Ada: Why This Strictly Built Language May Not Survive

Needs to Be Met

The challenge was to create a universal language to be used in defense systems. At the time, there were already around 450 programming languages in use. The language chosen to replace these must be able to meet the needs each of the languages supported. It also must be able to run on large systems consisting of several types of machines.

History of Ada

Ada is a structured, statically typed, imperative, and object-oriented high-level programming language, extended from Pascal and other languages. … Ada was named after Ada Lovelace (1815–1852), who has been credited as the first computer programmer.

Functionality

Ada is a high-level programming language. Some languages that had been used until Ada’s development were specific to certain systems and machines. As a high-level programming language, Ada can be used across several systems and machines. Ada is also a strongly typed language. This means that all data types are predefined and must be used in certain ways.

Ada vs. Python

One more widely known programming language you may have heard of is Python. In comparison to Python, which is “used by 1.4% of all the websites whose server-side programming language we know,” Ada only accounts for less than 0.1%. While this may make it seem as if Ada is virtually irrelevant in the programming world, its uses across the previously stated fields prove it is still highly desired, even if it may be lesser known to the general public. One characteristic that can be seen as both an advantage and a drawback is “Ada’s underlying philosophy of ‘no assumptions.’” This can be frustrating to programmers who are more accustomed to the shortcuts Python offers. However, these characteristics of Ada help it to offer scalability that other languages simply cannot.

Controversy

An interesting aspect to consider when discussing Ada is cost and time. Feelings toward the language can differ across countries. Just peek at a few programming message boards online and you will see how different priorities can result in vastly different opinions on Ada’s standing in modern times. While some see the Steelman Requirements as the golden rules of programming, others find them to create unrealistic expectations in today’s fast-paced, bottom-line world.

Looking Ahead

At this point in time the future of Ada is looking a bit rocky, to say the least. Ada may not have as well-known an image compared to other programming languages, and the cost associated with it has become a deterrent in recent years. Any Google search on the language will bring up numerous blog posts related to its decline in popularity. There have been many complaints about the licensing complexity of Ada, which makes it unappealing for many. However, it still remains an essential building block and a standard to which other languages may be held. Its reliability and security will be what promotes its continued use in highly sensitive systems within the defense and travel. One must consider the hesitancy of programmers to work with it. Will the difficulty of finding those willing to use Ada sway its niche market? Only time will tell.

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