Dateline: December 17, 1993

Software Reengineering for the Future with Ada

The authors describe a COBOL-to-Ada reengineering project (Applied Weapons) their organization tackled.

"Code for undocumented and inadequately maintained systems developed when software engineering was less mature often holds information that can provide an excellent baseline of functional requirements," said the authors. The authors said they chose to reverse engineer because "the code was the sole source they had for gathering a baseline of functional requirements."

According to the authors, the reverse engineering processes they followed were entirely manual, tedious, and time consuming--but worthwhile. They did not use CASE technology until the start of the design phase, at which time they found it extremely beneficial.

They said that CASE technology helped them because they had done their homework and were ready for it.

The authors conclude that Ada was an attractive choice for them because Ada supports the principles of software engineering. They also state that another important reason to use Ada is that mature CASE technology is available to help develop and maintain Ada systems.

[Source: Locascio, Capt. Charles J. and 2d Lt. Matthew M. Darpel,"Software Reengineering for the Future with Ada," CrossTalk, (Software Technology Support Center), December 1993, pp. 22-24.]

Dateline: December 17, 1993

Paige Renews, Strengthens DoD's Ada Vows

Emmett Paige, Jr., DoD's assistant secretary of defense for C4I, has reaffirmed the Pentagon's commitment to the Ada programming language. During his keynote address at the Ada Dual Use Workshop, he said the DoD is "looking at many carrots and maybe a few sticks," in order to expand Ada use in the commercial sector.

"We need to make Ada easier to use than not to use. We need to provide those in a right-sizing environment compelling reasons for its choice, " said Paige.

Also, the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) unveiled a program summary for the Ada Dual Use Workshop participants that outlined the agency's Ada goals:

     Sustain and enhance the effective use of Ada for embedded
     systems; accelerate the adoption of Ada throughout the command
     and control, communications, intelligence and information
     systems area.

     Fully staff and support the Ada Joint Program Office.

     Support the Ada Information Clearinghouse.

     Continue the R&D investments.

     Strengthen the Ada program by integrating it into DISA's
     overall plans for structured implementation.

[Source: Tapscott, Mark, "Paige Renews, Strengthens DoD's Ada Vows," [Washington Report], Defense Electronics, Vol 25, No. 13, pp. 8, 9.]

Dateline: December 17, 1993

Ada vs. C++: Which Emperor Has No Clothes?

The authors use the story, "The Emperor Has New Clothes," as a metaphor to compare the virtues of Ada with the vices of C++.

The authors use a hypothetical system to evaluate the two languages from two perspectives: "Software engineers are usually interested in the strengths and weaknesses of a language, and they have a special interest in the language capabilities that speed or retard the development process. Computer scientists, on the other hand, usually focus on specific capabilities added to the language for theoretical reasons."

The authors conclude "the Ada 'emperor's' clothes are rugged, functional and well-designed, intended to accomplish an extremely difficult task."

"By comparison however, the C++ 'emperor's clothes are flashy and potentially harmful. Unfortunately, the C++ 'emperor' is naked."

[Source: Crafts, Ralph and Bruce E. Krell, "Ada vs. C++: Which Emperor Has No Clothes?" Defense Electronics, Vol. 25, No. 13, December 1993, pp. 29-30.]