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The AdaIC News Winter 1996

In This Edition:

AJPO Support for Ada

A New AJPO Chief -- A familar face in a new role.

Supporting the Warfighter -- resources for DoD users.

Supporting Ada in Academia -- providing materials for educators.

Supporting Industry -- partnerships and plans.

Ada on the Internet: Surfin' the World Wide Web for Ada

Bringing Ada to More High Schools

Supporting Inexpensive Compiler Options


Ada 95 Validation Test Suite and "Passing" Criteria Upgraded


AJPO Notes: Ada users honor Donald Reifer
AJPO Support for Ada
By Don Reifer, AJPO Chief

|AJPO's goals| Who are the AJPO's users?|
|Accessing Ada information| Supporting the warfighter|
|Supporting academia| Supporting industry|
|In conclusion A brief farewell|

AJPO's goals

The primary goal we set for the AJPO in 1994 was for it to put itself out of business within five years. Our aim is to make the Ada industry strong enough that it will not need the government to promulgate language, binding, and tool developments. The tactics that we have employed to achieve this goal revolve around increased commercial use. We believe that by spinning out the technology commercially we can create a vibrant market for Ada goods and services. Such a market will attract investors and the venture capital needed to sustain growth. The consumers will drive product development, and increased demand will drive prices for goods and services down. Under this scenario, the Department of Defense (DoD) would be just another consumer. The DoD could lever its buying power to take advantage of this free-market economy to reduce its current cost of ownership.
Who are the AJPO's users?

Like any business enterprise, the primary operational goal of the AJPO is user satisfaction. We measure achievement of this goal constantly, using a variety of measures. We know who is accessing our facilities, and through our user surveys understand what services are desired. For convenience, our users can be classified into the following three groups: warfighters, academia, and industry (including the vendors). Each of these groups are international in scope and diverse by their very nature. This version of our newsletter addresses what we are currently doing to satisfy user needs in each of the three categories.

Accessing Ada information

Most of you know you about the services our Ada Information Clearinghouse (AdaIC) provides. Information about Ada is the commodity all of our users seem to want easier access to. In addition to providing you this newsletter, the AdaIC staffs a hot line eight hours a day to provide interested parties with access to the wealth of information contained within their databases and libraries. One of the things we have done during the past year to make accessing Ada information easier is provide more on-line facilities. We have put into operation an Internet World Wide Web (WWW) search-and-access facility, which lets Internet users get to just about everything they tell us they feel is of value on the AdaIC's host (sw-eng.falls-church.va.us).

Internet users can also access the host via our anonymous file transfer protocol (ftp), Gopher, or Wide Area Information Servers (WAIS). For those who don't have an Internet account, there is a dial-up line (703/681-2845) so that they can get to and download desired information.

We also work closely with several mirror sites, such as the Public Ada Library (PAL), and with several reuse libraries (ASSET and DSRS). This enables both our users and theirs to get desired information on just about any Ada topic. For those interested in visiting our host, we have provided a guide on pages 10-13 of this issue of the newsletter. On the host, we've provided lots of hyperlinks to related sites. Be sure to book a tour today via our sw-eng.falls-church.va.us address. As always, we welcome your feedback and constructive comments.

Supporting the warfighter

The AJPO supports those who build systems to support our warfighters in many ways. We work with the program managers/program executive officials (PMs/PEOs) and their technical personnel to address issues and to provide low-risk implementation plans for Ada. We try to address their concerns and deal with a variety of perceptions about Ada, both good and bad. We provide information on compilers, bindings, tools, books, and training. We put a wide variety of useful material on-line and make it easily accessible via our AdaIC host. We provide answers to questions, work out issues, and listen to complaints. We visit sites and try to keep the PMs/PEOs up to date on what's going on within the industry.

When warranted, we partner with PMs/PEOs via our Ada Technology Insertion Program (ATIP) to develop what's needed to make their projects successful. Examples of the general-purpose products we've developed via ATIP are provided on pages 4 and 5. We also participate in reviews and source selections (when asked).

With our warfighter-support initiatives, our primary goal is to do whatever's needed to make Ada attractive for use by our DoD users. Based upon the preponderance of use of Ada within both DoD weapons and information systems, we must be doing something right. (For the hard data on DoD language use, see the recently published language study by the Institute for Defense Analyses.)

Supporting academia

We have also undertaken several educational initiatives -- whose aim is to stimulate the development of the Ada-smart staff the DoD needs to address its software challenges. We provide grants to universities to update and develop Ada courseware at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. For getting high-school students jazzed about Ada, we support a mega-programming in Ada course -- which has been favorably reviewed by our beta test users. We assist the military Academies and Service schools by providing course materials, tools, and support to their instructors. We also provide Ada tools such as the GNU Ada 95 Translator (GNAT) to university researchers so they can experiment with advanced software engineering and object-oriented concepts.

Most importantly, we ensure the skills, knowledge, and abilities of members of the DoD software workforce are adequate to address the seemingly ever increasing Ada workload. As outlined on pages 6 and 7, the educational materials that have been developed under our sponsorship are made available online in using our Internet facilities described above. During the past two years, Ada experienced a 47% growth within the universities. We expect an even greater growth in the use of Ada, when our academic Ada environment starts publication early next year. (This will be an Ada textbook for undergraduates with a visual Ada 95 compiler environment shrinkwrapped with it; it will sell in university bookstores for about $60.)

Supporting industry

We also work with industry to stimulate the development of tools, training, bindings, and innovations needed to achieve DoD objectives. We lever our buying power whenever possible to get industry to develop the products that we need to carry out our mission, when we need it, and to offer those products to us at favorable prices. The tools and bindings reports we have authored provide industry with insights into our investment strategy. Both have been recently updated and are available on the WWW. Our recently announced Ada Technology Insertion Program-Partnership (ATIP-P) is a dual-use initiative that cost-shares developments with industry to get products like those envisioned in tools and bindings reports to market when needed. (See pages 8 and 9 for more on this.)

Our primary goal with this and our other aligned programs is to penetrate more fully the commercial marketplace by exploiting the dual-use potential of the Ada programming language in our military procurements.

Providing Ada 95 transition support
Finally, we work with early adopters who are willing to take some risk when warranted with new technologies. As noted in our last newsletter, several major DoD projects are starting to use Ada 95 to gain familiarity with its advanced object-oriented features. The first application in Ada 95 to be delivered was done so by the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) in June when it shipped Airfields for integration into the Global Command & Control Systems (GCCS). Reports are very favorable even though these projects are taking some hits due to compilers and tools being so early in development.

In conclusion

In our last few newsletters, I have shown you the programs we have initiated at the AJPO to support the education (Winter 1995), industrial (Spring 1995), and warfighter (Fall 1995) communities. I still remain upbeat about Ada's chances and think we have made a great deal of progress in the almost two and a half years I have been with the program.

A brief farewell

By now, most of you know that I will be returning to industry on 13 October 1995. I appreciate the support so many of you gave me during my tour as Chief of the AJPO. Taking charge during the transition from DDR&E to DISA has been one of the highlights of my career. I have enjoyed my tour and sincerely hope that many of the programs I have put into place will grow and prosper as the next administration closes down the office.

Let me conclude this my final letter as the Chief of the AJPO with a sincere thanks to all of you who helped me through some of the more difficult spots. It's been fun, and I think I've made a difference. I've done what I can, and now it is time for me to go home to California to spend some quality time with my wife and family.

Donald J. Reifer
Chief, Ada Joint Program Office

Both ASCII text version of the Fall 1995 Issue of the AdaIC News are available.
Sponsored by the Ada Joint Program Office and operated by IIT Research Institute

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