(February 15, 1995 -- Washington, D.C.) The Ada Resource Association announced that the 1995 revision of the Ada programming language has been accepted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in Geneva, Switzerland, and is being released today through publication of the revised standard reference manual.
The ISO approval makes the revision, called Ada 95, the first internationally standardized fully object-oriented programming (OOP) language and follows on Ada's expanding implementations in a variety of civil and commercial applications. More than half of the Ada programs currently under development are for every type of core business capability -- from manufacturing process control and industrial design to telecommunications and diagnostic analysis -- and comprise a wide spectrum of industry including transportation, finance, health care, energy and national security, among others.
Ada 95 was designed and developed from an international process of unprecedented scale for a programming language. A Board of Distinguished Reviewers -- representing six different countries and comprised of twenty-eight world renown leaders in academia and industry -- provided oversight and evaluation of the immense input from the international community of users. Over 750 recommendations were received by individuals who were invited to submit Revision Requests -- many from the world's leading companies. Conferences, workshops, small group meetings and one- on-one consultations were held with other segments of the Ada community, and advice was received from some of the world's finest software engineers and government technology leaders. The entire revision process required over four years to complete.
The revision retains the inherent integrity and efficiency of the original version of Ada, called Ada 83, as the first advanced building-block language to assemble a host of important features while adhering to the demands of modern software engineering practice. In addition to OOP support, the new Ada provides more efficient real-time programming facilities while remaining fully portable, and addresses vital concerns for business such as the effective integration of legacy systems and upward compatibility.
New features include international character sets, improved generics (similar to C templates), and a set of changes that will reduce the time needed to recompile large systems. Ada 95 remains a strongly typed language, with full support for encapsulation and information hiding. Increased functionality allows for support of smaller, more dynamic systems; unnecessary assumptions have been eliminated, existing features are generalized and special cases or restrictions have been removed.
The revision is an update of the 1987 ISO release and the equivalent 1983 American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Ada standard. Drafts of the revised standard were formally considered by ISO between September, 1993 and October, 1994; ballots were cast over a period of 15 months by the 22 member countries, and officially tallied on November 1, 1994. ISO delegates accepted the revision by a vote of 18 yes, 0 no.
Ada 95 entered the last stage of the ANSI approval process today, with final submission of the revision, following a second public review and comment period. ANSI coordinates the US voluntary standards system and is the official US body to the world's leading standards organizations. Ada 95 is also being adopted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology as a FIPS -- the Federal Information Processing Standard.
The mapping and design of the language revisions, as well as creation of a new reference manual, was completed by Intermetrics, Inc., of Cambridge, Mass. The revision is receiving strong support from the compiler vendor community where companies such as Thomson Software Products (formerly Alsys, Inc.), Rational Software Corporation, Intermetrics, Silicon Graphics and Tartan have been developing tools and environments.
"Ada offers commercial developers an ideal blend of consistency, maturity, reliability and performance. Ada 95 defines a new language standard that is open and less restrictive, accommodating to change and allowing the innovation of top technical talent -- all while providing the discipline and support for the engineering required in critical software systems," notes Robert Mathis, Ph.D., executive director of the Ada Resource Association.
"Ada has always been strong in object-oriented design and analysis. The revision builds on that strength with full support for OOP, along with the maintainability that makes it the most logical choice for safety- and business-critical applications," noted Chief Language Designer, S. Tucker Taft. "The primary reason for choosing Ada is still the bottom line -- it's cheaper to build a reliable system in Ada than in any other language."
Chris Anderson, project manager for Ada 95 and co-editor of the revised standard reference manual, added: "No other language has ever been created following written requirements refined by the world's best in computer programming and software development. Ada 95 is the culmination of these efforts, thereby delivering the most viable, cost-effective language for the development of long-term software solutions."
The Ada Resource Association (ARA) -- a professional association of over two-hundred member companies, organizations and individuals -- is actively engaged in meeting the expanding requirements of the world-wide user community. Formed in 1989 as the Ada Software Alliance, its objective is to promote and enhance the use of the Ada language and associated software engineering technology in applications and programs that benefit the customer.
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