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"Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 13 Jul 2000 12:41:24 -0400
Michael Feldman <[log in to unmask]>
Michael Feldman <[log in to unmask]>
<[log in to unmask]> from "David Botton" at Jul 13, 2000 08:36:40 AM
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[said Geoff]
> Its just like the Java standard from Sun :-)
> --- Geoff Bull <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > > Visual C++ 6 IS the Microsoft standard for C++,
> > The only standard I know of for C++ comes from ISO.
Well, at least in the Java case, there was a serious effort to
develop a true standard via an ISO WG. Granted that Sun tried
(naturally) to dominate it. I'm not sure of the state of that
standard effort - it may have completely fallen apart by now.

In Ada circles, it seems to me that we agree that a standard is
either a formal ISO/ANSI adopted standard, or at least something
that has enough broad industry support to plausibly be adopted.

C++ is an ANSI/ISO standard, like C and Ada and POSIX.

I think perhaps CORBA could qualify under the second definition -
it was developed by a pretty broadly representative group of companies;
I don't know whether there's a formal ISO effort going on for CORBA,
but (IMHO) it's not a distortion to call it a standard.

Visual C++ is neither - it is merely a proprietary product, for a
single platform, and as far as I know, nobody is proposing to standardize
it. To do so would open it up to alternative compiler developers,
implementation on Linux or MacOS, etc., and I doubt Microsoft would
stand for that.

There's a big difference between "something a lot of people use"
and a real standard. Let's not swallow the hype of Microsoft (or
Sun, for that matter) that a company can simply declare a standard.

  * * * * *

One more comment, since someone in this thread mentioned ISO Pascal.
A (long) while back, I attended an Ada BOF session at a non-Ada conference
(SIGCSE, probably). We were discussing the merits of the Ada (83) standard
and of compiler validation.

One British guy stood up and explained that _he_ was responsible for
the BSI (British Standards Institute) compiler validation suite (!)
for ISO Pascal. He described the difference between _supersetting_
a language standard to produce a "bigger" language (which adopting
a standard can't usually prevent), and _violating_ the standard itself.

He then went on to say that _Turbo Pascal_ was in complete violation
of the standard, that is, you could write a program that looked like
it conformed (syntactically, semantically) but that it would break
the relevant validation tests. He said there were violations all
over the place. So with regard to the ISO standard, Turbo Pascal
was simply not Pascal.

I think this story is relevant to the Visual C++ case. If you write
a "pure" C++ program that doesn't use platform APIs, will VC++
accept if as legal if and only if it's standard-conforming?
That is, is the "language" part of VC++ conforming or not?
(I think I can guess the answer, but maybe someone _knows_.)

And of course Visual Basic has very little relation to Basic at all.
Whole different (and proprietary) language.

Mike Feldman