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Ada 95

Ada 95 is Ada with more power

The revised Ada standard was approved in November 1994, and officially became a revised International Standard, ISO 8652, in February 1995. The ISO standard number is ISO-8652; it was assigned when ISO endorsed the ANSI/MIL-STD 1815 in 1987. The only number for Ada 95 is an ISO number, namely ISO-8652:1995.

The main contractor for the revision project was Intermetrics, Inc., in Cambridge (Boston); the technical director of the Mapping/Revision Team (MRT) was Tucker Taft. The revision was referred to as Ada 9X.

The revision essentially improves/extends the language in: object-oriented programming, data-oriented synchronisation, and real-time programming, while being upward compatible with existing Ada 83 code.

The new reference manual (in hypertext format), the rationale, a YACC-compatible grammar, and the validation suite are available along with similar reference material for Ada 83.

Many Ada 95 compilers have already been validated!

Several companies have already announced successful validation of their Ada 95 compilers (the first ones are listed here, starting in October 1995):

Note that this means that the front-ends are ready. Porting to other platforms is not as big an effort as adapting the front-end from Ada 83 to Ada 95.

Ada 95 is a Stronger Ada

Since Ada 95 is built on an already strong, modern, powerful basis, it is a coherent whole, not an ugly grab-bag of convoluted features. In other words, Ada 95 is a stronger Ada, not an Ada++.

Ada 95 has a large predefined library with components for e.g. strings and numerics; it also brings a set of "Specialized Needs Annexes." Both aspects are probably as important for the success of Ada 95 as making the language "OO." A good language becomes really useful with a set of good component libraries and development tools (imagine using Smalltalk without its class libraries and browser).

The Ada 95 Adoption Handbook examines issues in adopting Ada 95 for software development and maintenance. The handbook covers both Management Information Systems and Real-Time/Embedded Systems.

Some Historical Notes and Celebrations

The last news of the standardization process: Ada 9X is finalized as Ada 95, the first object-oriented programming language to become a standard; compiler vendors announce commitment and already deliver implementations of many new mechanisms; approved version of the reference manual and rationale now available online.

To celebrate the end of the Ada 9X effort, a poem was written by the "Bard of Ada 9X" (see if you can guess who he is :-). This poem is made available in electronic format thanks to the gracious help of Miss Robin Keeney of the Ada 9X Project Office.

Ada goes the OO way (object-oriented programming)

Here is a 10-page long outline of a tutorial given at TRI-Ada'93: Object-Oriented Programming and Reuse in Ada 9X (a similar tutorial was given at several international conferences).

Also, here is a chance to find out about OOP with the toughest programming language of the 90's: Ada 9X is OO too (quite large, a 40-page draft paper --ultimately published in French).

Although Ada 95 doesn't have a language construct for "multiple inheritance" (MI), it supports the programming idioms MI is used for in other languages (as well as other type composition mechanisms -- see the Language Study Note on Multiple Inheritance in Ada 95):

Inheritance is a type composition mechanism, but it is extremely restrictive. Its use is too complex when stretched to perform all type composition duties. By contrast, Ada 95 offers a set of extremely flexible composition mechanisms, each mechanism being straightforward and (largely) orthogonal to the others.

For further information on OO-everything, check the Object-Orientation FAQ.

Ada wants to be read (reference manual)

The reference manual of Ada is available in electronic format (for both Ada 83 and Ada 95), either as straight text or as hypertext. This is distinctive to the Ada programming language in that its reference manual is meant to be read, and a majority of Ada programmers do read it.

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