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Rakesh Malhotra <[log in to unmask]>
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Rakesh Malhotra <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 18 Jul 1998 13:12:12 -0700
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I was just browsing the Team Ada archives and noticed some emails from July
1997 that mentioned how good it would be if there were commercial railroad
systems in the US done in Ada.   So I am forwarding the message below to
you.  (I had sent this message to be posted under the Ada Success Stories
about 1 year ago,  however to the best of my knowledge it has not yet been
posted there yet).   Since i wrote this text,  we have completed 1 more RR
project in Ada and started a new big one, also in Ada.

   Safetran Systems Corporation (USA) have completed a commercial Ada
   based product for the rail-road market. This product is used to
   replace pole-lines for communication of vital signalling information.
   Presently vital signalling information is transmitted between 2 points
   over pole-lines or cables. Our product replaces these with
   spread-spectrum radios.

   The product reads vital information at a location and transmits data
   over spread-spectrum radio (the radio software is not in Ada). The
   product is safety-critical, embedded and hard real-time in nature and
   has been implemented in Ada83 with about 30,000 lines of code. Ada has
   been used for the entire software in this product including the vital
   control software, an integrated event recorder, error
   detection/handling and communications protocols using RS-232 and a 7
   layer OSI based communication system over twisted-pair.

   The implementation of this product was done in the Ada language for
   many reasons.  One of the most important reasons was Ada's support of
   software engineering principles and being able to write maintanable,
   readable, easily re-usable and efficient code.  While a language alone
   cannot guarantee all these attributes,  it certainly has a strong
   impact and can encourage a particular (better) style of coding.

   The excellent concept of packages in Ada allowed us to modularize our
   software easily with clean, clear interfaces.  This allowed us to
   manage changes easily without having developers using old/incorrect
   interfaces.  Hence when the software came together during final
   integration all the interfaces worked first time without any problems.

   Among other Ada features which were very useful are a very readable
   syntax, strong/flexible type checking and generics.  These allow many
   errors to be picked up by a compiler rather than debugging them during
   run-time resulting in substantial saving of time and cost.

   It is difficult and time consuming to go over each and every feature
   of Ada that saves developers time/cost and adds to re-use and
   maintainability, as the whole Ada programming environment & philosophy
   is geared towards doing just that - doing software with engineering
   rigour.  It has been said that Ada is not just a programming language
   but a whole environment and we agree with that. As mentioned earlier a
   language cannot force you to do design or capture requirements better
   however it can have a significant positive impact on a number of issues
   software development and Ada tries to tackle these issues.

   ----------------------------------------------------------------- *
   Rakesh Malhotra                                               * *
   Safetran Systems Corporation, California, USA                 * *
   Phone   : +(1)(909) 987-4673 Ext-389  Fax: +(1)(909) 466-4177 * *
   Email   : [log in to unmask]      *