What About Ada? The State of the Technology in 2003
reportposted on 01.07.2003, 00:00 by James Smith
The projected life-cycle cost of a system is a central concern for any program manager (PM) in the Department of Defense (DoD). Choices made early in system development, such as choosing appropriate programming languages, can have profound effects on life-cycle cost. This report documents a recent investigation which characterized the technical and programmatic risks in reusing significant quantities of legacy Ada code in a new system. The investigation attempted to answer three questions: First, what is the business case for Ada? Second, how is Ada viewed by the defense industry? Third, how is Ada supported by academe? The results of this investigation point to a bleak future for Ada: no longer in the mainstream of computer science education, software engineering practice, or commercial support ADA is little more than a niche language used primarily within the DoD community and in limited civilian market segments, especially where there is defense market crossover or similar requirements as in commercial aviation, process control, and medical instrumentation. The data collected in this report should help PMs evaluate the risks—both during initial development and throughout the entire life cycle—of using Ada for software-intensive systems.