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Ada programming

Ada is a structured, statically typed programming language designed by Jean Ichbiah of CII Honeywell Bull in the 1970s. It is positioned to address much the same tasks as C or C++, but with the type-safety of a language like Java. (Some cite Ada as an influence on Java.) Ada was named after Ada, Lady Lovelace, often credited as the first computer programmer.

Features

Ada was originally targeted at embedded and real-time systems, and is still commonly used for those purposes. The Ada 95 revision, designed by Tucker Taft of Intermetrics between 1992 and 1995, improved support for systems, numerical, and financial programming.

Notable features of Ada include strong typing, modularity mechanisms (packages), run-time checking, parallel processing (tasks), exception handling, and generics. Ada 95 added support for object-oriented programming, including dynamic dispatch.

Ada supports run-time checks in order to protect against access to unallocated memory, buffer overflow errors, off by one errors, array access errors, and other avoidable bugs. These checks can be disabled in the interest of efficiency, but can often be compiled efficiently. It also includes facilities to help program verification. For these reasons, it is very widely used in critical systems like avionics, weapons and spacecraft.

It also supports a large number of compile-time checks to help avoid bugs that would not be detectable until run-time in some other languages or would require explicit checks to be added to the source code.

Ada's dynamic memory management is safe and high-level, like Java and unlike C. The specification does not require any particular implementation. Though the semantics of the language allow automatic garbage collection of inaccessible objects, most implementations do not support it. Ada does support a limited form of region-based storage management. Invalid accesses can always be detected at run time (unless of course the check is turned off) and sometimes at compile time.

The Ada language definition is unusual among International Organization for Standardization standards in that it is free content. One result of this is that the standard document (known as the Reference Manual or RM) is the usual reference Ada programmers resort to for technical details, in the same way as a particular standard textbook serves other programming languages.


The article above is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Ada programming language".