Feeds

Thinking of Ada

Not just for things that go 'bang'

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

You’re not designing software for an aeroplane, so what does a bug or two matter between friends, eh?

There are many who should be forgiven for assuming that this is the standard mantra of software developers. Bugs in applications happen, and continue to happen, and the world does keep turning. But as applications have become more significant in businesses, especially for companies that increasingly live and die by the web, a bug can be every bit as fatal as one that shuts down the engines at 38,000 feet.

Web-based operations are just one type of business where the reliability of software is fast becoming central to their survival and where the "it’s only a bug", attitude should now be the equivalent of “it’s only bird flu, I expect I’ll live”.

So AdaCore's launch of the latest version of GNAT Pro, v5.04, is perhaps timely. The launch itself is hardly earth-shattering stuff, for GNAT is just an open-source Ada applications development environment. And Ada, of course, is an old and rather esoteric language developed specifically for US military applications.

In its latest incarnation, Ada 2005, still holds on to the fundamental goal of producing highly reliable applications. And while the defence marketplace is still its primary target, there could well be some mileage in developers looking at the language for the truly `mission critical’ applications that are now becoming common.

The 2005 version introduced enhancements that make Ada far more compatible with web-based applications and environments, particularly in terms of interoperability with Java and C++. This should now allow developers to exploit its reliability and capabilities, such as its safe, high level memory management, and some compile-time and run-time checks that are designed to help avoid bugs like buffer overflows or access to unallocated memory.

Other factors that help Ada ensure its reliability are its standardisation by ISO, and the fact that this means upgrades to the language only occur in a controlled fashion – and not very often. This may seem heretical in a world where software vendors assume they must be dead if not upgrading all the time, but in the cause of applications reliability, it may not be such a bad idea. The new version of GNAT Pro incorporates enhancements to the installation process, as well as new features such as options for stack usage analysis and a tool that can be used to enforce project-specific rules. It comes with a full Ada compiler, an IDE, and a toolset that includes a visual debugger and a set of supplemental libraries and bindings. It is also available to run on the latest 64-bit platforms such as SGI’s Altix servers and HP’s Integrity servers.®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
'In... 15 feet... you will be HIT BY A TRAIN' Google patents the SPLAT-NAV
Alert system tips oblivious phone junkies to oncoming traffic
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
Lotus Notes inventor Ozzie invents app to talk to people on your phone
Imagine that. Startup floats with voice collab app for Win iPhone
'Google is NOT the gatekeeper to the web, as some claim'
Plus: 'Pretty sure iOS 8.0.2 will just turn the iPhone into a fax machine'
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.