Rationale for Ada 2012

John Barnes
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1.1 Revision process

Ada has evolved over a number of years and, especially for those unfamiliar with the background, it is convenient to summarize the processes involved. The first version was Ada 83 and this was developed by a team led by the late Jean Ichbiah and funded by the USDoD. The development of Ada 95 from Ada 83 was an extensive process also funded by the USDoD. Formal requirements were established after comprehensive surveys of user needs and competitive proposals were then submitted resulting in the selection of Intermetrics as the developer under the leadership of Tucker Taft. Then came Ada 2005 and this was developed on a more modest scale. The work was almost entirely done by voluntary effort with support from within the industry itself through bodies such as the Ada Resource Association and Ada-Europe.
After some experience with Ada 2005 it became clear that some further evolution was appropriate. Adding new features as in Ada 2005 always brings some surprises regarding their use and further polishing is almost inevitable. Accordingly, it was decided that a further revision should be made with a goal of completion in 2012.
As in the case of Ada 2005, the development is being performed under the guidance of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22 WG9 (hereinafter just called WG9). Previously chaired by Jim Moore, it is now under the chairmanship of Joyce Tokar. This committee has included national representatives of many nations including Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and the USA. WG9 developed guidelines [1] for a revision to Ada 2005 which were then used by the Ada Rapporteur Group (the ARG) in drafting the revised standard.
The ARG is a team of experts nominated by the national bodies represented on WG9 and the two liaison organizations, ACM SIGAda and Ada-Europe. In the case of Ada 2005, the ARG was originally led by Erhard Plödereder and then by Pascal Leroy. For Ada 2012, it is led by Ed Schonberg. The editor, who at the end of the day actually writes the words of the standard, continues to be the indefatigable Randy Brukardt.
Suggestions for the revised standard have come from a number of sources such as individuals on the ARG, national bodies on WG9, users and implementers via email discussions on Ada-Comment and so on. Also several issues were left over from the development of Ada 2005.
At the time of writing (August 2011), the revision process is approaching completion. The details of all individual changes are now clear and they are being integrated to form a new version of the Annotated Ada Reference Manual. The final approved standard should emerge towards the end of 2012.

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