Beginner’s Guide To Ada Programming Language

Prospective programmers have scores of programming languages to choose from. Ada ranks among the best for beginners. It has a wide area of applications and employment opportunities. That’s the reason why a growing number of programmers wish to learn it.

What Is Ada Programming Language?

What Is Ada Programming Language?

Ada is an object-oriented, imperative, and high-level computer programming language. It originated from Pascal, another big name in the programming world.

A team of programmers, led by Dr Jean Ichbiah developed Ada in the early 1980s. The team achieved this feat at CII-Honeywell-Bull, France. Over the years, the appropriate body has revised it several times. They intend to make it meet up with modern programming standards. The goal is to introduce new features that will enhance its performance and uses.

In 1979, the Department of Defense standardized programming language and controlled it. They made it available for general users in 1987, breaking the 8 years monopoly. Many industries have found a good use for the language.

The programming language went through a revision in 1995. That led to the addition of Object-Oriented Programming. The goal was to enable developers to use it to create systems for different functions. This makes it a great tool in the hands of professional programmers. From the military to air-traffic controls, Ada has proven to be a powerful language.

They named this programming language after the first programmer, Lovelace Ada. It is very simple to use for a wide range of operations.

The language is:

  • Simple to describe.
  • Simple to install.
  • Simple to understand.
  • Its programs are simple.
  • Simple to remember.

Ada’s Features

Ada’s Features

Ada has some features that are far ahead of its generation. The language was far ahead of its time. Packages and generics are some of its unique features. It also covers exceptions and tasking. These features were not a part of the mainstream programming languages before Ada.

Some of its outstanding features that contribute to its wide adoption are:

1. Modularity

The language offers modularity of use. It can arrange its codes into units. This enables users to plan, write, compile, and test the units as separate entities. This is a huge feature that makes it possible for a team of programmers to share a project. They can write independent codes and later integrate them into a single product.

2. Portability

Portability is another feature that makes this language great. Developers can create a system for a platform and recompile it for other platforms with ease. For instance, a system developed for Windows is not limited to that system. Users on other platforms such as macOS, UNIX, and the likes can use it as well.

The secret lies in the programming language’s flexible compilers. The developers validated Ada compilers upfront for different systems. More so, Ada’s design supports implementation minimization. It also reduces platform dependencies.

Sometimes, though, a program may be platform-dependent. If that is necessary, Ada allows programmers to isolate such programs into modules. Such modules are well-defined. The goal is to make it easier for developers to adapt them to necessary functions. They can do this when about porting the system. Hence, programmers have the freedom to use them as they wish on a good number of platforms.

3. Reusability

Reusability is crucial to large system development. Ada supports the idea of breaking a software project into units. You can use each unit as separate entities. You can perform different operations on them, depending on the need. Programmers can retrieve a unit from a program with ease. They can alter it or use it as they wish without affecting other components of the software. If you are working on different data, you can perform the same logical operation on them with ease.

Programmers can explore the language’s reusability feature. It makes it possible to reuse some parts of applications designed with the language. Such features include generics or templates. Object-Oriented Programming also supports this. Through some concepts such as:

  • Classes.
  • Objects.
  • Inheritance.
  • Dynamic binding

To understand this, OOP works on a principle that supports reusability. Its classes are reusable components. Ada gives programmers the freedom to use a unit as they wish, rather than reinvent the wheels.

4. Maintainability

Maintenance is a very important attribute of Ada programming language. Its high readability level and modularity support its ease of maintenance. It is easier to maintain than most other languages. More so, a programmer can alter someone else’s work to suit a special need. Ada has a modularity attribute that programmers can take advantage of. It allows them to alter the content of a package while the other components remain intact.

5. Reliability

Ada is a reliable programming language. It has a built-in mechanism for error detection. While writing your code, you can detect errors with the feature. If you omit some errors during coding, you can spot them during compilations. More so, you can test each unit for errors and correct them before compiling the entire software.

Ada has an enviable exception-handling property. It provides a portable and efficient way to detect errors and respond to them with ease. It doesn’t rely on the error-prone primitives such as calls to operating system. Rather, it uses high-level constructs that are more reliable and less prone to errors.

6. Ease of Training

The programming language’s design supports good software engineering. Its features that follow the accepted principles in programming make this possible. So, the language is easy to learn.

If you have programmed in some languages such as C++, you will appreciate the ease of learning Ada. It doesn’t use the complex semantics and syntaxes that are common to its competitors.

7. Flexibility

The programming language also supports flexibility in program development. It achieves this through its compilation facility. This facility supports both top-down and bottom-up programming techniques. The former allows using existing libraries while the latter focuses on functional decomposition.

With its hierarchical library mechanism, programmers can extend a module. They don’t have to recompile or alter the original module to achieve this. They can bank on this feature to define working architectures for large systems.

8. Concurrency support

In programming, concurrency is a must-have concept for all languages. It involves the overlapping of two tasks during execution. It also refers to the collection of mechanisms and techniques that support multitasking.

Only a handful of languages have direct support for concurrency, Ada is one of them. Its concurrent programming feature increases its readability. They also support reliability and make room for efficient implementation.

Software developers are more effective when they use a readable and portable language. It must be easy to maintain too. Ada came into existence to meet this need. Besides these features, Ada has all the attributes of a modern programming language.

At the technical level, it offers:

  • Extensive run-time checks.
  • Full OOP support.
  • Extensive compile-time checks.
  • Encapsulation.
  • Generic templates.
  • Multicore support.
  • Hierarchical program composition.
  • Specialized support for real-time systems.
  • Contract-based programming.
  • Increasing expressiveness.
  • Container enhancements.

Ada Applications

Ada Applications

Programmers around the world have explored the features of this programming language. They have used it in different ways. Here are some of them:

1. Financial Management

Ada is a great language for creating software programs for financial management. Its major uses include stock quotation transaction and payroll systems. Programmers have used it for language translation and commercial banking systems applications. This is besides its use for Relational Database Management Systems (RDMSs).

2. Military

It has also found its way into the Military. Here, developers build strategic military embedded systems with Ada. These systems are more often in real-time applications. They are also used for training military officers before embarking on a mission.

The Space technology sector has adopted it. The Space Shuttle and Space Station Environments is a project powered by Ada. This is a special project for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The multifunctional agency is into aeronautics and aerospace research.

3. Automation

In the field of automation, Ada is not a pushover. Programmers have created several automated systems with the language. It is great for automated materials handling systems automated manufacturing system. Software developers also prefer it to other languages for developing inventory management systems. Robotic welding systems are other applications that owe their existence to Ada.

4. Telecommunications

Ada is the language for developing several telecommunications applications. This includes commercial telecommunications applications. Examples include PABXs. They also use it to develop commercial cellular phone switching applications.

5. Processing

The programming language’s versatility is second to none. Its versatility is also demonstrated by developers. They use it to create processing applications too. So, Ada makes data processing a lot easier.

Its use also extends to the development of chemical analysis systems. They have also used this programming tool for developing geophysical exploration systems.

6. Real-Time Operations

Several operations that need real-time monitoring are easier than before, thanks to Ada. Software developers have created applications that are useful for real-time copier control. Others are real-time medical monitoring systems that work around the clock.

7. Aviation

Aviation is another field where Ada has made its mark. The industry has used it in air traffic control systems and commercial jets. Flight training simulators are created with the powerful programming language too. Its use in in-flight display or control systems is proof of how useful it is in the aviation sector. Many airlines also used applications developed in Ada to detect in-flights.

Job Opportunities In Ada

Job Opportunities In Ada

Ada programmers are in high demand in the job market. Here are some employment opportunities:

1. Software Engineering

As a software engineer, you analyze user needs and design an application to meet them. Besides, you construct the application and test it to remove errors. The testing is also to ensure that the software program meets your objectives.

An Ada programmer performs these functions with Ada programming language. If you are passionate about software development, learn this language. A software engineer can also develop computer games or run network controls.

Sometimes, you may not write code as a software engineer. That’s a programmer’s job. But, you need programming knowledge to work with a programmer. You can’t have an effective discussion with a software developer if you can’t write code.

2. Teaching

There is an increasing demand for expert Ada programmers in the lecturing field. Your expertise may come in handy as a lecturer both in the private or public education sector.

You can also create online tutorials for potential Ada learners. If you make your tutorials valuable and informative, you will attract more students. That will boost your earning chances.

The language is an excellent teaching language for individuals interested in programming. You can make a living out of teaching the language. If you don’t get a teaching appointment, create courses.

3. Programmer Analyst

Your job description as a programmer analyst includes evaluating computer systems and programs. You also develop the systems and coordinate their testing. If there are problems in the application programs, you identify such problems. This increases the ease of resolving them.

You also work with senior programming staff. You help them with the analysis and resolution of complex problems. This helps smooth the development process.

4. Consultancy

Another job opportunity you can explore as an Ada programmer is consultancy. If you have the required experience, you can consult for companies and organizations. Those who have special needs for Ada-based programs will be willing to pay for your services.

As a consultant, your job includes advising clients on programming-related jobs. You also write code and fix bugs when necessary. If your client requires customized software systems, you offer them. First, you analyze their needs to determine the best system for their specific tasks. Then, you help them to create the software.

A consultant may make as much as $75,000 annually.

A career in Ada programming is lucrative. According to Payscale, an Ada programmer can earn as much as $120k annually. The average hourly rate for such programmers is $24. Glassdoor gave the following average salary breakdown for Ada programmers:

  • Computer Programmer/Analyst: $59,000.
  • Computer Programmer / Developer: $57,000.
  • Entry Level Computer Programmer: $53,000.
  • Computer Engineer: $70,000.
  • Software Engineer: $77,000.

Some Ada developers earn more than the figures here. Their earnings are dependent on years of experience. Their job description also plays a huge role.

Learning Resources

Learning Resources

Learning this programming language may be one of the best career decisions you will make. It will come in handy if you want to pursue a career in programming. There are many websites that teach the language. Apart from these, there are also several online resources that can help you. Some of these are:

1. Ada on Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow is a platform where you can ask Ada-related questions. The experts will give you satisfactory answers to your questions. You can also learn from questions from other users too.

Go through the questions and answers session on the platform. Learn from experienced programmers via their contributions. Take note of tips offered on the platform and see how you can apply them. That will help you to make swift progress.

2. Ada on Reddit

You will do yourself a lot of good if you can join the community of Ada users on Reddit. If you wish to learn the language, the community will assist you whenever you need it.

3. Ada on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the best social media for professionals. On the platform, you will come across expert Ada programmers. You can learn from them. Connect and interact with them to draw from their wealth of experience.

Connect with experienced developers and potential employers from around the globe on LinkedIn. You have a golden opportunity to meet an employer to help you put your knowledge to use.

The group’s goal is to “promote the use of the Ada Programming Language.” It also wants to connect developers who use Ada from different parts of the world together. It extends its hand of welcome to both Ada users and recruiters alike.

The LinkedIn page currently has some 2,870 professionals to connect with. Learn from them.

4. AdaCore on GitHub

GitHub is a developers’ haven. The social media platform is Open Source. On this site, you can find valuable pieces of information on Ada from major contributors. This includes professional Ada programmers and AdaCore.

AdaCore claims to have “over 40 million developers working together.” Join this growing number of developers.

5. @AdaProgrammers

If you are a Twitter user, join like-minded programmers on the social media site. The organizers of an Ada competition titled Make with Ada created @AdaProgrammers. You can find relevant information and learn about the happenings in the Ada community around the world.

Some professional Ada developers are in charge of this account. They use their experience to train upcoming developers.

Ada Pros:

  • Free compiler.
  • Effective error-detection mechanism.
  • Interoperable with other languages.
  • Easy learning curve.
  • Safer and more portable programs.

Cons:

  • Not popular.

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