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Sender: "Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
From: Todd Coniam <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 2 Dec 1998 19:41:18 EST
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(Tom Moran said:)
>Toward this end I suggest, in the absence of more
>complete data, comments from folks here about how they got into using
>Ada and why they stayed.
> ...

In the 80's I had been learning and using a variety of
languages in and out of school:  BASIC, 8080/Z80
Assembly, COBOL, FORTRAN, Pascal, PL/I, and C (K&R).
I even briefly tried my hand at Forth, Lisp, and APL.

Several years after joining the Air Force, I tried
retraining into the computer programming carreer
field.  I found I. C. Pyle's book on Ada at the
base library.  Since I knew at that time (1988?)
that Ada was the standard DoD language, I thought
I'd get ahead and learn it before going to the
programmer's technical trainging school.  I loved
the way Ada could express ideas through types and
packages.  Ada's tasking, generics, and exceptions
along with a built in software engineering approach
to programming clinched the deal.

I've stayed with Ada because I still believe that it
is one of the best general purpose computer languages

[on soapbox]
I do believe that Ada was given a bad reputation
in the 80's when many compilers/environments were not up
to the speed and ease of C and Pascal.  Had Borland
produced a "Turbo-Ada" compiler, or Microsoft a
"Visual-Ada" compiler, or a slew of "Learn Ada in X days"
books were published, things could have been quite
different.  I believe the AJPO missed the boat on that
one.  I'm not saying the technolgy of the day was'nt
good, just too expensive, invisible to the buyers,
or not available on the right platform for the
average person to own and make popular.

The failure to enforce the "Mandate" also contributed.  However, the lack of
supervision and control over
projects could be considered just another (still
active) part of the "Software Crisis" that the
DoD was/is trying to solve.
[off soapbox]

Todd Coniam
Member - Team Ada