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Sender: "Team Ada: Ada Advocacy Issues (83 & 95)" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 22 Apr 1998 09:45:37 -0500
Reply-To: Samuel Mize <[log in to unmask]>
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In-Reply-To: <[log in to unmask]> from "Crispen, Bob" at Apr 22, 98 08:44:54 am
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From: Samuel Mize <[log in to unmask]>
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Crispen, Bob wrote:
> I believe the reason we aren't selling Ada is that
> we're selling something that nobody wants.
> That is, we're selling a technology.  Nobody wants
> a technology.
> What program managers, or rather, good program
> managers and their bosses, want is *not* Ada.
> What they want is reliable, safe software that comes
> in on time and on budget.  And if they have a decent
> regard for the people in the field, they want maintainable
> software.

This kind of attitude is EXACTLY why Ada is a niche market,
and I'm proud to share it.

We may never significantly penetrate the large commercial
market, because that isn't about software that's reliable,
or safe, and it's only marginally about being under budget.
It's negatively about being maintainable.

Mostly, it's about getting a new version out fast, with
more features.  It matters very little if your software
crashes a lot, or is a memory hog.

Since you'll be largely re-writing it to make upgrades,
it's hardly worthwhile to add effort to the project to make
it maintainable -- they don't maintain software, they
throw it away.

Bill Gates was demonstrating Windows 98 at Comdex and it
crashed during his demo.  Everybody laughs, but do you
seriously think it will slow sales?

The commercial method is to pound out stream-of-consciousness
code, then spend 5-10 times as long debugging as you did
coding AND designing.  Until Ada supports this paradigm,
it won't be The Next Big Hot Language.

And I DO note that some companies use a better paradigm.

However, the majority of companies work this way, because
the typical consumer doesn't know how to measure the
quality of a software product.  Say there are two products.

One does everything you really need, is completely reliable,
never crashes the system, and has a simple user interface.

The other has lots of glitz and whistles in its user
interface, crashes about three times a week, occasionally
corrupts its own data, and has a dozen features that you
don't need but might find a use for once a decade.

What will guide the purchase decision of the majority?

"Look at all the glitz and features."

So we have consumers demanding, in effect, ever-fancier
Yugos, and a market that has responded by producing
pointless-feature-filled crapola.

I guess the point to all this, from an advocacy standpoint,
is that one big market determinant is how fast you can write
software.  That's why interfaces to standard tool sets like
X and Windows are so important to Ada advocacy.

I've always been able to write software faster in Ada than
C or perl.  It's just a matter of where your experience is,
and what your coding habits are.  I prototype things in Ada
for other languages, to speed up development.

Ada reduces debugging time IN ADDITION to the reduced coding
time, for me.

Sam Mize

Samuel Mize -- [log in to unmask] (home email) -- Team Ada
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