One reason might be the increased exposure of Ada in the
press. Such events as the negative article in Dr. Dobbs
followed by the letters of people such as David Weller,
the article on developing for windows by R.Leif, Randy
Brukhardt, and Tom Moran, on-going articles in OnDoc by
Ed Seidiwitz, articles elsewhere by Paul Pukite, and many
In addition, the SIGAda participation at various computer
shows is beginning to have an effect. Although I have not
been able to help out in the SIGAda booth as often as I
would like, it is clear that people approach the booth
with a positive impression of Ada.
Add to this the increased efforts of Aonix in the form of
Ada-oriented advertising, free public seminars, and the
distribution of an introductory level edition of their
compiler. In fact, Aonix, as of this writing, is the only
Ada compiler publisher which gives the impression of actively
marketing Ada to the software development community at-large.
I attend a few computer conferences each year, and I find more
acceptance of Ada that I used to even though I continue to
encounter people who ask, "Is that language still around?"
In addition, I sometimes encounter former members of the Ada
community who express surprise that I am still eking out a
living with Ada. People in the larger community, those
who have no experience with Ada 83, seem more willing to
hear about the possibilities of the new Ada 95 standard.
There is an apostasy occurring mostly within the DoD and DoD
contractor community. For example, the annual Software
Technology Conference in Salt Lake City has always had a
track on Ada. In recognition of Mr. Paige's letter abrogating
Ada policy, I am told there will no longer be an Ada track.
Many DoD contractors are preparing to migrate to C++. We have
already been asked to do C++ classes for Ada clients.
Here in Silicon Valley most software is written in one of the
C family of languages, C, C++, or Java. More recently, we are
seeing increased interest in Eiffel. The renewed interest seems
to originate in some disenchantment with C++, along with improved
marketing efforts in the Eiffel community. There is very little
marketing effort for Ada here even though it is one of the more
spirited environments for software development.
The Ada compilier publishers are failing to realize their opportunities
too. I talked to a salesman for Green Hiils at last week's Embedded
Systems Conference who told me that Ada was a different venue. His
implication was that the Ada market was somewhat specialized and this
was a commercial conference. Unless the compiler publishers, including
Rational which is based in Silicon Valley, Aonix which is headquarted
in nearby San Francisco, and the others, begin to broaden their view
of Ada and educate their sales and marketing people to understand that
Ada's success depends on its commercial acceptance, we will be in for
a very rough period. Once again, Aonix always has Ada in its booth
at these conferences. Most others, at any conference except Tri-Ada,
seem unwilling to acknowledge the Ada side of their business -- almost
as if it is an embarrassment.
We also need more effort in the university level education
system. Recently, I talked to a computer science professor at
University of Hawaii who makes language decisions and he was surprised
that anyone is still using Ada. Most of the educators I meet are still
unaware of the progress Ada is making in safety-critical software. Even
those who are Ada-aware do not know about the opportunities for building
Windows 95 software with Aonix and CLAW.
In conclusion, the people who are becoming interested in Ada seem to
be those who are discovering it for the first time. My mail, in response
to my column, is from a few Ada die-hards (who sometimes find more to
criticize than to praise) along with software practitioners who are
looking for alternatives to sloppy languages such as C++. Very few are
are former Ada users seeking an opportunity to return to the fold. They
are already so disenchanted that it will be a long time since we will
see them again.
[log in to unmask]
AdaWorks Software Engineering
2555 Park Boulevard
Palo Alto, CA 94306
On Mon, 6 Oct 1997, Richard Conn wrote:
> That's great news, Hal,
> You'll also note that I reported a gain in the PAL activity
> figures over the weekend as well. To compare, about 850,000
> files were transferred from the PAL from 1993 to March 1997,
> and 312,000 files were transferred from the PAL from April
> to November 1997. That comes to 850K in 4 years, versus
> 312K in the last 1/2 year.
> A good question might be why?
> Hal Hart - Tri-Ada'97 Treasurer wrote:
> > I have received the 5-week ahead pre-registration numbers from Rod
> > Abraham, as well has the past three years' numbers for every week out
> > from 5-weeks-ahead to 1-week-ahead, and Tri-Ada'97 is running STRONGER
> > than the past two years: 67 people have registered for TA97 as of
> > Oct.3, compared to 55, 47, & 73 five weeks ahead for TA96, TA95, &
> > TA94, respectively.
> > While I had been fearful of the effect from the changed DoD policy on
> > attendance numbers in our budgeting assumptions and this early data is
> > certainly encouraging, the next two weeks will be even more telling.
> > In each of the past 3 years, the number registered 4 weeks ahead has
> > been more than double 5 weeks ahead, and the number 3 weeks ahead has
> > been approx. QUADRUPLE 5 weeks ahead. So, if we see pre-registration
> > double in the next week and then double again the following week, we
> > know we'll Tri-Ada'97 will be a big winner from every perspective!
> > Even anticipating a slower-than-usual acceleration in registration
> > from this date forward this year, I am feeling a lot more optimistic
> > than any time recently.
> > Tell all your friends that neither Ada nor Tri-Ada is dead! In fact,
> > quite the opposite. "See ya under the Arch" Nov. 9-13!! -- Hal
> Richard Conn
> mailto:[log in to unmask] http://www.monmouth.com/~conn/
> Opinions expressed are my own and not necessarily those of anyone else.