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"Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
"W. Wesley Groleau x4923" <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 17 Nov 1999 11:09:11 -0800
AdaWorks <[log in to unmask]>
AdaWorks <[log in to unmask]>
TEXT/PLAIN (61 lines)
This is my last day for commenting for a couple of weeks, and
since I started this, I guess I should respond while I can.

On Wed, 17 Nov 1999, W. Wesley Groleau x4923 wrote:

> Rational's products are not all "chewing gum and baling wire."  True,
> they do have a very good debugger, but some of them do a lot to help
> programs be less poorly designed.

Rational has some excellent tools.  I like a lot of their products.
A couple of our clients find the real-time features of their Ada
compiler to be better than that in some competing products, at
least, better for what they are doing.  I have no reason to disparage
the quality of Rational's products.

Although they got off to a slow start with their Ada 95 offering, the
resulting Apex development environment is looking pretty good.

> There are people who think that Ada is "doomed."  Let's just try
> to look through their eyes for a moment.

I don't think Ada is doomed, in the usual sense of that word.  We do have
large clients who were formerly users of Ada that have abandoned it in
favor of C++. The reasons for abandoning it are rarely related to the
technology.  Instead, we hear complaints about support, debbugers, tools
for development, availability of programmers -- complaints about every
conceivable thing except Ada itself.  Sometimes a client will admit that
they really like Ada but see it as not viable in their market.  One VP
even admitted that Ada is probably better than C++, "but we really have
not choice since it is fading away."

His perception, wrong or right, was his perception.

>  Some possibilities:
> 1. Promote Java.  Hey, we know Ada is a lot better, but if Ada can't win,
>    Java is certainly the lesser of two evils, right?  And while you're
>    teaching Java, you can subtly raise the awareness of Better Ways...

I got negative reviews in a C++ class I was teaching for too often
comparing C++ to Ada.  Lots of people just don't want to hear it.

> I've not given up on Ada myself (yet), but if supporting Ada is a war,
> let's try not to shoot parties who seem to be neutral or less dedicated
> than we are.

Frankly, the war that worries me most is the one where one of my nephews,
engaged in real combat, is relying on a weapon system developed in C++
running on some Microsoft operating system.  I find that really scary.
We are not building toys.  People can get killed by this stuff. I want
us to be building the most reliable tools we can where national security
and personnel safety is involved.  C++ is really the wrong choice, but
it is a choice we must accept as a reality.

If we must build warfighting software in C++, we still have the
responsibility for doing what we can to ensure it is as reliable
as possible. Many of Rational's tools are designed to enhance the
reliability of C++ software.  They do this well.