On Wed, 1 Dec 1999, Richard L. Conn wrote:

> William,
>
> I really have to disagree with your statement about
> VB.  We are talking about teaching Freshmen, not
> Juniors or Seniors.  In a very practical sense, if you
> try to tell Freshmen how great generics, inheritance,
> etc., are, it's likely that those who don't quit after
> the first two weeks will have not done so because they
> fell asleep and did not wake up in time ;-).  I used
> to think Ada for Freshmen was the way to go as well
> until I actually started teaching Freshmen (all my
> previous courses were graduate level or industry).

First, no one can ever fault Dr. Conn for his dedication
and contribution to the promotion and use of the Ada
language.  His comments regarding Microsoft simply reflect
the reality that we must choose our targets carefully when
promoting Ada.  At the same time, we do have tools available
to satisfy the requirements of using Ada as a first
language on a variety of platforms.

One of those tools is CLAW.  It can be used in conjunction with
any of the existing Ada compilers, allows one to create simple
Windows programs beyond the "Hello World" variety, and has a
GUI builder that can be used by novices to create interesting
little programs.  We now have two client sites that are using
CLAW, and they are finding it to be fun, useful, and easy to
use.  With CLAW, one can do the kinds of programs one can do
with VB.

I have just returned from the TOOLS Conference in Melbourne,
Australia.  To my surprise, a couple of the academics in attendance
are considering Ada as an introductory language.  C++ is too messy,
Java does not support the range of computer science topics they
wish to teach, and few other languages provide the features that
Ada can.  To be fair, at least one of the universities attending
has given up on Ada in favor of Java.  A few indicated their preference
for Visual Basic, and a few others emphasize Eiffel.

I am going to give Randy Brukhardt the addresses of those who are
considering Ada as a first language so he can supply them with
educational editions of CLAW.  Hal Hart supplied me with Walnut
Creek CD's and Discovering Ada CD's so I donated those in the name
of SigAda.  We, SigAda, also donated both kinds of CD's to the
conference for distribution as door prizes for the raffle at the
conference dinner.  This generated lots of questions and I was
pleased that some  people actually intend to install and experiment
with Ada.

Next year I will attend the conference in Australia again, this time to
present a tutorial on Ada. If we have any compilers, GNAT or otherwise,
to distribute as door prizes or to specific universities, I will be pleased
to take them with me.

Also, since Dr. Feldman is the education representative for SigAda and ARA,
I will provide him with addresses of professors who have expressed an
interest in Ada for their universities.

Richard

Richard Riehle
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AdaWorks Software Engineering
Suite 30
2555 Park Boulevard
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 328-1815
FAX  328-1112
http://www.adaworks.com