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Sender: "Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
From: Daniel McDonough <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2000 00:37:41 -0600
In-Reply-To: <[log in to unmask]>
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Reply-To: Daniel McDonough <[log in to unmask]>
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I've sat on the sideline of this thread long enough.

Uncontrolled "enhancement" of a standard is not a good thing. Microsoft is
just the latest in a series of companies to believe they are too good for

Back when VAXen were the most common scientific platform, I was involed in
a project to convert a piece of software from CDC FORTRAN and assembly to
ANSI FORTRAN-77. My office was the technical oversight of the contract. We
had a variety of Big Iron to test the code on. The contractor was doing
development on a VAX. The programmers grew up on VAXen and were very good
at VAX F77. The first delivered code, which ran well on a VAX, was so far
from the standard that on our other machines, the compilers gave up
because of the number of errors.

When I called the programmers about the problem, I asked if they were
aware the contract called for ANSI FORTAN. They swore they used ANSI
FORTRAN. I went to a line of code, and asked them to open their F77 manual
to a specific page. The construct they used was documented in Blue ink,
which Digital used to highlight extentions to FORTRAN-77. The programmers
didn't know what the Blue text represented. This mistake doubled the cost
to the contractor, added a year to the effort, and cost at least one
person his job.

The good news is the product did eventually work as contracted and my
office didn't have to shell out more money.

A lot of errors combined to create this disaster, but it is a good example
of what can happen when a major player adds to a standard and portability
is a user requirement.

Standards development is compromise, it must be. Vague standard are of
little use. Education about why standards, such as Ada, are good is
critical to the development of good software (or any) engineers.

Adherence to standards improves a companies position in a competitive
market. Subversion of standards (Microsoft's modus operandi) is
anti-social and breeds contempt.

Sorry to go off topic, but one of the things that I like about Ada is that
it is a Standard with minimal compromise.


Daniel McDonough                              Team Ada
[log in to unmask]

On Wed, 12 Jul 2000, David Botton wrote:

> I used the extensions and while it would have been possible not to of, the
> extensions were natural and made the coding easier to implement and
> understand.
> I feel very strongly that when a project (as these did) call for a _platform
> specific_ product that platform specific features should always be
> considered and used if they add even the most slight benefit, to deprive the
> product of these benefits would be unethical in such a situation. (The rest
> of the time support standards and cross platform development of course.)
> David Botton
> From: "Richard Conn" <[log in to unmask]>
> > David,
> >
> > Another question: did you use the extensions?  Did they add value over
> > the standard or were they "trivial"?
> >
> > ====================================
> > Richard Conn, Principal Investigator
> > Reuse Tapestry
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)
> > [mailto:[log in to unmask]]On Behalf Of David Botton
> > Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2000 10:12 PM
> > To: [log in to unmask]
> > Subject: Re: Leveraging MicroSoft's Marketing
> >
> >
> > Sorry, but I have already written a few large applications using MSXML.
> and
> > it has many "additions" to the standard.
> >
> > If you look in MSDN you will see there is a little '*' next to all the MS
> > specific additions in the MSXML interfaces.
> >
> > David Botton
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Richard Conn" <[log in to unmask]>
> > > The tune at this year's Tech-Ed 2000 conference was
> > > different,
> > > with XML 1.0, an open standard created by the World Wide Web Consortium,
> > was
> > > backed heavily, and there is no Microsoft variant this time that I can
> > tell.
> > > Even the MSDN Library entries on XML contain links to the W3C sites for
> > > detail.
> > > Built into Windows 2000, Windows CE, Windows Millenium, and what looks
> > like
> > > the
> > > rest of the Windows 2000 spinoffs is MSXML, a parser for W3C XML which
> > will
> > > always
> > > be available to any application that wants it.
> > >
> > > So, another view of the issue pertaining to Microsoft.
> >
> >