nov 1996 12:19:06 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (99 lines)

Adaphiles,

This anger at the NRC report seems misguided. The problem really is not
what
a branch of the Federal Government decides to do or how it goes about
doing it,
but rather how do we popularize Ada.

The Adaphobes will twist and turn any Government study, pro or con, to
their
advantage.  If the report is pro-Ada, they will rely on anti-government
sentiment to proclaim a whitewash.  An anti-Ada report draws the 'I told
you so' response.  Either way, Ada looses.

The real battle lies in proving Ada's worth, not in the DoD backwaters
but in
the commercial marketplace.  Remember, C's dominate position is only a
recent
occurence and is primarily due to the success of Unix (where would C be
with
out Unix?) and the 'workstation' concept. The advent of the IBM PC
reinforced
C's position simply because it was easy to write a C compiler that ran
in the
limited memory and disk available on those machines. Does anyone
remember
that the MacOS was written in Pascal? And that Microsoft based Windows
upon
MacOS and wrote Windows in Pascal? (Look at all those '_pascal'
interface modifiers in the Windows headers.) Microsoft's switch to C
happened in the
1985 time frame.

When the two most popular platforms, Unix and Windows, went to C, were
was the commercial world going to go? To quote a former British Prime
Minister "There
is no alternative".

The commercial world is not to happy with C. Look at the success of
VisualBasic, Delphi, or any of the database 4GL's such as Progress.
What the commercial
world needs a compelling case to use Ada, and no government report is
going
to supply that case.

Sometime ago, on this mailing list, Paul Pukite made a case for a
'killer
application' written in and based upon Ada, something along the lines of
Borland's Delphi. Give people a reason to look at Ada. One 'killer
application'
is a far more effective argument than thousands of pages of reasoned
thought.

Would it not be more fruitful to apply our minds to finding and building
such
applications, than to be expending so much energy on a talking-shop
paper?

Dave Koogler
Boolean Solutions, Ltd.

P.S.
I am an example of the kind of person Ada needs to attract.  As a
consulting
engineer I have seen scores of applications writen in dozens of
languages and semi-languages. My earning come from fixing broken systems
predominately
written in C/C++.

I wanted a language I could depend upon for writing my own applications.
Even
after working in C for a decade, the language was never satisfying. I
worked
very hard at understanding C++, but after five years I realized C++ is a
black
hole because no two compilers accepted the same language and implemented
the same semantics (this realization came after a contract where I was
responsible for testing a C++ optimizer for a large computer system's
vendor).

My search for a replacement lead me to Gnat and Ada 95. I rejected Ada95
because it appeared too complex (I printed out the annotated language
reference manual when I should have gone for the unannoted manual!) I
briefly looked at Modula-3 but gave up since I could not get a language
reference and I found it
full of inconsistencies. Lucky for me that I took another look Gnat.
Ada95 had
everything I wanted in a systems implementation language. For the last
two years, Ada has been my language of choice, and it won on its
technical merits.

The point is that Ada can win. The 'killer application' for me was the
Gnat compiler--It ran on all the platforms I need and its price was
right. Without Gnat, I would never have even looked. People are lead by
emotions.
Show them something that excites them and you have made the sale. Given
the
right application, Ada can win over many more just like me.

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