Why don't large companies use Ada? 
Author Message
 Why don't large companies use Ada?

        I am taking an introductory computer science class at the UW and
we are learning the Ada language. So far it's pretty nice. The language
seems to lend itself to easy readability, the fact that the language is
case insensitive is also a nice factor and the language is incredibly
powerful. We're in the second quarter of this class and we're already
writing ADT's and generic functions. Ada seems to be pretty neat, strong
typing, bounds checking and generic functions are all nice language
features, and from what I've seen Ada is a lot better than C. So why is
it that the real world, such?as it is, programs in C. Sure, C compilers
are cheaper, but it seems to me that the labor that you put into writing
and maintaining the programs is the real cost, and I know that, at least
for me, writing something in C takes a lot longer than writing something
in Ada. So why hasn't Ada caught on? Why aren't people developing
applications for it?

Jamie Jamison



Fri, 02 May 1997 12:17:09 GMT  
 Why don't large companies use Ada?
Well, Much of the Software being put on the Boeing 777 is Ada.  Although
many of the advatages of Ada are not being used, such as strict type
checking and exceptions.

-Bobo

==============================================================
GO BULLS!
Robert Temple   Home (602)867-7280   Work (602)436-5274



Sat, 03 May 1997 07:04:26 GMT  
 Why don't large companies use Ada?
Spending a couple years with ada environments in the defense industry
I can add my two cents worth as to how ada go a lousy reputation. One becuase
of large object code and ada compiler companies inability to stick to
a standard. Secondly because there are a vast number of C programmers and
a comparitivly small handful of ada programmers to maintain code. Third that
same readablility of code creates a over developed syntax that can be
cumbersome in many applications. Forth because of object oriented
requirements that ada does not match up with(some say C++ is more object
oriented than ada) Similarities with Modulus-2(just kidding). .)
I don't think it will ever really gain in popularity, more than it has.
Developers are pushing toward a system with a more pure object oriented
environment than ada can offer. I.E. Smalltalk. Which is where I would
put money the industry will move. Not necessarly Smalltalk but some
dirivative. I am certain to catch hell for this from some ada devote's,
but for what ada was supposed to do, no one can deny it got off to a
bad start.


Sat, 03 May 1997 06:07:01 GMT  
 Why don't large companies use Ada?
: Forth because of object oriented
: requirements that ada does not match up with(some say C++ is more object
: oriented than ada) Similarities with Modulus-2(just kidding). .)
: I don't think it will ever really gain in popularity, more than it has.
: Developers are pushing toward a system with a more pure object oriented
: environment than ada can offer. I.E. Smalltalk. Which is where I would
: put money the industry will move. Not necessarly Smalltalk but some
: dirivative. I am certain to catch hell for this from some ada devote's,
: but for what ada was supposed to do, no one can deny it got off to a
: bad start.

: Spending a couple years with ada environments in the defense industry
: I can add my two cents worth as to how ada go a lousy reputation. One becuase
: of large object code and ada compiler companies inability to stick to
: a standard.

In my experience the Ada 83 compilers are much closer to the Ada standard
than C compilers are to the ANSI C standard.  Smalltalk and C++ have no
standard yet.

: Secondly because there are a vast number of C programmers and
: a comparitivly small handful of ada programmers to maintain code.

The defense cutbacks have improved the availability of good Ada programmers
in the U.S.  ;-)

I'll bet if three equally bright C programmers start learning
respectively Ada 9X, C++, and Smalltalk-XX, that the one learning
Ada 9X will produce working (non-leaking, robust, etc.) software
sooner than the C++ programmer and about par with the Smalltalk
programmer.  My hunch is that the Smalltalk programmer will build
smaller (working) systems faster and the Ada 9X programmer will
build larger (working) systems faster.  (I have no evidence
whatsoever to support this claim.  Just my intuition and past
discussions with large Ada, C++, and Smalltalk shops.  :-)

: Third that
: same readablility of code creates a over developed syntax that can be
: cumbersome in many applications.

Examples?  I've never heard this one.  Most find Ada's syntax elegant
and clean.  Smalltalk is a least consistent.  C++ occasionally reminds
me of my APL days (not always a bad thing).

: Forth because of object oriented
: requirements that ada does not match up with(some say C++ is more object
: oriented than ada) Similarities with Modulus-2(just kidding). .)

I guess you quit using Ada before Ada 9X was out.  There is a GNU version
of Ada 9X in cs.nyu.edu::pub/gnat.  It is not a complete compiler yet
but it is helpful when learning the new language.

: I don't think it will ever really gain in popularity, more than it has.
: Developers are pushing toward a system with a more pure object oriented
: environment than ada can offer. I.E. Smalltalk. Which is where I would
: put money the industry will move. Not necessarly Smalltalk but some
: dirivative.

Ada 9X _is_ a pure, strongly-typed, object-oriented language.
IMHO, Ada 9x is not a pure as Smalltalk but more pure than C++.
BTW, you can use very weak typing in your class hierarchy with
Ada 9X (if you are willing to accept the Ada equivalent of
`message not understood').

Interesting to note, ParcPlace is working on adding strong typing
features to VisualWorks.

: I am certain to catch hell for this from some ada devote's,
: but for what ada was supposed to do, no one can deny it got off to a
: bad start.

No hell.  You have a right to your opinion.

I might suggest that Ada did quite well considering the popularity of
Ada outside of the U.S. and the good success of Ada within the U.S.
Dept of Defense.

... Bill

--

Objective Interface Systems, Inc.   | dist, full O-O
1895 Preston White Drive, Suite 250 | multithreading
Reston, VA  22091-5448  U.S.A.      |    built in



Sat, 03 May 1997 10:36:58 GMT  
 Why don't large companies use Ada?

[much discussion of ADA, why it is/isn't great deleted]

I think one major reason has been omitted from the discussion.  A major factor
in what language I develop in is what language the company/department already
has invested in.  Ada developers are rare.  C/C++ developers are all over the
place.  Therefore, most of the time, my customers want the product in C or
C++.  The price of software is not how much it costs to develop it, but how
much it costs to maintain it.  If I can't find a developer who knows the
language it was developed in, then I chose the wrong language no matter how
cheap the initial development was.   Oh, and personally I'd choose smalltalk
over all other languages if it was up to me, but the guy with the check in his
hands chooses, and that ain't me!

Good Luck,

Brian

Brian J. Zimbelman
Innovative Solutions, Inc.



Sat, 03 May 1997 12:15:48 GMT  
 Why don't large companies use Ada?

Quote:
>Ada developers are rare.  C/C++ developers are all over the place.  

It's a big mistake to equate C and C++ programmers.  There's a
substantial difference in approach between the two languages.  In my
observation, the number of C programmers >> the number of C++
programmers.  What's worse, the number of people claiming to
know C++ >> the number of people who actually understand the language.

Thus a lot of alleged C++ is nothing more than bad C with 'OOP-sugar'
sprinkled over the code.

                                dave
--
--The preceeding opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of
--The MITRE Corporation or its sponsors.
-- "A good plan {*filter*}ly executed -NOW- is better than a perfect plan
--  next week"                                      George Patton
-- "Any damn fool can write a plan.  It's the execution that gets you
--  all screwed up"                              James Hollingsworth
-------------------------------------------------------------------------



Sat, 03 May 1997 17:40:17 GMT  
 Why don't large companies use Ada?

:>Ada developers are rare.  C/C++ developers are all over the place.  
:
:It's a big mistake to equate C and C++ programmers.  There's a
:substantial difference in approach between the two languages.  In my
:observation, the number of C programmers >> the number of C++
:programmers.  What's worse, the number of people claiming to
:know C++ >> the number of people who actually understand the language.
:
:Thus a lot of alleged C++ is nothing more than bad C with 'OOP-sugar'
:sprinkled over the code.
:
:                               dave

Couldn't have said it better! Most C++ programs I have seen, use C++ as
nothing more than a convenient preprocessor of C. The ideas of OOP are
not found in those programs.

But, of course, there are people who understand the concept of OOP and
seem to be able to program in an 'OOP-style' using C++.
I an not sure I understand what Object Oriented Programming is all about,
but I one very happy C programmer.

--
Martijn Dekker         | PFF - software: coding for Atari and X machines
University of Amsterdam|  Mail for info about Ishido  
Math department        |



Sun, 04 May 1997 00:17:16 GMT  
 Why don't large companies use Ada?
I have done a lot of Ada development.  Personally, I liked ada except for
the package Text_Io.  I hated Text_Io!  Ada has the reputation of expencive
complilers, huge executables, hogs system resources, and "its only for the
government to use."  (i.e. NASA, DoD, etc.)

Also, Ada requires a extensive development environment to take advantage of
all of its features.  (i.e. CASE tool, a language specific editor, a library
manager, a configuration management/version control system, etc.)

Some people associate Ada with the Rational Ada development system.  It is a
very nice and integrated environment.  But, it cost over a $100,100 for a
system that can only be used by twelve people.  Six to eight simultaneous
users was optimal.  And don't forget the keyboard!  I have never seen so
many keys plus the number of ESC+control+shift+alt+meta+keypress
combinations!  Personally, I did not mind that but, it is a very scary
sight.  The apollo Rational emulator software was very nice.

A lot of people did not like the strict type checking.  They felt like it
was very combersome and too restrictive.

I have not used Ada 9x so, it may have relieved a lot the problems with
Ada 83.  I would like to see Ada make a comeback but its reputation as
a dinosuar is probably to strong to allow it.

Just my $0.02 (plus tax) worth,
Steven Whatley

--
 _   _  _ _  __ : Steven Whatley              \ The opinions expressed are my
|_  |_|  |  |   : System Analyst/Programmer    \ own.  You may freely copy,

Scientific Applications International Corporation (An employee-owned company)



Sat, 03 May 1997 22:34:27 GMT  
 Why don't large companies use Ada?


Quote:

>[much discussion of ADA, why it is/isn't great deleted]

>I think one major reason has been omitted from the discussion.  A major factor
>in what language I develop in is what language the company/department already
>has invested in.  

<Am I the only person that thinks the newsgroup list is excessively
cross-posted?>

By itself, this is a compelling argument regardless of whether it's
fortran, Assembler, C++, or any other language.  This argument is the
"Appeal to Momentum".  It's a cool argument for something other than
Ada 9X, but with the ability of Ada to interface to C/Fortran/Cobol
(and with SGI's cool demonstration of inheriting from C++ classes),
this becomes a less significant issue.  I claim the argument is less
compelling when considering Ada (but certainly not enough to make a
manager change their mind...yet).

Quote:
>Ada developers are rare.  C/C++ developers are all over the
>place.  

I disagree here.  For two reasons:  1) Ada developers aren't "rare",
just less visible.  Unfortunately, I know LOTS of ex-Ada people stuck
in C++ jobs that would jump to Ada again if they could.  2) It's "C"
developers that are "all over the place".  There is, from my personal
observation, a dearth of C++ developers.  Many companies are hiring C
programmers now and training them in C++.  I agree with Bill Beckwith
here -- it takes less time to create a productive Ada developer than
it does to create a productive C++ developer, even if they only have
a C background.

Quote:
>Therefore, most of the time, my customers want the product in C or
>C++.  The price of software is not how much it costs to develop it, but how
>much it costs to maintain it.  If I can't find a developer who knows the
>language it was developed in, then I chose the wrong language no matter how
>cheap the initial development was.   Oh, and personally I'd choose smalltalk
>over all other languages if it was up to me, but the guy with the check in his
>hands chooses, and that ain't me!

Boy, I"m confused.  YOu mean to tell me that it's LESS expensive to
use a langauge that has been empirically proven to be less reliable,
because it's cheaper to find/train a developer in that language?  Why
not get a language that provides more maintainable code, thus
requiring less people (which is the REAL cost factor).

--
Proud (and vocal) member of Team Ada! (and Team OS/2)        ||This is not your
              Ada -- Very Cool.  Doesn't Suck.               ||  father's Ada
For all sorts of interesting Ada tidbits, run the command:   ||________________

   ObNitPick: Spelling Ada as ADA is like spelling C++ as CPLUSPLUS. :-)



Sat, 03 May 1997 19:55:36 GMT  
 Why don't large companies use Ada?

Quote:

>I have done a lot of Ada development.  Personally, I liked ada except for
>the package Text_Io.  I hated Text_Io!  Ada has the reputation of expencive
>complilers, huge executables, hogs system resources, and "its only for the
>government to use."  (i.e. NASA, DoD, etc.)

That was then, this is now.  Times have changed.  If you have such a
compiler, call your vendor.  Better yet, look around at other
vendors.  They're out there.

Quote:
>Also, Ada requires a extensive development environment to take advantage of
>all of its features.  (i.e. CASE tool, a language specific editor, a library
>manager, a configuration management/version control system, etc.)

Yeah.  Right.  And "serious" development in other languages only need
vi.

Not!

FYI, I do lots of "Small" Ada work at home using only vi and RCS.  I
don't need no s{*filter*}kin' CASE tools or LSE. :-)

Quote:
>Some people associate Ada with the Rational Ada development system.  It is a
>very nice and integrated environment.  But, it cost over a $100,100 for a
>system that can only be used by twelve people.  Six to eight simultaneous
>users was optimal.  And don't forget the keyboard!  I have never seen so
>many keys plus the number of ESC+control+shift+alt+meta+keypress
>combinations!  Personally, I did not mind that but, it is a very scary
>sight.  The apollo Rational emulator software was very nice.

Yup, and IBM sells these 8088 computers with monochrome monitors, and
Apple sells this newfangled computer called the Apple IIc.  Get with
it, Rational won't even sell you an R-1000 anymore.  Their new Ada
development environment (and rumor has it soon to be available for
C/C++), called Apex, is priced somewhere around the same cost as
Centerline's product.  It's available for a variety of platforms:
Sun, HP, IBM RS6000, etc.  It's a very slick and "open" environment.
Extremely "Unix-friendly".

Quote:
>A lot of people did not like the strict type checking.  They felt like it
>was very combersome and too restrictive.

Well, most of that is diminished with the new version of Ada.  The
real issue is that, if you're writing software that must be reliable,
Ada is the best OO language to choose (of course, this open's up the
whole language-flamefest again).

Quote:
>I have not used Ada 9x so, it may have relieved a lot the problems with
>Ada 83.  I would like to see Ada make a comeback but its reputation as
>a dinosuar is probably to strong to allow it.

Only by posting such mythical rumors does it perpetuate.  Free your
mind -- our lady Ada has finally matured.  It's definitely worth
another look.

"Try it again for the first time", as I'm so fond of saying.

The free GNU gcc-based Ada 94 compiler is available at cs.nyu.edu.
Look under /pub/gnat.  It's available for just about every OS that
gcc is available on, including a version that works under DOS.

--
Proud (and vocal) member of Team Ada! (and Team OS/2)        ||This is not your
              Ada -- Very Cool.  Doesn't Suck.               ||  father's Ada
For all sorts of interesting Ada tidbits, run the command:   ||________________

   ObNitPick: Spelling Ada as ADA is like spelling C++ as CPLUSPLUS. :-)



Sun, 04 May 1997 00:06:06 GMT  
 Why don't large companies use Ada?

Quote:




>>[much discussion of Ada, why it is/isn't great deleted]

>>I think one major reason has been omitted from the discussion.  A major factor
>>in what language I develop in is what language the company/department already
>>has invested in.  
><Am I the only person that thinks the newsgroup list is excessively
>cross-posted?>

It is very excessively cross-posted.  I've reduced the list, feel free to do
so again if you follow this message.

Quote:
>By itself, this is a compelling argument regardless of whether it's
>Fortran, Assembler, C++, or any other language.  This argument is the
>"Appeal to Momentum".  It's a cool argument for something other than
>Ada 9X, but with the ability of Ada to interface to C/Fortran/Cobol
>(and with SGI's cool demonstration of inheriting from C++ classes),
>this becomes a less significant issue.  I claim the argument is less
>compelling when considering Ada (but certainly not enough to make a
>manager change their mind...yet).
>>Ada developers are rare.  C/C++ developers are all over the
>>place.  
>I disagree here.  For two reasons:  1) Ada developers aren't "rare",
>just less visible.  Unfortunately, I know LOTS of ex-Ada people stuck
>in C++ jobs that would jump to Ada again if they could.  2) It's "C"
>developers that are "all over the place".  There is, from my personal
>observation, a dearth of C++ developers.  Many companies are hiring C
>programmers now and training them in C++.  I agree with Bill Beckwith
>here -- it takes less time to create a productive Ada developer than
>it does to create a productive C++ developer, even if they only have
>a C background.

Well in all the shops I have consulted to, no one has worked on a Ada project
outside of school, and I can't remember three people who have done that.  On
the other hand over 200 developers have worked with C, and more than 50 have
worked with C++ in production environments.

Quote:
>>Therefore, most of the time, my customers want the product in C or
>>C++.  The price of software is not how much it costs to develop it, but how
>>much it costs to maintain it.  If I can't find a developer who knows the
>>language it was developed in, then I chose the wrong language no matter how
>>cheap the initial development was.   Oh, and personally I'd choose smalltalk
>>over all other languages if it was up to me, but the guy with the check in his
>>hands chooses, and that ain't me!

>Boy, I"m confused.  YOu mean to tell me that it's LESS expensive to
>use a langauge that has been empirically proven to be less reliable,
>because it's cheaper to find/train a developer in that language?  Why
>not get a language that provides more maintainable code, thus
>requiring less people (which is the REAL cost factor).

First, if we alway choose the "Best" tools/environments, NextStep would be
very popular, NFS would have been run out of town by NCS, Microsoft & Novell
would be out of business, etc.  Second, when you factor in the costs of
retraining your existing staff, code developed by "new Ada" programmers vs.
code developed by "experienced C/C++" programmers, and finding Ada programmers
when you need to maintain the existing applications, then yes it's far LESS
expensive to use C/C++ than Ada, Smalltalk, or whatever is the language of the
month.  

Personally, I've always been a smalltalk fan.  I've suggested it often, but
none of my clients have had enough smalltalk experience to be convinced that
they should change.  I did not like Ada8x, and did not keep up to date with
the language.  I'll have to pick up the GNU Ada system and try it.

Quote:
>   ObNitPick: Spelling Ada as ADA is like spelling C++ as CPLUSPLUS. :-)

Doesn't Ada stand for "Assemblers with disabilities Act?" :-)

David, Unless we have more signal to noise, we might want to make this email
only soon!  Of course, I'm only saying this becouse I'll get the last word in
that way!

Have Fun,
Brian

Brian J. Zimbelman
Innovative Solutions, Inc.



Sun, 04 May 1997 04:39:57 GMT  
 Why don't large companies use Ada?
: <Am I the only person that thinks the newsgroup list is excessively
: cross-posted?>
I don't know which of the newsgroups you wrote this from, but the answer
is definitely YES.  This article did not merit such a broad
cross-posting.  In fact, the only subject large enough to merit that
will probably be the day that the world government announces that all
programming languages except SNOBOL are to be banned forever.

: I disagree here.  For two reasons:  1) Ada developers aren't "rare",
: just less visible.  Unfortunately, I know LOTS of ex-Ada people stuck
: in C++ jobs that would jump to Ada again if they could.  2) It's "C"
: developers that are "all over the place".  There is, from my personal
: observation, a dearth of C++ developers.  Many companies are hiring C
: programmers now and training them in C++.  I agree with Bill Beckwith
: here -- it takes less time to create a productive Ada developer than
: it does to create a productive C++ developer, even if they only have
: a C background.
There are not a lot of Ada developers.  There are not a lot of developers
working with OO languages, period.  It will take time for the educational
systems of the world to catch up.  In the meantime I think it is
absolutely true that it takes less time to "create" a productive Ada
developer, simply because of Ada's high level of abstraction.  Even when
I am working in C++, I use Ada as pseudo-code because it's easier to
write it that way.

: >Therefore, most of the time, my customers want the product in C or
: >C++.  The price of software is not how much it costs to develop it, but how
: >much it costs to maintain it.  If I can't find a developer who knows the
: >language it was developed in, then I chose the wrong language no matter how
: >cheap the initial development was.   Oh, and personally I'd choose smalltalk
This is rich.  Customers want the product in an executable form, and
don't have the slightest idea with C or C++ even looks like.  Customers
also want maintainability, even if they don't know it when the project
starts off.

: Boy, I"m confused.  You mean to tell me that it's LESS expensive to
: use a langauge that has been empirically proven to be less reliable,
: because it's cheaper to find/train a developer in that language?  Why
: not get a language that provides more maintainable code, thus
: requiring less people (which is the REAL cost factor).
The company I work for is going through major hassles (have been for a
long time) over all of the software systems we are using.  The main issue
is that no update ever fixes all the old bugs, and every update adds new
bugs.  A lot of the software we use has to function in real time, such as
cash registers.  I think that the inherent confirmability of Ada would
have eliminated a lot of the recurring and new bugs.  I am certain that a
more competent C developer would not have so many problems, but it would
be easier to deliver the goods using Ada.

:             Ada -- Very Cool.  Doesn't Suck.               ||  father's Ada
And all those years I was stuck with C, it was right there under my nose.

Dan

--



Sun, 04 May 1997 12:58:42 GMT  
 Why don't large companies use Ada?
<a bunch of stuff about how great Ada is>

<which I agree with>

This article has been cross-posted to just about every comp.lang
newsgroup in existence.

Whoever decided to do this, please get over to news.answers and get some
of the basic usenet and netiquette FAQs.  Nobody is going to be swayed if
posts from Team Ada are appearing in comp.databases.oracle.  At the most,
I would say comp.object and comp.programming have some remote possibility
of having some interest in this.

Dan

--



Sun, 04 May 1997 13:04:15 GMT  
 Why don't large companies use Ada?
Please.

Thanks,

Mike



Sun, 04 May 1997 21:37:44 GMT  
 
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