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"Brashear, Phil" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Brashear, Phil
Tue, 13 Feb 2001 11:08:46 -0500
text/plain (96 lines)
pragma SoapBox (On);
Actually, there is a C++ validation test suite, owned by Plum Hall Software
(Tom Plum is the convener of the ISO C++ working group).
What is lacking is a validation _system_.  As many of you know, we in the
Ada community (on the demise of the U.S. Department of Defense's Ada Joint
Program Office) instigated the development of an ISO standard for Ada
conformity assessment.  This standard sets down the rules for a system for
testing and certifying the conformity of Ada implementations to the Ada
language standard.
My organization (the EDS Conformance Testing Center), in cooperation with
Plum Hall, established such a system (with us as the testing laboratory) for
C++ and advertised our services.  The C++ community is not the least bit
interested in third-party certification, preferring "self-certification".
(This is not limited to the C++ world -- after the U.S. National Institute
of Standards and Technology (NIST) dropped its testing activities, my group
did some conformance testing of COBOL compilers and CGM rendering systems,
and advertised similar services for Fortran, C, and SDTS systems (and were
even willing to do JOVIAL validations).  All this has now ground to a halt.
There are no longer government requirements, at least in the U.S. for
validation/certification of language and other translation software, so no
one wants to pay a third party to do it.)
It doesn't bother me so much that my organization doesn't get to do this
work -- I've got more than enough QA work to keep me hopping -- but it
really hurts me to think that people are willing to put blind faith in
software vendors.  (The Ada vendors, whether they use third-party testing or
not, are VERY good about using the test suite to check the conformance of
their products.  It's those other guys that I don't trust.)

By the way, the last time I talked to Tom Plum, he told me that no C++
compiler conforms to the standard.  I know from my own experience that
Visual C++ does not support several features required by the standard (or,
worse, implements them incorrectly).

pragma SoapBox (Off);


Philip W. Brashear
Software Quality Assurance
EDS Corporation
[log in to unmask]

-----Original Message-----
From: S. Ron Oliver [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Tuesday, February 13, 2001 10:40 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: The Good and Bad News about Java

At 06:33 PM 2/10/01 -0500, Michael Feldman wrote:

>True. But much of this discussion goes back to the early 70s with
>Smalltalk (and possibly even further, to the late 60s with Simula).
>It _certainly_ did not start with C++, which first emerged in the
>early 80s, about the same time as Ada 83. Originally called "C with
>Classes", it was named C++ around 1986, if memory serves.
>Dynamic dispatching was a technique that was known to the Green team
>(whose design became Ada). [THere was a myth around that they didn't
>know about this OO stuff, but in fact, Ichbiah (and maybe others on
>the team) had worked on a Simula compiler and knew very well what
>this was about.] Some of the early Ada writing indicated that they
>were worried about the runtime performance of dynamic dispatching.

Ah!  Some good historical tid bits.  I knew some of this, but not all.

. . .

>And of course there was no validation suite for C++, so these design
>bugs slipped through more easily than they could have with Ada.

Yes, the validation suite.  This is a VERY key point and one that I should
raise more often.  But it just seems so natural to me that there SHOULD be
a validation suite, for EVERY language.  So, I tend to not mention it,
assuming others have the same view.

Why is our industry so far behind in their view of something so obviously
beneficial as a compiler validation process?  This confounds me.


S. Ron Oliver, semi-retired professor of Computer Science and Computer

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