Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 4th Jun 2008 09:14 UTC, submitted by fairynomo
General Development Computerworld is undertaking a series of investigations into the most widely-used programming languages. Previously they have spoken to Alfred v. Aho of AWK fame, and Chet Ramey about his experience maintaining Bash. In this article, they chat with S. Tucker Taft, Chairman and CTO of SofCheck. Taft has been heavily involved in the Ada 1995 and 2005 revisions, and still works with the language today as both a designer and user. Computerworld spoke to Taft to learn more about the development and maintenance of Ada.
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A couple of years ago I profiled the GreenHills Ada95/C-C++ compiler. When you turn off run-time checking in Ada (esentually making it generate C/C++ like machine code) the performance difference was only ~3-4% (PPC 603e/vxWorks) overall and in some code the Ada was actually faster (Array manipulation). The benefit of Ada with RT checking off is that you still get all the compile-time checks that you don't get with C/C++.

There are very good compilers on the market these days, they are not cheep (except for gnat).

The issue with Ada compilers is that the compiler must do a lot more work on the source then most other compilers so they are much more difficult to write. Once that is done however, certain aspects of optimizing become much easier due to the checking that is done during compiling that is then not needed during run-time.

It is well known that the earlier you catch a bug in the application the cheaper it is to fix.
By having a strong compiler/language, most semantic based bugs are eliminated at compile time. The strong typing helps with some logic bugs. These are things that Ada is very good at.


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