AdaIC News
Spring-Summer 1996

Ada Information Clearinghouse
The Official Source for Ada Information

Vol. XIV, No. 2
ISSN 1064-1505
No Charge

AdaIC Sponsored by the Ada Joint Program Office and operated by IIT Research Institute


In This Issue

Celebrating Ada 95 on its First Anniversary Letter from the AJPO
Ada 95 Compilers and Tools: Resources Growing to Meet Areas of Need
Benchmarking Software Reuse -- Looking at the Leaders
Helping you find the resources you need -- the Ada and Reuse libraries
Ada 95 Training Opportunities
Ada & Jobs -- A Hot Market
Ada and Reuse --A Partnership Paying Dividends for NASA Satellite Simulators
WAdaS 96 Washington Ada Symposium 1996 Delivering Quality for those Who Demand Quality
Airfields: An Ada 95 Success Story
Ada and Reuse Reader Survey

Newsbits
Comparison shows Ada with twice the cost effectiveness of C over lifecycle
Army Reuse Center offers tool to support domain engineering
Reuse in the Defense System Management College
Ada 95 bindings preserve GCCS investment
Ada used to upgrade air traffic control system
Calendar


Celebrating Ada 95 on its First Anniversary Letter from the AJPO

On February 15, 1995, Ada 95 was published by the International Standardization Organization (ISO) as the new standard for the Ada programming language, replacing Ada 83. A lot has happened in that year.

Ada 95 gains

Ada 95 is here in force now. We have 14 validated compilers on a variety of host/target combinations. We have several other compilers in the pipeline for validation. Also, we have several tools being created for Ada 95, as well as bindings to most popular interfaces.

The first change in Ada 95's validation suite was in March, the switch from ver. 2.0 to ver. 2.0.1. This provides more tests and strengthens the test suite. The next change will be in March 1997 with release of ver. 2.1.

We have several early adopters of Ada 95 technology. Besides several government organizations such as the Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity (MCTSSA), Naval Research and Development (NRAD), and the Joint Advanced Strike Technology (JAST) aircraft program, we have several government contractors that have decided to adopt Ada 95. ENSCO, Inc., in Melbourne, Florida, is an Air Force contractor with a history of quality products in Ada. They chose to move to Ada 95 to take advantage of several new features in the language.

The AJPO is supporting an effort to create an Ada-95-to-Java J-code compiler. The compiler already exists; it has been demonstrated at several conferences with more demos coming. We hope to include it in the Academic Ada tool suite offered for the Fall '96 semester. This tool greatly facilitates rapid prototyping of quality Ada 95 products.

The AJPO has also been busy in the commercial marketplace trying to create tools and bindings. We recently announced results of our Ada Technology Insertion Program-Partnerships (ATIP-P) effort, where 10 commercial companies received matching funds to create tools and bindings they will then be free to own and sell in the marketplace. The Government will recoup its investment through either free licenses or reduced license fees. (More information will be released in the very near future.)

The anniversary banquet

To mark Ada 95's anniversary, the AJPO cosponsored a banquet with the enthusiastic assistance of the Association of Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Ada. The banquet was held at the Fort Myer Officer's Club in Arlington, Va. The Hon. Emmett Paige, Assistant Secretary of Defense (C3I) was the distinguished speaker.

Members of the Ada 9X Project Office, the Mapping and Revision Team, and the Ada 9X Distinguished Reviewers, along with other government employees and contractors were presented a leather-bound Special Commemorative Award Edition of the Ada 95 Reference Manual, engraved with their name.

Ms. Christine Anderson, Mr. Tucker Taft, and Mr. Erhard Ploedereder nominated the members of their Ada teams; Ms. Virginia Castor represented the government employees and contractors.

A special reward for attendees was the awarding by Secretary Paige of the Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award to Ms. Anderson for her efforts in charge of the Ada 9X Project Office and the Outstanding Public Service Award to Mr. Don Reifer for his efforts as Chief of the AJPO. Mr. Hal Hart, representing SIGAda, then presented two SIGAda awards -- to Mr. Mike Kamrad and Dr. John Goodenough. I am pleased to report that a good time was had by all.

New World Vistas and Ada

By now, you have probably heard about the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board's (SAB's) report New World Vistas. This is a report done by several distinguished people to forecast where the Air Force should be heading in the next century. Unfortunately, it is blemished by questionable scholarship in at least one respect, namely Ada.

The Information Management panel -- with such luminaries as Ed Feigenbaum, Larry Druffel, Barry Boehm, and others -- produced a well reasoned panel report. Ada was never discussed nor even mentioned. Unfortunately, in the executive summary, the author included a line that Ada was an "arcane language" and mentioned that the Air Force should use more modern languages.

Every person I mentioned here has repudiated this portion of the report. They are embarrassed by inclusion in a summary of something the panel experts never discussed. Unfortunately, this report has had a big impact; it is difficult to get a retraction that is so deserved, but actions continue to achieve a retraction.

The new 5000.2

The good news is that while the SAB author was showing his ignorance, more informed persons were ratifying the benefits of Ada. The new Department of Defense Instruction 5000.2 was signed March 15, 1996, and it continues to state that Ada is the DoD's language of choice when the government pays for development of software and will be responsible for paying for its maintenance.

DoD Directive 3405.1: In addition, a new version of DoD Directive 3405.1, last published in 1987, is due out shortly. In the final draft, it continues to require the use of Ada as DoD's language of choice for software development. So in policy, where it counts, Ada is still a required language for DoD.

MAISRC Reviews: Also, each Major Automated Information System (MAIS) and certain qualifying weapon systems must be reviewed annually for continued funding. This is done at the MAIS Review Council (MAISRC) and Defense Acquisition Board (DAB), respectively. New this quarter is a requirement to show the use of Ada or an approved waiver in order to receive continued funding. We are beginning to see some teeth in the Ada policy!

The future

Now that Ada 95 is being successfully received, we plan to transition the AJPO's activities to other government agencies that will sustain them. As mentioned in previous Letters from the AJPO, we see this as a normal occurrence in the lifecycle of a program office. We anticipate the completion of this transition in less than 18 months.

The first portion of the transition will occur this summer, or, in any case, not later than 30 Sep 96. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will assume full responsibility for the Ada certification system and validation testing of Ada compilers currently done by the AJPO. They already perform validation testing for all other computer languages and have worked closely with the AJPO since the very beginning. We look forward to a smooth transition.

There is more exciting news ahead that must wait until next time. Until then, we will be working to educate people about the Ada policy and to make them see the benefits of its use.

Dr. Charles B. Engle Chief, Ada Joint Program Office

Ada 95 Compilers and Tools: Resources Growing to Meet Areas of Need

It has now been a year since the Ada 95 standard was published by the International Standardization Organization (ISO). As of Mar. 1, 14 compilers had officially passed validation testing under version 2.0 of the Ada Compiler Validation Capability (ACVC 2.0).

Support tools are also important. Each of the new compilers comes with its own set of tools, and independent tool vendors have upgrading their products to Ada 95.

Responding to market needs

Strictly speaking, compiler validation is necessary only for producing the executable code that will be fielded in a DoD project. For those of you doing work on your own, or preliminary work prior to producing fielded code, there's always been the freely available GNU Ada 95 Translator (the GNAT compiler) and it has been ported to several platforms. Also, the Public Ada Library includes the AVLAda9X Ada 95 compiler for MS-DOS and Windows NT. (The Ada Information Clearinghouse -- 800/232-4211 -- can give you information on obtaining these compilers.)

Final compilation on a DoD project, however, requires a validated compiler. And commercial ventures will feel a lot more comfortable using validated compilers. Validations, therefore, have reflected market needs. The first compiler was Intermetrics' AdaMagic for an important DoD target: a Raytheon processor used in the Patriot missile system. The next three were versions of GNAT for a major graphics vendor: Ada Core Technologies' compiler targeted to machines from Silicon Graphics, Inc.; they were followed by support for the current leader in the personal-computer marketplace, as Thomson Software Products validated two for the Pentium processor -- one for Windows 95, one for Windows NT. Then OC Systems validated two for the IBM RS/6000.

These were followed by six validations by Rational Software for hardware from five major vendors (Digital Equipment Corp.'s DEC 3000, Hewlett-Packard's HP 9000, the SGI Iris Indigo R4000, the IBM RS/6000, and two for the Sun SPARC).

Independent tool vendors have similarly been responding to user needs and opportunities. (See, for instance, "Automatic 83-to-95 translation", Spring 1995, p. 8.)

And just as GNAT and AVLAda9X are freely available and supported heavily by volunteer work, there are comparable tool efforts. By the time you read this, an initial release of an Ada 95 upgrade for the popular Booch Components should be available over the Internet from David Weller.

Supporting the most users as soon as possible

The pattern of Ada 95 support is following the hopes of the Ada Joint Program Office (AJPO). As reported last year, the AJPO concluded that it was most important for the major platforms to get validated support as early as possible. Having validated Ada 95 compilers available gives projects the greatest flexibility in transitioning.

(Ada 83 validation testing stops Mar. 31, 1997; Ada 83 validation certificates expire a year later. Projects underway may continue with a previously validated compiler for the project's duration.)

No one expects growth to be instantaneous. Presently, there are nearly 900 validated compilers for Ada 83, and many platforms have a number of competing vendors. The market cannot replicate that level of support overnight.

(The last time there was a significant change in the validation process was in December 1990 when ACVC 1.10 expired, and validation required passing of ACVC 1.11. December 1989 had seen 292 compilers, but while compiler vendors were changing gears, the list of validated compilers dropped to 82. By the end of 1991, the list had rebounded to 342, erasing the apparent loss and continuing the previous several years' record of compiler growth.)

The four vendors who have already validated compilers are at the leading edge of retooling of Ada support. Much work began before Ada 95 was published as an International Standard. More vendors are expected to be coming on-line. Among vendors that have announced their intentions to validate for Ada 95 are: DDC-I; Intermetrics; Irvine Compiler Corp., Inc.; Rational Software Corporation (which includes Meridian and Verdix); R.R. Software, Inc.; Sun Microsystems, Inc.; Tartan, Inc.; and Unisys Corp.

The user's role

Vendors supporting multiple platforms must choose which one to support first, which compilers are better developed jointly, etc. So, input from users is vital. People frequently call the Ada Information Clearinghouse and mention that they are looking for an Ada 95 compiler for a platform as yet unsupported; the AdaIC is now keeping track of the platforms mentioned. You may wish to contact us or your vendor with your requirements.

You can obtain the current list of validated compilers at the AdaIC Web site (http://www.adaic.com/compilers/).

Benchmarking Software Reuse -- Looking at the Leaders

"With reuse, managers have reported returns on investment as high as four to one after two years"

"Now, the weeks before a product release, we work eight-hour days and see our families."

That sounds like a great idea -- but one that many organizations don't achieve. How do we accomplish it? For more and more organizations, there's a straightforward answer: software reuse.

With systematic reuse, managers have reported returns on investment as high as four to one after two years, consistent cycle-time reductions of more than 30%, and a significantly increased competitive edge.

Looking at the leaders

Software reuse, broadly defined, is the practice of using existing software components in more than one system. Components can be executable code, program code, documentation, requirements, design documents, architectures, test plans, or tools.

Looking at organizations where software reuse is successful -- in order to find the practices that made them successful -- was the aim of a study commissioned by the Department of Defense Software Reuse Initiative (DoD SRI) at the Defense Information Systems Agency's (DISA's) Center for Operational Support (CFOS). The study is an initial step to provide reuse solutions that make sense to DOD managers in their efforts to do more, in less time, with fewer resources. The report is targeted at senior DoD executives and managers, but engineers and researchers should find much valuable information.

The study is "Software Reuse Benchmarking Study -- Learning from Industry and Government Leaders". Although individual, ad-hoc reuse occurs commonly, the study focuses on organizations that systematically build a family of products that draw from a common core of elements -- ranging from software code, to design, to domain expertise.

Study authors (Applied Expertise and Electronic Data Systems -- EDS) surveyed 11 leading commercial, defense-aerospace, and government organizations, including AT&T, Andersen Consulting, Computer Sciences Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, and Texas Instruments.

Return on investment was typically estimated in the range of 20-50%, and the benefits of reuse go beyond the bottom line. Organizations that effectively apply software reuse don't repeatedly build systems from the ground-up. With reuse, leading organizations achieve key strategic and competitive advantages in terms of reduced cost, faster product delivery, improved interoperability and lowered defects. Reuse also provides a stronger basis for acquisition from multiple sources.

A leading Defense industry supplier reported that they fielded a system in four months that was expected to take at least a year, and accomplished a 37% schedule reduction for a fire control system based on about 60% reuse.

A mid-level technical manager with a leading aerospace supplier reported 25-45% reduced cycle time. And the longer reuse is in place, the greater the benefits. A DoD organization now reports a 7 to 1 return on investment after nine years. A major aerospace firm gained 300% increased reuse along with 55% reduced cost, 25-45% reduced cycle time, and 75% reduced error rates.

For those in the trenches, reduced risk is also a factor, and it is tangible: One of the industry leaders put it simply: "Bugs get fixed once and stay fixed." Another industry participant in the survey pointed to increased ease of integration: "Before, a great deal of time was spent developing and integrating components. It was an unpredictable activity. Now, the time and variance have been substantially reduced."

The question is: How did they achieve those benefits? Specifically, the benchmarking study sought to answer the question, "What are the 3-6 practices most critical to the success of your organization's reuse program, why do you do the practice, and what results have you gotten?"

Reuse doesn't take place in a vacuum

Leaders integrate reuse with other improvement, management, and engineering activities. Study subjects reported that as long as reuse was treated as a separate activity, little success was achieved. They cited reuse as a critical component of their quality improvement initiatives. Successful reuse efforts benefit from and leverage other improvement activities.

For each practice, the study team set out to provide enough information to allow readers to determine whether the practice is appropriate to consider as a means to attain the results that they are striving to achieve.

"Best-practice" patterns

The study team identified 43 practices, and from these identified seven patterns. The seven patterns, in order, are that leading organizations:

1. Build a strong software architecture that provides the framework for reuse activities.

2. Use a software development process that promotes and controls reuse.

3. Reuse more than just code (e.g., management processes, project and product templates, models, requirements, specifications, training materials, etc.).

4. Practice domain engineering.

5. Integrate reuse into project management, quality initiatives and software engineering activities.

6. Have an organizational structure that facilitates partnering to achieve reuse across product boundaries.

7. Use automation to support reuse when and where it makes sense for both managers and technicians as driven by business and technical needs.

Everybody's a player in reuse

One element that underlies many of those practices is one sometimes overlooked in technology: the customer.

For example, a leading defense and commercial electronics systems supplier credits much of the success of their reuse program to the customer's actions. Their customer was willing to reevaluate and relax the requirements to get a proven product that met critical objectives in substantially less time, for a lot less money. This allowed the supplier to reuse. As a result, one system, scheduled for delivery in one year, was fielded in four months.

Altogether, reuse benefits both developers and managers, both vendors and customers. If you've been looking for details on how people are putting reuse to work, the Benchmarking study is a good place to start.

(At this time, it is not expected that hardcopies of the study will be available for general distribution. However, an electronic copy will be available for downloading from the Internet via the Software Engineering host:sw-eng.falls-church.va.us/ReuseIC.)

Helping you find the resources you need -- the Ada and Reuse libraries

If you're looking for books or articles on Ada or on software reuse, we can help.

The number of books and articles on Ada and on reuse grows daily. Also, there is a wealth of information available on the Internet and on the World Wide Web. Putting the Net together with the Ada and Reuse Libraries makes a very powerful research tool.

The Libraries

The Ada Library and the Reuse Library at the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) are public, non-lending, reference libraries for all professionals, students, and researchers seeking information on the Ada programming language and on software reuse.

Both Libraries collect and hold information found in documents, books, conference proceedings, newspaper and journal articles, and other multimedia material. Some of the Ada materials go back to the Higher Order Language Working Group (HOLWG), which was established to oversee development of the language that later came to be called Ada.

Accessing the Libraries

The Libraries can provide assistance in two ways: helping you find publications in each library, and conducting on-line searches for published information available elsewhere. You can access these resources in person, and via the Web, or you can call us to request a search.

Over the Web, go to http://sw-eng.falls-church.va.us. There, just click on "Library" at the main page of either the AdaIC or the ReuseIC. You can search database by title, author, subject, or publisher.

Visiting the Libraries in person

The Libraries are located in DISA offices at 5600 Columbia Pike (Room 363A), Falls Church, Virginia. A limited number of on-site parking spaces are available for a fee. The building is secured, and visitors must sign in at the front security desk, receive a temporary badge, and be escorted. Visitors to the Library have access to a computer terminal and the database.

Library Operating Hours

Monday through Friday -- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Appointments are required, and can be made by calling the library (703/681-2451), the AdaIC (703/681-2466 or 800/232-4211), or the ReuseIC (703/681-2471 or 800/738-7379).

Ada 95 Training Opportunities

For those seeking instruction in Ada 95, the question now is exactly what kind you want -- academic instruction for credit, commercial trainers, or self-paced learning.

The Ada Information Clearinghouse (AdaIC) recently released ver. 8 of the Catalog of Resources for Education in Ada and Software Engineering (CREASE); it shows that Ada is keeping its roughly 20-25% annual increase in the number of Ada courses and institutions offering them. Now, Ada 95 is taking part in advancing that growth. As of the turn of the year, 30 academic institutions were offering 33 courses addressing Ada 95, and 25 commercial trainers were offering 42 courses. At the end of Ada 95's first year, then, about 15% or more of the total number of courses and institutions have moved up to it. (Other courses may have been upgraded without explicitly listing Ada 95 content.)

For those of you with access to the World Wide Web (WWW), finding out about those courses is as easy as clicking on "Education & Training" when you visit the AdaIC Web site. You can search the CREASE, as well as see many other possibilities.

There are self-paced Ada 95 courses on the Web; and if you want to teach Ada 95, there's courseware, too. Linking to any one site, you may very well find still other links to Ada 95 educational and training materials. And there are textbooks, of course. (For information, contact the AdaIC.)

For those without Internet/Web access

If you're looking for Ada 95 classroom information, searching the Web is probably the quickest means of obtaining it. But if you don't have Internet/Web access, you're not out of luck. A letter, call, or fax to the AdaIC may be able to get you the same information. Some things are conveniently handled only in electronic form, of course. But commercial companies have downloaded public Ada 95 materials from the Internet and offer them on CD-ROM and by other means. The AdaIC can point you to these vendors. Just call 800/232-4211.

Ada & Jobs -- A Hot Market

"...Programmers with Ada, C and C++ expertise are in the highest demand..." McDonnell Douglad Corp.

Are you thinking of changing jobs? Are you thinking of hiring new people?

The "job situation" is probably a continuing interest -- whether you see yourself on the applying side or on the hiring side. There's a certain tension between the two sides, of course. If you're applying, you'd like to have more jobs looking for fewer applicants; if you're hiring, you'd like to have lots of applicants for every slot you have. The market will almost always tilt one way or the other; either way, however, both sides need a healthy Ada job market.

Right now, the job market is tilted toward the job seekers, but not so far that projects will feel cornered. In other words, the market is healthy.

That health has been gaining increased attention in the computer press lately, and Ada and software engineering have been coming in for their share of good news. But there are still some questions to be answered. Where do you find Ada jobs? Where do you find applicants? How does a career in Ada stack up against one in some other language? To answer these questions, we asked some of the people who want to get applicants and projects together. We also took a look at what is becoming an important tool to help in that job: the World Wide Web.

In reading this, of course, it's best to remember that there are things neither we nor those we spoke to can give you in an article like this. As ever with the AdaIC News, report of a product, service, or event is for information purposes and does not constitute an endorsement by the AdaIC or the AJPO. Moreover, whether you're an employer or an applicant, everyone has a different focus. Some are looking for short-term contracts, some are looking for long-term, and some are looking for permanent positions. Those considerations are frequently the most important, and you have to check them out on a case-by-case basis. The position or the person that may be great for you may be ill-suited elsewhere -- and vice versa.

Good news in the papers

The economy in general is now in rebound, and the software market has felt that upswing. In articles in the computer press, people being interviewed have offered Ada as an example of what the market is looking for. Back in June, ComputerWorld covered "Jobs in Space". James Diller, administrator of professional employment at the McDonnell Douglas Corp., commented, "Even though we've had some layoffs, we're always hiring for particular skills. Specifically, programmers with Ada, C and C++ expertise are in the highest demand." (Bryan Scanlon and Amy Bermar, p. 107, June 5, 1995). More recently, in a Federal Computer Week supplement, Federal Integrator, N. Gus Siekierka, vice president of human resources with Computer Sciences Corp.'s Systems Group, and a number of other integration executives pointed out that people with Ada programming skills are in high demand ("Federal Integrators Are Hiring," John Moore, Oct. 23, 1995).

To look behind comments like these, we went to two people who are similar in that they've both been working in Ada since the early/mid-eighties. They're somewhat different in their role in the job market, however.

Paul Morris started Paul Morris Associates in 1984 as employment counselors specializing in Ada.

Patrick McDermott of Quality Researched Personnel wears two hats. QRP provides employment recruiting for permanent and consultant Ada software-engineering opportunities, and the company bids on off-site work such as (V&V testing, software development, etc).

Both Morris and McDermott, however, without getting into any crystal-ball gazing for the future, were equally enthusiastic about the current situation. Morris called the market "very strong"; McDermott called the market "hot", saying the "candidate is king".

Neither, however, tried to make it look as though Ada were somehow a unique opportunity that left all others in the dust. The software economy is growing. All languages are benefiting.

"All ships rise with the tide," Morris observed. "So, employers that were laying off or weren't hiring or weren't paying fees are now calling -- 'Hi Paul! Remember us?'"

In December, Morris did a search of his active files. He checked the numbers: "Six employers each seeking 50-100 Ada software engineers"; besides them, "another half a dozen are looking for ten or 20." Altogether, there were over 109 active individual Ada postings representing 89 individual employers as of December. And the numbers have increased since then.

Good news on the Web

You can get a feel for those numbers by checking out the Ada employment homepage on the World Wide Web. You can link to it through the AdaIC host. Sponsored by the Association of Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Ada (ACM SIGAda), the page recently listed opportunities from 25 sources, most with multiple openings. (Also, more and more companies with Web homepages now have a regular link to their job opportunities.)

But Morris insisted that no one source -- not even a free one, like the Web -- should be regarded as a panacea. Personal contacts, recruiters, direct mail, phone contacts, and print media, all are important. And the employment pages in the newspaper don't always seem to have a strong Ada presence, even when companies are actively recruiting.

Again, neither Morris nor McDermott "oversold" the market. "It's not a "broad" market," Morris points out, "there aren't hundreds of companies." Moreover, he indicated applicants should be realistic in their expectations: He has openings in 30 states; but if you really want to work only in Idaho, what are the chances that your skills will match the needs of a particular employer there? The big centers -- Boston and Los Angeles, say -- are still more apt to have the position you're looking for, if not the location.

On the other hand, they both agreed that Ada practitioners are frequently more apt to have qualifications that put them ahead of the pack. If you're writing in Ada, you're more likely to have worked on large, complex, demanding projects. Both this experience and the language improve the software engineer.

A more skilled developer is in a better bargaining position.

For the product, the dollars favor Ada

In fact, there is one category of software engineer that is in a better bargaining position than the skilled Ada engineer: the skilled C++ engineer. That may seem like a downside for the Ada market -- but it points to a very important factor from the project side. If a project wishes to tell their bosses and the market that they're developing "object-oriented" code (C++), then there's a cheap way to do it: Write C, and pump it through a C++ compiler. It won't be software engineering, it won't be object-oriented, but they'll be able to use "C++" as the buzz word of the day. If they want real C++ programmers, however, then they're going to have to pay more. And they're going to have to pay a lot more, for one very simple reason: There just aren't very many real C++ programmers.

From the project point of view, then, the question is whether they want software engineering -- whether they want code that's more apt to be modifiable and reusable. If that's the case, and if language choice hinges on the availability of skilled practitioners, then message of the market is clear: It's more economical to do the job with Ada.

Thinking about your future

Altogether, this seems to be a very good time to be an Ada software engineer.

"I can't find enough people," Morris said, "and anyone who wants to keep the faith, they'll have the opportunity. "The reason we formed QRP," McDermott said, "was because there was such a demand for Ada software engineers and we knew where to get them." He added, "the opportunities are out there, you've just got to put your ear to the ground."

Morris sees this as an ideal time for Ada engineers to take stock of their position, to figure out their priorities, and look at the long term. The buoyancy of the market will let them balance their priorities.

"Now is the time they can leverage their experience in the market and essentially trade for a balance of location, stability, access to experience, and compensation."

Ada and Reuse --A Partnership Paying Dividends for NASA Satellite Simulators

by Ann Eustice Brandon

With verbatim reuse, the benefits in saving time and money multiplied exponentially throughout the system's lifecycle

Success reflects investment.

When a FORTRAN shop at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) turned to Ada with the goal of reusing software for future projects, the initial result was like a carpenter trying for the first time to build a house of brick. Not only did they need different tools and materials, but they had to rethink the whole design process.

While some benefits were reaped early, the full benefits would come only after developing a couple of telemetry simulators. When they came, they were impressive:

For a 1994 simulator of 52,000 source lines of code (52K SLOC), there was overall reuse of 97% from pre-existing libraries. Three-quarters of the code was verbatim reuse -- reusing a component without altering it. The error rate was .1 per KSLOC.

Building on success

The FDD builds telemetry simulators to support development and testing of spacecrafts' Attitude Ground Support Systems (AGSS). Simulators model spacecraft attitude sensors, and are used before launch to test the AGSS. They also provide data on the AGSS's operational simulations and training exercises.

The 1994 effort was the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer -- Earth Probe (TOMS-EP) Telemetry Simulator (TOMSTELS). It was developed by the Flight Dynamics Division (FDD) at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).

Written in Ada, TOMSTELS was a success by any standard. The launch deadline for the spacecraft was met even though work on TOMSTELS had to be suspended for four months after its detailed design stage. Performance requirements were that it was to be ten times faster than real time (10:1). Its time ratio was 13:1.

High performance, low error, heavy reuse, built within a tight timeframe -- that did not happen by accident. Success began some six years before. TOMSTELS was preceded by projects that racked up records just as impressive -- because GSFC realized that reuse is more than just grabbing code modules and using them again.

Beginning in 1988, with the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) Telemetry Simulator (UARSTELS), the FDD went beyond merely reusing Ada code; systematically, they began building for reuse. By depending heavily on Ada generics, the team established a foundation of software that in subsequent projects led to dramatic reuse rates, such as with the telemetry simulator TOMSTELS.

UARSTELS

UARSTELS was not the FDD's first experience with either Ada or reuse. Its first operational Ada software had been the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-I (GOES-I) telemetry simulator (GOESIM) -- which had had 29% overall reuse and 12% verbatim reuse. The FDD wanted to go beyond that, however. They wanted to combine two new technologies -- Ada and object-oriented design (OOD) --

into reusable software, which they hoped would simultaneously improve the software and reduce the cost of developing their satellite flight-dynamics systems. UARSTELS and several subsequent telemetry simulators were the first to emphasize software reuse through Ada under object-oriented design.

The UARSTELS development team sought to reuse software verbatim whenever possible, because the benefits in saving time and money multiplied exponentially throughout the system's lifecycle. Each component that could be reused without alteration did not have to be redesigned, redocumented, rewritten, retested, or maintained separately. By examining previous Ada projects, the team realized that generic components were best able to be reused verbatim, since they are designed to meet the common requirements of more than one application.

In the detailed design phase, the team decided that all new and modified components were to be generic whenever they might be reused both on the present and future projects. While designing generic components required more time up-front, the engineers knew they could be reused in developing the UARSTELS software itself.

Despite introducing the radically new design criteria, they assumed -- correctly -- that they could meet the schedule and budget constraints by immediately reusing the generic components. Additionally, the team added to the FDD's software capital, and would save the organization both long-term time and effort, since the components could be reused verbatim in many future telemetry simulators.

UARSTELS' benefits for other projects were felt almost immediately.

EUVETELS

The Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer (EUVE) telemetry simulator (EUVETELS) was developed almost concurrently with UARSTELS. The EUVETELS team initiated an informal domain analysis for both projects, to identify the projects' common elements and how best to generalize reusable components. Examining both simulators helped to create a generic architecture and OOD that isolated system functions and corresponding data. The components ran only a narrowly defined part of the simulators, and would not start an unpredictable domino effect throughout the rest of the system.

UARSTELS' truly generic subsystems were subsequently reused verbatim in EUVETELS. The engineers designed the subsystems with the beneficial advice of GOESIM developers, who attended informal walk-throughs of UARSTELS' detailed design phase.

Finally, the engineers facilitated the future reuse of the UARSTELS components by placing mission-specific telemetry information in a telemetry packing control list file. Engineers reusing the software can define telemetry formats in a separate text file, created with any editor.

As a result of all these steps, UARSTELS met its explicit project objectives of delivering within budget and on time (the project ran from Feb. 88 to Dec. 89) an operational simulator that maximized reuse both within itself and for future simulators.

SAMPEXTS

The Small Explorer-Mission 1 (SMEX-1) Solar, Anomalous, and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer (SAMPEX) Telemetry Simulator (SAMPEXTS) development program ran from April 1990 to March 1991. Because it reused a significant amount of the software and documentation from both UARSTELS and EUVETELS, the SAMPEXTS project saved six staff months from the estimated time and effort for its completion. It also had a high rate of productivity, 6 developed source lines of code per hour (DSLOC/hr.), which compared favorably with the average for Ada projects of 4.5 DSLOC/hr., and with the average rate on the UARSTELS and EUVETELS simulators of between 3 and 4 DSLOC/hr. Also, the team combined the preliminary and detailed design phases, further reducing the staff time needed to complete the project.

Altogether, the 32K of non-comment, non-blank lines cost slightly more than one-fifth of a brand new system of comparable size.

Conclusions and future directions

All these projects contributed to TOMSTELS. In TOMSTELS' initial design phase, the GSFC software engineers identified reusable components in SAMPEXTS, and POLAR/WIND Telemetry Simulator, and UARSTELS. They also assembled components from these into a prototype of TOMSTELS to verify key performance requirements.

Since 1990, the FDD has built simulators using in Ada with significant verbatim reuse as its standard approach. A recent NASA report sums it up: "Through exceptionally high levels of reuse, telemetry simulators now cost 40% less to produce, are delivered in 50% less time, and have 85% fewer errors during development when compared with the 1985 baseline for these systems." ("Impact of Ada and Object-Oriented Design in the Flight Dynamics Division at Goddard Space Flight Center", by Sharon Waligora, John Bailey, and Michael Stark; Software Engineering Laboratory Series, SEL-95-001, March 1995).

With verbatim reuse, the benefits in saving time and money multiplied exponentially throughout the system's lifecycle.

Report Summary

The copy of the report from which this article is extracted is available from the ReuseIC, in hardcopy or in .pdf format via http://sw-eng.falls-church.va.us/ReuseIC/pubs/reports/ada-ood-flight-gsfc.pdf.

Eric Booth of Computer Sciences Corporation contributed most material necessary to produce the full report; Mike Nash of the Institute for Defense Analyses provided his original success story, investigative notes, and briefing slides. preparation of his material was sponsored by the Management Issues Working Group (MIWG).

WAdaS 96 Washington Ada Symposium 1996 Delivering Quality for those Who Demand Quality

Since its inception in 1984, the Washington Ada Symposium (WAdaS) has gained a reputation as an important conference in software-engineering technology and related management issues. The 13th Annual Washington Ada Symposium (WAdaS '96) will be held July 22-25, at the McLean Hilton in McLean, Virginia. The theme is "Delivering Quality for those Who Demand Quality." The conference is sponsored by the Washington, D.C., chapter of the Association of Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Ada (ACM SIGAda).

WAdaS provides a forum for researchers to present their work to practitioners eager to learn about promising approaches, software developers and managers to exchange information and experience on the latest technologies or lessons learned, vendors and organizations to demonstrate and exhibit related products or services, and individuals to meet informally with their peers.

The conference features tutorials for the novice or those wishing to expand their present knowledge, presentation of papers, panel discussions, and related workshops. Among the topics to be discussed at WAdaS are: software-engineering methods and techniques; TQM and software process improvement; software-engineering methods and techniques; software- or system-development tools; Ada 95 experiences; experience developing applications for commercial markets; developing systems using "open system" standards; Ada 95 transition tips and strategies; Ada bindings and multi-language systems; re-engineering and transitioning legacy systems; distributed and client/server systems; Ada education and industrial training; software management issues; software and system portability and reuse; integration with COTS products; software measurement and metrics; performance issues; real-time and embedded systems; Ada technology insertion and transfer; geographically distributed software development; Ada 95 products and services; comparison between DoD and commercial software practices; CORBA/Fresco/OMG object-oriented techniques; and penetrating and competing in commercial software markets.

Monday and Tuesday of the conference are devoted to tutorials; Wednesday focuses on panels and papers emphasizing delivering quality, and Thursday is devoted to topics concentrating on demanding quality. In addition, exhibitors will be on hand Wednesday and Thursday to demonstrate their latest Ada 95 products and tools.

Like WAdaS '95, this year's conference plans to have world renowned speakers and guests discussing the latest trends in Ada and software engineering. WAdaS '95 was highlighted by a live via-satellite television broadcast, Using object-oriented methods to accomplish business objectives, which featured Grady Booch, Marie Lenzi, and Derek Coleman.

To register for WAdaS '96, please fill out the registration form on the next page and fax it to Georgia Scientific at the number given.

For further information about WAdaS '96, please visit our World Wide Web site at http://www.acm.org/sigada/conf/wadas/wadas.html, or contact the Ada Information Clearinghouse at 1-800/232-4211.

WAdaS '96 Registration Form

Please complete this registration form and return it to Kathy Keller at Jorge Scientific Corporation, 7500 Greenway Center Drive, Suite 1130; Greenbelt, MD 20770; or fax it to 301/220-1704 by June 28, 1996. Call 703/416-8211 for more information!

Get the latest in WAdaS '96 information at our Web site: http://www.acm.org/sigada/conf/wadas/wadas.html

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                        Tutorial Descriptions

                            Monday Morning
1       CORBA, Orbix, & Ada 95 Interoperability -- Pat Nouhra, OIS

                           Monday Afternoon
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3       Dave Cook -- Intro to Ada 95

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4       Bob Munck -- Ada and the WWW
5       Philippe Kruchten -- Architecture and the Iterative Process

                           Tuesday Morning
6       Chad Bremmon -- OO Business Process Engineering
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                          Tuesday Afternoon
8       Tucker Taft -- Espresso/Ada Java
9       Gene Ouye -- Something about Rational Unified Method

                           Tuesday All-Day
10      Robert Dewar -- Object Technology Project Management
11      Mike Kamrad -- Simply Ada (overview of Ada 95 for engineers &
        managers)
12      Bo Sanden -- Concurrent Systems

             Conference Registration -- July 22-25, 1996

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Airfields: An Ada 95 Success Story

Hierarchical library units made development easier, ....the developers could map their Ada 95 code naturally to the structure of the underlined RDBMS

On January 5, 1996, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) delivered what is apparently the first completed project written in Ada 95.

The project is Airfields, one of the first Early Ada 95 Adopter efforts assisted by the Ada Joint Program Office (AJPO); part of the Global Command and Control System (GCCS), DISA's new integrated command and control environment, it was accepted by GCCS on 16 Mar.1996.

Airfields provides commanders with access to many different kinds of information about airfields and airports worldwide. (For details, see the Summer 1995 AdaIC News.) Delivery culminated a year-long effort to convert this information system -- and its developers -- from COBOL to Ada 95. (The COBOL version of Airfields is part of the World Wide Command and Control System -- WWMMCS.)

Training

Teamwork and adaptability were key factors in the success of this project. The Airfields team dealt with limited resources, tight staffing, and Ada 95 bindings issues early in the process; in each case, the team adapted and put Ada 95's strengths to work.

One of the major reasons for this project's success was the ability of the programmers to quickly grasp Ada 95. Since the majority of the programmers were trained in COBOL, the AJPO provided the team with mentors and training in Ada 95. The mentors were impressed with the speed with which the programmers picked up Ada 95 without previous Ada experience.

Ada 95 -- New Features

Looking back, using the new features of Ada 95 was one of the biggest advantages to the Airfields team, according to Airfields Team Leader Velma Blue. Features such as hierarchical library units (HLUs), unbounded-length strings, and tagged types significantly increased the speed with which the project was developed. For example, HLUs made development easier because they allowed developers to map their Ada 95 code naturally to the structure of the underying RDBMS.

Heavy use of the new unbounded-length string feature was also helpful. Unbounded strings were used to display the reports on the screen. The majority of the Airfields data records had variable lengths; with unbounded strings, the team did not have to worry about the size of the reports. In addition, using unbounded-length strings meant the developers did not access wasted space when retrieving and manipulating the data.

Tagged types were used to manipulate the data based on the user's selection criteria. Selection criteria narrowed down retrievals for specific report generation. Ada 95's tagged types allow all of the selection criteria to be processed correctly by dynamically selecting the appropriate Ada subprogram to process the user's selection criteria.

Teamwork

Teamwork was vital both within the team and between the team and the AJPO-provided mentors. The team had to find an Ada 95 binding that would work with their compiler, GNU Ada 95 Translator (GNAT). The research for binding was undertaken by the mentors who assisted the team in moving up to Ada 95. Without waiting for the final conclusion of what binding to use, the team moved ahead on its re-engineering effort, in the hope that one would be located by the crucial time the binding would be needed. They discovered that AdaConnect, an Open Data Base Connectivity (ODBC) product by Objective Interface Systems (OIS), worked with both GNAT and Oracle. After selecting AdaConnect, integration was "seamless", said one mentor.

Velma Blue, Airfields Team Leader, summed up the Airfields effort: "Working on this project has been a unique experience for me. There were many challenges to face and many obstacles to overcome. I am thrilled that all have been resolved. I could not have done it without the support of the team. The team had a 'can do' attitude. The most beneficial experience for this project was the access to and the utilization of expert support from the AJPO mentors."

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Ada Information Clearinghouse P.O. Box 1866 Falls Church, VA 22041

Newsbits

Comparison shows Ada with twice the cost effectiveness of C over lifecycle

Lifecycle costs are a major problem for software development, and a major factor in comparing languages. But where do you find real-world test cases where conditions are the same for the languages under study? One such case was work on the Verdix Ada Development System (VADS) -- where work in C began in 1983, before suitable Ada compilers were available. Later, both C and Ada were used. The VADS tools, supporting both C and Ada, were used for their own development, and the staff was equally proficient in both languages.

"Comparing Development Costs of C and Ada", by Dr. Stephen F. Zeigler (now with Rational Software Corp.) looks at the update/maintenance records of the Verdix system. The conclusion is that over the lifecycle, Ada's cost effectiveness is two times or better than C's.

One interesting conclusion was that, within a six-month timeframe, Ada is not more difficult to learn than is C; and as developers continue to learn Ada, their code will improve in quality. In contrast, the study found that the fix rates of C users do not substantially improve after the first six months. "We can observe that those people who code primarily in Ada can expect fewer bugs and general improvement, while C users can expect harder going," the study reported.

[The Ada Information Clearinghouse has Dr. Zeigler's report both in hardcopy and over the World Wide Web.

Army Reuse Center offers tool to support domain engineering

The Army Reuse Center (ARC) has developed the Domain Knowledge Database (DKDB), an automated tool that supports domain engineering.

The DKDB allows managers to identify and control domain-related reusable assets, and allows engineers to store, manage, and manipulate the domain knowledge obtained through reuse analysis. In addition, the tool provides valuable information for selecting and classifying reusable assets that are targeted for installation into a domain reuse library.

["Automation Support for Domain Engineering," The Army Reuse Center News, December 1995 (Vol. 4, No. 4). The Army Reuse Center, Department of the Army, USAISSC, Attn: ASQB IRC Stop C 2, Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-5576; 703/806-4300. The Reuse Center News article also provides an overview of the domain-engineering process from domain analysis to domain design to domain implementation.]

Reuse in the Defense System Management College

In another article, the Army Reuse Center News interviewed Sherwin J. Jacobson, Professor of Engineering Management in the Software Management Department at the Defense System Management College (DSMC).

Jacobson discussed the role of software reuse in the DSMC's educational effort as important in helping change the culture within the DoD from developing unique software from scratch to one of dealing with the concept of developed components that are integrated into a total system. The DSMC has incorporated the issue of software reuse into several courses, including both basic and advanced acquisition and program-management courses.

["Reuse from an Educator's Perspective," The Army Reuse Center News, December 1995 (Vol. 4, No. 4)]

Ada 95 bindings preserve GCCS investment

The December 1995 issue of the STARS Newsletter describes an Intermetrics/Boeing effort to combine ProtoTech and STARS technology to provide a set of Ada 95 bindings for the block 1 common core services of the Global Command and Control System (GCCS). (These services, in essence, are a library of middleware functions that are common to many command and control -- C2 -- systems. The services of this middleware are implemented as an infrastructure on top of Unix and X-Windows/Motif.)

The effort will develop a proof-of-concept demonstration using these bindings by converting to Ada 95 a C application that uses the GCCS core services, proving that it operates as it did before the transition. It will also collect metrics that will provide insight into the comparative characteristics of an identical application in the C programming language and Ada 95, and provide early identification of issues moving to Ada 95.

["Ada 95 Bindings Preserve Global Command and Control System Investment," Casey Fung, STARS Newsletter, December 1995.]

Ada used to upgrade air traffic control system

The Loral Corp. has used Ada in its upgrade of the nation's air traffic control system. The software, released in November, is designed to run new advanced computer workstations that will replace old displays and computers.

Loral Air Traffic Control of Rockville, Md., released software written primarily in Ada and consisting of about 441,000 source lines of code for the Display System Replacement (DSR) program, and also finished software for the DSR support system, with an additional 136,000 source lines of Ada.

The DSR was approved in September 1995 by the Federal Aviation Administration. Common system interfaces, communications networks and operational procedures will link facilities to support the FAA's En Route Air Traffic Control mission.

["Loral finishes air traffic control code," John Keller, Military and Aerospace Electronics, January 1996.]

Ada Calendar

Call the AdaIC for further information on the following Ada conferences, seminars, and workshops. Let us know if your organization is sponsoring an Ada event!

10th Annual ASEET Symposium Ada 95 The Next Generation

June 25-28, 1996
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
Prescott, AZ
POC: Major David Cook
AFIT/LSS
2950 P Street, Building 125
WPAFB, OH 45433-7765
Tel: 513/476-4500
Fax: 513/476-4550
e-mail: dcook@lss.afit.af.mil

Washington Ada Symposium (WAdaS 96)

July 22-25, 1996
McLean Hilton
McLean, VA
POC: Chad Bremmon
US Air Force
Tel: 703/697-5821
e-mail: chad.bremmon@comm.hq.af.mil

TOOLS USA

July 29-August 2, 1996
Santa Barbara, CA
POC: Interactive Software Engineering
270 Storke Road, Suite 7
Goleta, CA 93117
Tel: 805/685-1006
Fax: 805/685-6869
E-mail: tools@tools.com

Object Expo *

August 5-9, 1996
New York Hilton
New York, NY

TRI-Ada '96 December 3-7, 1996
Philadelphia Marriott
Philadelphia, PA
POC: Dr. Jorge L. Diaz-Herrera
Software Engineering Institute
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
Tel: 412/268-7636
Fax: 412/268-5758
e-mail: jdiaz@sei.cmu.edu

Ada's Birthday!
December 10
* The AdaIC will have an exhibit. We sometimes have free passes to conference exhibit areas where the AdaIC will have an exhibit. Feel free to call and ask for available passes.
Report of a product, service, or event is for information purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by the Ada Information Clearinghouse.

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Copyright 1996. IIT Research Institute.

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