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Sender: "Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
From: Richard Stuckey <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Mon, 7 Jun 1999 13:36:20 +0100
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Perhaps this is not quite the right forum to bemoan the rest of the
world's misunderstanding of Ada, but nevertheless...

Michael Pickett said:

>  but sadly, these people are coders who have used Ada. They do not
discuss Ada in any way that indicates that they really believe what Ada
can do.

How true!  I once worked in a team developing an Ada compilation system
to be used on a major defence-related project, where Ada was mandated
but the developers were not "real Ada people".  We (the team) were
frequently staggered by the questions that we received from these people
as to how to do things; e.g. how to get direct write access to the data
declared in a package body (!), or how to overwrite the values of global
string constants, etc.  It was clear that they considered Ada's
restrictions to be "brick walls" preventing them from doing what they
wanted to, rather than being powerful architectural devices to prevent
them from making errors.  They obviously had no understanding of the
spirit of the language, or the s/w engineering concepts which it
embodies: instead, they were trying to use the same coding style they
had used in the past, as though Ada really were "just another language"
- and complaining that the language would not let them use the dirty
tricks they were accustomed to.

> Is it possible that there seem to be so few opportunities for Ada
programmers because there are really too few good Ada programmers on the
market to interest potential employers in adopting Ada?

Is the problem really that there are too few programmers on the market
who are software engineers  (regardless of whether or not they claim to
be such, or what language they use) rather than hackers - and that this
shows up more clearly when using Ada rather than C or C++ ?  It seems to
me, from what I have seen, that C++ very much appeals to the mindset of
quick & dirty programming, clever tricks and complexity simply for its
own sake which came from the C community.  I find it perfectly possible
to produce good code in C - because I write it as though I were writing

       Richard Stuckey