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Subject:
From:
Roger Racine <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Roger Racine <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Thu, 1 Aug 2002 07:45:57 -0400
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So as not to make you feel too alone, I agree with you (I specifically 
decided to get a double major in college for that reason).  I think it is 
easier to teach good software engineering practices to an expert in some 
application domain (Aerospace Engineer in my case) than it is to teach the 
application domain to a programmer.

That is not to say many organizations work that way, with the 
application-knowledgeable people developing the software.  In many (most?) 
companies the application-domain people write the requirements and much of 
the design (i.e. the algorithms), and let others (SW Engineers) do the rest 
(come up with the software architecture, write the device drivers, write 
the code, integrate, etc.).

This has always seemed to be rather less productive than having the 
designers write their own code, since there are going to be errors in the 
algorithms that only the designers can find, and there will be programming 
errors that only the programmers can find, so there are twice as many 
people working in the integration phase.

By the way, back in the 80s, a fair number of the 
Aerospace-Engineers-who-also-program at my organization fell in love with 
Ada.  They saw its capabilities and features as ways to make their jobs 
easier (fewer problems to solve during integration; overloading of 
operators made the software look like equations; etc.).  A number of the 
Software Engineers hated Ada because it was slower to write, slower 
executing, and (more recently), looked bad on their resumes.

The tools that we use to build an application are meant to improve 
productivity (over less-productive tools).  Ada is one of the tools, but it 
only enhances productivity over the whole project.  Unfortunately, from my 
experience it looks like the programmers rebelled against the perceived 
-loss- of productivity in their specific job: creating the software.

Roger Racine

At 08:57 PM 7/31/2002 , Dale Jr, William wrote:
>Ada is not used in finance here in the US to any large degree. This is part
>of the same issue I have with other domains.   The leaders in these
>industries are not "S/W" people and they stick to what they know.
>
>There is no S/W Ph.D. that is ever going to design a spacecraft!  Or a
>bank/financial system. Unless he also has a Ph.D. in Astrophysics or
>Finance.
>
>My point is that we should be putting effort into teaching S/W Engineering
>to ALL engineers or other target domains.   Making more S/W Engineers who
>will be relegated to doing CM or managing the CMM/ISO Level of the
>organization is not going to improve S/W architectures.
>
>Bill Dale
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Gloster [SMTP:[log in to unmask]]
> > Sent: Tuesday, July 30, 2002 3:40 AM
> > To:   [log in to unmask]
> > Subject:      Re: What's Ada's life expectancy?
> >
> > Wiiliam Dale Jr proposed:
> >
> > "The difference is that COBOL found a large user base - finance - that has
> > great need and deep pockets. [..]"
> >
> > Banks used to use Ada too. Not all have abandoned it, but to quote from a
> > recent
> > recruitment agency's advertisement for financial ADA programmers:
> >
> > "Vorgesehen ist eine Migration von Ada über die nächsten Jahre auf eine
> > andere
> > OO-Sprache" (a migration from Ada to another OO language over the coming
> > years
> > is foreseen) ( HTTP://WWW.Iares.Ch/account660/cgi-bin/Reporter.exe?ID=303
> > ).
> > (Actually I overlooked the word "andere" (other) before and wrote a letter
> >
> > pointing out that Ada 83 (which the job is for) has been followed by the
> > OO Ada
> > 95.)
> >
> > (The webpage correctly has "Ada", but an email from the company had
> > "ADA".)
> >
> > Anyhow, Dirk Craeynest has reported on many Ada jobs announced in a weekly
> >
> > general jobs emailed newsletter.

Roger Racine
Draper Laboratory, MS 31
555 Technology Sq.
Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
617-258-2489
617-258-3939 Fax

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