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Ada FAQ: Learning Ada

Learning Ada Frequently Asked Questions (and answers). Please read before posting. Does *not* get into Ada programming questions [for that see the companion Ada/programming FAQ].
Archive-name: computer-lang/Ada/learning
Comp-lang-ada-archive-name: learning
Comp-edu-archive-name: learning-Ada
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 31 May 1996
Last-posted: 22 April 1996

                                 Learning Ada
                       Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Recent changes to this FAQ are listed in the first section after the table
of contents. This document is under explicit copyright.


This is a list of resources to learn Ada. This list includes interactive
tutorials, books, source code collections, etc.

Ada is an advanced, modern programming language, designed and standardized
to support and strongly encourage widely recognized software engineering
principles: reliability, portability, modularity, reusability, programming
as a human activity, efficiency, maintainability, information hiding,
abstract data types, genericity, concurrent programming, object-oriented
programming, etc.

All validated Ada compilers (i.e. a huge majority of the commercial Ada
compilers) have passed a controlled validation process using an extensive
validation suite. Ada is not a superset or extension of any other language.
Ada does not allow the dangerous practices or effects of old languages,
although it does provide standardized mechanisms to interface with other
languages such as Fortran, Cobol, and C.

Ada is recognized as an excellent vehicle for education in programming and
software engineering, including for a first programming course.

Ada is defined by an international standard (the language reference manual,
or LRM), which has been revised in 1995. Ada is taught and used all around
the world (not just in the USA). Ada is used in a very wide range of
applications: banking, medical devices, telecommunications, air traffic
control, airplanes, railroad signalling, satellites, rockets, etc.

The latest version of this FAQ is always accessible through WWW as


This FAQ is maintained on an individual volunteer basis, by Magnus Kempe
( [Note: This is done as a hobby, not in my
capacity as an employee at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. --MK]

Report of a book, product, service, or event, etc., does not constitute an
endorsement. Opinions (if any) expressed are those of the submitters and/or

Table of Contents:

   * 1: Recent changes to the FAQ

   * 2: Information about this document

   * 3: Are there computer-based Ada tutorials?

   * 4: Is there a list of good Ada books?

        o Ada 95 Books
        o Group 1: Books Suitable for a First Course in Programming
        o Group 2: Other Books Intended for Undergraduate Courses
        o Group 3: A Selection of Other Ada-Related Books

   * 5: Credits

   * 6: Copying this FAQ


1: Recent changes to this FAQ

   * 950531: updated list of tutorials.
   * 950522: approved for posting in *.answers.
   * 960309: added list of Ada 95 books.
   * 960128: created, with contributions from David Wheeler and Mike


2: Information about this document

This file is posted monthly to comp.lang.ada,, comp.answers, and

This document has a home on the Home of the Brave Ada Programmers (HBAP) WWW
Server, in hypertext format, URL

It is available --as posted in *.answers-- on, which archives
all FAQ files posted to *.answers; see directory

The text-only version is also available in directory

Magnus Kempe maintains this document; it's a hobby, not a job. Feedback
(corrections, suggestions, ideas) about it is to be sent via e-mail to

In all cases, the most up-to-date version of the FAQ is the version
maintained on the HBAP WWW Server. Please excuse any formatting
inconsistencies in the posted, text-only version of this document, as it is
automatically generated from the on-line, hypertext version.


3: Are there computer-based Ada tutorials?

There are many ways to learn Ada.

Here are some on-line Ada tutorials expressly designed for self-study:

  1. Lovelace is a free (no charge) self-directed Ada 95 tutorial available
     on the World Wide Web (WWW), at

     Lovelace assumes that the user already knows some other algorithmic
     programming language (such as C, C++, or Pascal). Lovelace is
     interactive; it contains a number of short sections, and most short
     sections end with a question (to help ensure that you've understood the
     section's material). Lovelace can be used directly from the WWW (see
     above), downloaded from

     or run from a CD-ROM, described at

     Lovelace was developed by David A. Wheeler.

  2. Learn Ada on the Web (LAW) by Dr. Fintan Culwin was developed to freely
     provide Ada training on the World Wide Web, at URL

     LAW is concerned with initial software development education rather
     than with helping programmers who already know other computer
     languages. Also, LAW is concerned as much with providing software
     engineering tools over the Web as with presenting information regarding
     Ada. Dr. Culwin believes that the Lovelace and LAW projects are
     complementary rather than needless duplication of each other, since
     their target users are so different.

     LAW includes an interesting capability to interactively create Ada
     programs remotely over the Web; you might want to use this LAW
     capability even if you choose to use another tutorial.

     Dr. Culwin is at South Bank University, London, and may be contacted at

  3. Coronado Enterprises Tutorials are shareware tutorials. Their tutorial
     of interest to us is an Ada 83 tutorial located at
     (the suggested fee is US$15)

  4. The C/C++ Programmers Ada Tutorial is a short hypertext tutorial,
     located at

     for programmers who have a C or C++ style programming language
     background. It was written by Simon Johnson, with some additional text
     by Tucker Taft.

  5. Ada-Tutr is a shareware interactive Ada tutor developed by John Herro
     of Software Innovations Technology. You can download it from the
     Ada-Tutr web site, at

     or the Ada-Tutr ftp site, located at

     You can also download it by calling the SaddleBag BBS, 1-407-773-0831,
     and log in with the name Ada Tutor and the password tutor. The Public
     Ada Library's copy of Ada-Tutr (mirror) is another way to retrieve
     Ada-Tutr. There is also an older version of Ada-Tutr for Ada 83
     (mirror). AdaTutr has a number of exercises that give a more complete
     understanding of Ada but will take more time to complete than a tutor
     without such exercises (such as Lovelace).

  6. HOT_Ada, a two-volume course/tutorial distributed on floppy disks, is
     available from Stage Harbor Software; it is not directly available via
     the WWW. It does not include a compiler. It is similar to a set of
     tutorial slides, except for the hyper-linking features and the fact
     that you can proceed at your own pace and accommodate your own learning
     style and needs.

     HOT_Ada is designed for individual, self-paced learning. One version
     runs on Macintoshes, another on PCs with Windows. The many hypertext
     and hypergraphic features allow you, for instance, to click on a "hot
     word" to see its definition in the Glossary or click on a "hot icon" in
     a diagram to jump to the corresponding line of Ada source code in a
     previously hidden listing.

     The regular price is $29 for a single volume, $49 for the two-volume

     E-mail inquiries welcomed at: Regular mail
     inquiries or mail orders (specify Mac or Windows, personal checks
     accepted) can be sent to:

              Stage Harbor Software
              9 Patriots Drive
              Lexington, MA 02173

     What does the course cover?

     HOT_Ada is a two-volume course/tutorial, distributed on floppy disks.
     Volume 1, the "core" part of the course, provides a pictorial
     introduction to object technology (OOA and OOD presented in a
     language-independent manner) and a pictorial introduction to Ada 9X,
     with emphasis on its OOP features. Volume 2 provides an extended case
     study with a step-by-step illustration of the OOA, OOD and OOP concepts
     outlined in Volume 1. A mixture of classification and composition
     approaches is illustrated. The OOA and OOD material is strongly
     influenced by the Fusion Method, a fusion of OMT, Booch, Coad-Yourdon,
     et al. HOT_Ada is designed for individual, self-paced learning. One
     version runs on Macintoshes. Another version runs on PC's with Windows.
     There are many hypertext and hypergraphic features. For example, you
     can click on a "hot word" to see its definition in the Glossary, or
     click on a "hot icon" in a diagram to jump to the corresponding line of
     Ada source code in a previously hidden listing. A major theme of the
     course is the reuse of patterns and parts.

     Who can benefit from HOT_Ada?

     Several categories of people can benefit from self-study using HOT_Ada.
     If you are familiar with Ada 83, and have begun to study Ada 9X, you
     can supplement other efforts by reviewing this picture-based material
     and the case study. If, as an Ada software engineer, you want to learn
     more about object technology in general, especially the Fusion
     approach, HOT_Ada provides an ideal combination for learning and "tying
     it all together." If you are a newcomer to Ada, the visual approach of
     HOT_Ada may provide you with an excellent way to start your learning
     process -- to be followed up using traditional text and classroom

     What are the System Requirements?

        o PC: Any PC with Windows Version 3.0 or later should be fine. You
          will need about six MB of free space on your hard disk.(Two MB for
          the ToolBook runtime and three MB for the two volumes of HOT_Ada.)
          The beta version had been distributed on 4 disks. Version 1.1 (and
          now Version 1.2) has been compressed, and is being delivered on a
          single disk. You will need to "unzip" it.

        o Mac: Any reasonably modern Mac (e.g., Mac II or PowerBook) with
          two MB of RAM or more should work OK, but older "small screen"
          Macs will be awkward, due to a lot of graphical scrolling that
          will be needed. Version 1.1 (and now Version 1.2) is being
          delivered on two disks, without compression. (Each disk contains
          the HyperCard runtime integrated with a volume of HOT_Ada.) You
          will need about three MB of free space on your hard disk.

     How to Order by Mail?

     Write a personal check for $49 to Stage Harbor Software and mail it to
     Stage Harbor Software, 9 Patriots Drive, Lexington, MA 02173. Be sure
     to specify the Windows or Mac version of HOT_Ada, and include your
     e-mail address if you have one. (Credit card orders are not accepted.)

     To Order from Outside the USA

     To order from outside the USA, you can send an International Postal
     Money Order or have your bank wire funds to my account at

              The Cooperative Bank,
              12 Nagog Park, Acton, MA, 01720-9890, USA,
              Account: Bard S. Crawford, Stage Harbor Software,
              Account Number  03520457558

     -- and let Bard Crawford know separately that you are doing so.

     [Source: Bard Crawford, Stage Harbor Software]

Here are some other Ada-related educational materials that you may find

  1. Introducing Ada95 is a set of slides about Ada 95 by Richard Conn,
     released without restrictions on its use and distribution. Here's a
     quote from Richard Conn:

          This is a day-long short course that introduces Ada95. The
          purpose of the course is to explore the Ada95 language,
          including its facilities for object-oriented design and
          programming, real-time programming, distributed processing,
          and other domains. The course will concentrate on the
          practical aspects of applying the features of Ada95 to the
          software development process. Numerous examples of the
          language are presented.

     Richard Conn's tutorial is available in Zipped Powerpoint Postscript
     format. (736K). A README file accompanies the tutorial.

     Free viewers for both Macintosh (602K) and PCs running Windows (1,092K)
     are available for those who do not own Powerpoint.

  2. Ada 95: The Next Generation, a slide set by Mike Kamrad, is available
     through the SIGAda server. It is available in both Powerpoint 4.0 for
     the Macintosh format (140K) and Powerpoint 4.0 for Windows format
     (84K). Free viewers for both Macintosh (602K) and PCs running Windows
     (1,092K) are available for those who do not own Powerpoint.

  3. ASSET maintains a collection of Ada-related courseware; see ASSET's WWW
     page for more information.

  4. Other PAL Courseware (mirror) products are available by FTP (in
     addition to AdaTutr and Lovelace, listed above). Walnut Creek mirrors
     the PAL onto its Ada CD-ROM. A copy of the Ada CD-ROM is available

  5. An "Academic Ada" package is being developed by Intermetrics. The
     expected date for the beta version for Windows NT is March 1996, with
     final versions out May 1996 (Windows NT) and Summer 1996 (other


4: Is there a list of good Ada books?

Mike Feldman maintains annotated bibliographies. they are selected lists of
useful books, with capsule reviews. You are invited to write reviews.

Michael B. Feldman
Education Working Group Chair, ACM Special Interest Group on Ada (SIGAda)
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
The George Washington University
Washington, DC 20052
(202) 994-5919 (voice)
(202) 994-0227 (fax)

                       Ada 95 Textbooks: Brief Reviews

                                February 1996

This bibliography is a project of the SIGAda Education Working Group. I am
serving as the editor of the list, and the contact point for sending in
reviews, but there are many reviewers. You too can be one! Just send a
capsule review, in the form of the ones here, and I will be glad to add it
to the list and credit you for the contribution.

Reviewers in this edition are Ted Baker, Jack Beidler, Michael Feldman, Stan
Kwasny, and Pat Rogers. Their initials appear after their respective

There are nine books listed here; within each category, books are listed
alphabetically by author. I am informed of three more books in the pipeline,
all from Springer Verlag: an advanced data structures text by Jack Beidler,
an Ada 95 book for C and C++ programmers by Simon Johnston, and a book
version of David Wheeler's Lovelace, a very well-received Ada 95 tutorial on
the World Wide Web.

Group 1: Books Suitable for a First Course in Programming

Ada 95: Problem Solving and Program Design.
Michael Feldman and Elliot Koffman.
Addison-Wesley, 1996. (ISBN 0-201-87009-6)
     As with the earlier edition by the same authors, the first 2/3 of the
     book is suitable as a CS1 text with Ada as the language of instruction,
     and the the last few chapters, combined with some language-independent
     algorithm theory, cover the rest of the Ada langauge in sufficient
     depth to serve as the language-specific basis of a CS2 course.

     The style is like that of a musical fugue: sections that develop
     general programming and problem solving techniques are interleaved with
     sections that develop successively larger subsets of the Ada 95
     language and libraries; examples recur from one chapter to another, in
     progressively more completely developed forms. Packages are introduced
     from the start; other language features are introduced very gradually
     at first and then at a progressively faster pace. Loops come up in
     chapter 5, records and arrays by chapter 8, generics by chapter 11, and
     pointers, tagged types, and tasks in chapters 14-16. The nearly 200
     examples have all been compiled and tested, and are available in
     electronic format from the first author, the Addison Wesley home page,
     and the usual Ada archives.(T.B.)

Ada from the Beginning. (2nd ed.)
Jan Skansholm.
Addison-Wesley, 1994. (ISBN 0-201-62448-6)
     This book was one of the first to use Ada with CS1-style pedagogy.
     There are excellent sections on the idiosyncracies of interactive I/O
     (a problem in all languages), and a sufficient number of fully-worked
     examples to satisfy students. Generics, linked lists and recursion are
     covered at the end; there is no tasking coverage, but one would not
     expect this at CS1-level. A very interesting addition is the new
     Chapter 14, in which OOP in both Ada 83 and Ada 95 is discussed. This
     is an especially lucid explanation of OOP in Ada, and makes a real
     contribution because it doesn't just discuss tagged types as a
     "feature" of Ada 95, but shows very nicely what is possible in Ada 83
     (instead of just what is not possible), and shows how Ada 95 adds
     functionality. Because the book was published before the Ada 95
     standard was finalized, there are necessarily some inconsistencies.
     These are minor and, we hope, will be corrected as the book is

Group 2: Books on Specific Topics, with Ada 95 as the Language of Discourse

Concurrency In Ada
Alan Burns and Andy Wellings.
Cambridge University Press, 1995. (ISBN 0-521-41471-7)
(Concurrent Programming and Real-Time Systems)
     The ultimate Ada concurrency book (Burns' "Concurrent Programming In
     Ada") has a successor for Ada95. Written by acknowledged real-time
     experts, it covers the tasking model in great depth, including all the
     existing and new capabilities as well as the Systems Programming Annex,
     the Real-Time Systems Annex, and the Distributed Systems Annex. Also
     included are an introduction to concurrent programming and an
     examination of the interaction of the tasking facilities with those for
     object-oriented programming. More than just a detailed language
     examination, the book offers many examples of usage and analysis of
     feature interaction that only these two authors could provide. Highly
     recommended for introductory and advanced courses in concurrent and
     real-time programming with Ada. (P.R.)

Software Construction and Data Structures with Ada 95.
Michael B. Feldman
Addison Wesley, 1996. (ISBN 0-201-88795-9)
(CS2/data structures)
     As a book about data structures, this well-written, teachable book
     assumes a base knowledge of Ada, although a quick review of the basics
     is included.

     Ada95 features are incorporated smoothly into the discussion and the
     coded examples (which are available from the author). The book strikes
     a nice balance between theoretical issues and practice with a wealth of
     examples and much attention to detail, including a nice discussion on
     how to time a program. The extensive material coverage includes
     standard CS2 topics like "big O" analysis, linked lists, queues and
     stacks, graphs, trees, hash methods, and sorting, but the reader is
     allowed to investigate topics beyond the basics through additional
     topics like strings, vectors, tables, file I/O, sets, priority queues,
     AVL trees, and B-Trees, and several complete and illustrative examples,
     including an employee database, an airline passenger list, an RPN
     calculator, a discrete simulation, and even a simple window manager.

     By introducing generic units relatively early (chapter 5), the text can
     focus on reusability and sound software engineering solutions to a wide
     variety of data structures problems, but never neglects the underlying
     analysis. As a capstone to the development of several generic data
     structures, chapter 14 covers generic sorting according to a wide
     variety of methods each with its own data structure nuances. The final
     chapter introduces concurrency.

     This book is in final production for publication in May, 1996. The
     nearly 200 programs and packages have all been compiled and tested, and
     are available in electronic form from the author, the Addison Wesley
     home page, and the usual Ada archives.(S.C.K.)

Methodes de Genie Logiciel avec Ada 95 (in French)
(Software Engineering Methods with Ada 95)
Jean-Pierre Rosen
Paris, InterEditions, 1995. (ISBN 2-7296-0569-X)
(Software Engineering)
     This is a very interesting book written by a long-standing expert in
     Ada and software engineering. Various methodologies are compared
     (Booch, HOOD, Schlaer-Mellor, etc.), all in the context of Ada 95 but
     not limited to language-specific discussions. Enough Ada 95
     fundamentals are taught that it should not be necessary to know Ada 95
     before reading the book, but this is not a book for people without some
     programming background.

     Recommended for classes taught in French and for individuals with a
     good reading knowledge of French. The author is developing an English
     translation, which I await enthusiastically. (M.B.F.)

Object-Oriented Software in Ada 95
Michael A. Smith.
International Thomson Computer Press, 1996. (ISBN 1-85032-185-X)
(Object-Oriented Programming for Advanced Undergraduates)
     This book begins by providing an introduction to problem solving using
     a Fusion-based object-oriented design methodology, in addition to
     examining the basic constructs in the Ada 95 language. The book then
     moves on to discuss the object-oriented features of the language, using
     numerous examples to illustrate the ideas of encapsulation,
     inheritance, and polymorphism. The book's capstone is a detailed case
     study of the design and implementation of a textual user interface
     (TUI) using object-oriented design methodology. This is a nice,
     understandable, straightforward book on OOP with Ada 95, quite suitable
     for self-study or an advanced undergraduate course. The brief survey of
     Ada 95 at the beginning should be sufficient for readers with
     programming experience. The several dozen source code files are
     available on the Internet.

Group 3: General Texts Covering All of Ada 95

Programming In Ada 95, first edition
John Barnes.
Addison-Wesley, 1995. (ISBN 0-201-87700-7)
     This new book by John Barnes continues a tradition of easy readability
     that belies the depth of understanding required to make a complex
     subject accessible. Though a new book for a new Ada, the style and
     humor from the earlier book remain. The new Ada standard is covered as
     a language in its own right, with few references to its predecessor
     beyond a summary of language differences in each chapter. The core
     facilities are covered extensively, with emphasis on rationale and the
     "programming in the large" issues of abstraction, OOP, tasking and
     exceptions. Of particular value is the chapter entitled Object Oriented
     Techniques, which explores the application of the OOP, tasking and
     generic unit facilities explained earlier in the book. Each chapter
     contains coding exercises for further study, with fullly worked-out
     answers in the back. The many who appreciated the earlier book will
     likewise enjoy this, the new classic on Ada95. Highly recommended for
     readers with programming experience. (P.R.)

Ada as a Second Language (2nd Edition)
Norman Cohen.
McGraw Hill, 1996. (ISBN 0-07-011607-5)
     This is more like a new book than like a new edition. The first edition
     of this book was a excellent reference to Ada(83), well organized and
     filled with excellent examples of realistic code sequences. It was the
     perfect reference to the language for those with substantial
     programming experience in another programming language. One of the more
     important features of the first edition is a well constructed index,
     which becomes the major passageway into the book as it grows old and

     That was the first edition, the second edition builds upon the
     excellent organization that made the first edition an excellent
     reference and adds material on the new features in Ada(95). To be more
     precise, the new material is not added, it is integrated into a
     seamless reference to Ada(95). The book is composed into twenty well
     focused chapters and five appendices, including an appendix on the
     special needs annexes. Each chapter concludes with two sections, one on
     differences between Ada(83) and Ada(95), and a very brief chapter
     summary. Isolating the discussion of '83 versus '95 differences to a
     single section in each chapter has kept the rest of the presentation in
     each chapter clean and to the point.

     As an example of the quality in this book, consider Chapter Twelve,
     Classwide Programming. This is the chapter that describes Ada's object
     oriented programming support. Again the word "seamless" comes to mind.
     Unless you know ahead of time what are the new features in the language
     and what are the old features, you could not tell from the
     presentation. Polymorphism, type extension, dispatching are presented
     in a clear direct way, with excellent sample pieces of code. I was
     particularly impressed by the clean presentation of Ada.Finalization,
     and the realistic easy to follow sample code for the Initialize,
     Finalize, and Adjust procedures.

     In conclusion, "Ada as a Second Language, is the best non-language
     lawyer reference to Ada(95), even for those whose first language is
     Ada(83). (J.B.)

Rendezvous with Ada 95
David J. Naiditch.
John Wiley and Sons, 1995. (ISBN 0-471-01276-9)
     This book is a revision of Naiditch's earlier "quick introduction" to
     Ada for experienced programmers. The second edition is no longer
     "quick" (it is nearly 150 pages longer) but is the best integrated
     introduction to Ada 95 to appear thus far. One wishes only that the
     author had provided more complete, compilable examples instead of the
     fragments so typical of Ada texts. (M.B.F.)


               An Annotated Sampling of Ada-Oriented Textbooks

                                 August 1995

    (with contributions from Jack Beidler, Duane Jarc, Suzanne Pawlan Levy,
    Mathew Lodge, Pat Rogers, and David Weller, as indicated by their
initials following their reviews)

As chair of the SIGAda Education Working Group, and a denizen of the
Internet newsgroups, I am often asked to give references for "Ada
textbooks." This list responds to these many queries.

   * Group 1: Books Suitable for a First Course in Programming
   * Group 2: Other Books Intended for Undergraduate Courses
   * Group 3: A Selection of Other Ada-Related Books

The textbooks in the Group 1 are written especially for students without
programming experience, who are learning Ada as their first language. Most
of these can also cover at least part of a typical CS2-level course. The
books in Group 2 use Ada as their language of discourse but are
"subject-oriented:" data structures, file structures, compilers, comparative
languages. The remaining books in Group 3 are either "Ada books" focusing on
the language features or more general books that use Ada, at least in part,
but do not fit obviously into a standard curriculum "pigeonhole."

I invite you to add to the list. Please write your annotated entry in the
form I have used here and write or e-mail it to me, .
I will include it in my next version and credit you as a co-compiler of the

Disclaimers: I wrote two of the texts listed here; I hope the annotations
are impartial enough. And any annotated bibliography is selective and
opinionated. Your mileage may vary.


Group 1: Books Suitable for a First Course in Programming

Bover, D.C.C., K.J. Maciunas, and M.J. Oudshoorn.
Ada: A First Course in Programming and Software Engineering.
Addison-Wesley, 1992. ISBN 0-201-50992-X
     This work is, to our knowledge, the first Ada book to emerge from
     Australia, from a group of authors with much collective experience in
     teaching Ada to first-year students. A number of interesting examples
     are presented, for example, an Othello game. The book is full of gentle
     humor, a definite advantage in a world of dry and serious texts. In the
     book's favor is the large number of complete programs. On the other
     hand, it is rather "European" in its terseness; American teachers may
     miss the pedagogical apparatus and "hand-holding" typically found in
     today's CS1 books. Generic units are hardly mentioned.

Culwin, F.
Ada: a Developmental Approach.
Prentice-Hall, 1992.
     This work introduces Ada along with a good first-year approach to
     software development methodology. Much attention is paid to program
     design, documentation, and testing. Enough material is present in data
     structures and algorithm analysis is present to carry a CS2 course. A
     drawback of the book is that the first third is quite "Pascal-like" in
     its presentation order: procedures, including nested ones, are
     presented rather early, and packages are deferred until nearly the
     middle of the book. This is certainly not a fatal flaw, but it will
     frustrate teachers wishing a more package-oriented presentation. The
     programs and solutions are apparently available from the author.

Dale, N., D. Weems, and J. McCormick.
Programming and Problem Solving with Ada.
D. C. Heath, 1994. ISBN 0-669-29360-1
     This book is inspired by Dale and Weems' very successful Introduction
     to Pascal and Structured Design, but it is not simply an Ada version.
     Ada's more advanced capabilities such as exceptions, packages and
     generic units are included in this text. In addition, more than half of
     the material is completely new, and the order of the topics is
     signficantly different. It also has more of a software engineering
     focus than the Pascal version. The only Ada topics not included in this
     text are tasks and access types. Procedures and packages are introduced
     early. Each chapter includes case studies, testing and debugging hints
     and excellent non-programming exercises and programming problems. The
     text comes with a program disk containing all the programs given in the
     book. In addition, a validated Meridian Ada compiler with complete
     documentation is available at low cost to students using this book. (S.
     P. L.)

DeLillo, N. J.
A First Course in Computer Science with Ada.
Irwin, 1993. (ISBN 0-256-12538-4)
     This book is a first in the Ada literature: a version comes with an Ada
     compiler, the AETech-IntegrAda version of Janus Ada. Author, publisher,
     and software supplier are to be commended for their courage in this.
     The book itself covers all the usual CS1 topics. In my opinion, the
     order of presentation is a bit too Pascal-like, with functions and
     procedures introduced in Chapter 5 (of 15) and no sign of packages
     (other than Text_IO) until Chapter 10. Unconstrained arrays and
     generics are, however, done nicely for this level, and Chapter 13 is
     entirely devoted to a single nontrivial case study, a statistical
     package. I wish there were more complete programs in the early
     chapters, to put the (otherwise good) discussion of control and data
     structures in better context.

Feldman, M.B., and E.B. Koffman.
Ada: Problem Solving and Program Design.
Addison-Wesley, 1992. ISBN 0-201-53364-2
     This work combines the successful material from Koffman's CS1 pedagogy
     with a software-engineering-oriented Ada presentation order. Packages
     are introduced early and emphasized heavily; chapters on abstract data
     types, unconstrained arrays, generics, recursion, and dynamic data
     structures appear later. The last five chapters, combined with some
     language-independent algorithm theory, can serve as the basis of a CS2
     course. A diskette with all the fully-worked packages and examples
     (about 180) is included; the instructor's manual contains a diskette
     with project solutions. A second edition, with Ada 95 as the language,
     is in preparation and due out at the beginning of 1996.

Savitch, W.J. and C.G. Petersen.
Ada: an Introduction to the Art and Science of Programming.
Benjamin/Cummings, 1992. ISBN 0-8053-7070-6
     This is a straightforward adaptation of the well-known Savitch Pascal
     books. Ada is introduced in a Pascal-like order, with subtypes and
     packages introduced halfway through the book. This is purely a CS1
     book. The final chapter covers dynamic data structures. There is
     minimal coverage of unconstrained array types; generics are introduced
     at the halfway point to explain Text_IO, then continued only in the
     final chapter. The authors intended this book to provide a painless
     transition to Ada for teachers of Pascal; one wishes they had taken
     advantage of the chance to show some of the interesting Ada concepts as
     well. Program examples from the text are available on disk, but only as
     part of the instructor's manual; a solutions disk is available for a
     fee from the authors.

Skansholm, J.
Ada from the Beginning. (2nd ed.)
Addison Wesley, 1994. ISBN 0-201-62448-6
     This book was one of the first to use Ada with CS1-style pedagogy.
     There are excellent sections on the idiosyncracies of interactive I/O
     (a problem in all languages), and a sufficient number of fully-worked
     examples to satisfy students. Generics, linked lists and recursion are
     covered at the end; there is no tasking coverage, but one would not
     expect this at CS1-level. A very interesting addition is the new
     Chapter 14, in which OOP in both Ada 83 and Ada 95 is discussed. This
     is an especially lucid explanation of OOP in Ada, and makes a real
     contribution because it doesn't just discuss tagged types as a
     "feature" of Ada 95, but shows very nicely what is possible in Ada 83
     (instead of just what is _not_ possible), and shows how Ada 95 adds

Smith, J. F., and T. S. Frank
Introduction to Programming Concepts and Methods with Ada
McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1994 ISBN 0-07-911725-2
     This is a well written and easy to use text. The book takes a spiraled
     approach to CS 1. The authors do an excellent job integrating Ada into
     the book. They take a very direct approach, especially with an early
     introduction to the package concept and the traditional Text_IO
     package. Faculty who have taught CS 1 with Pascal should like this
     book. Instead of making a big fanfare about Ada features, they simply
     introduce them as good support for software development concepts. The
     authors have carefully chosen the Ada topics they decided to cover in
     this book in order to strike a balance between staying true to the CS 1
     course while presenting enough of the programming language. If you
     teach CS 1 you might at least want to get a copy of this text just to
     look at two chapters, Chapter 7 and Chapter 14. Seven covers program
     correctness and run-time event (exception handling) and fourteen is a
     beautiful presentation and example of generic packaging. Both
     presentations are done in an appropriate manner for CS 1. (J. B.)

Volper, D., and M. Katz.
Introduction to Programming Using Ada.
Prentice-Hall, 1990. ISBN 0-13-493529-2
     This book uses a heavily "spiraled" approach to Ada, and is designed
     for a 2-semester course, covering nearly all of Ada eventually. There
     are lots of fully-coded examples, and good pedagogical sections on
     testing, coding style, etc. If you like spiraling, you'll like this.
     The down side is that you can't find all you need on a given subject in
     one place. It's at the other end of the scale from the "Ada books" that
     follow the Ada Language Reference Manual (LRM) order.


Group 2: Other Books Intended for Undergraduate Courses

Ben-Ari, M.
Principles of Concurrent and Distributed Programming.
Prentice-Hall 1990. ISBN 0-13-711821-X
     In my opinion, this is the best introduction to concurrency on the
     market. Ada notation is used for everything, but the focus is on
     concurrency and not on Ada constructs per se. I liked the CoPascal
     notation of the first edition better, but this book is still great. A
     software disk is promised in the preface; I had to work quite hard to
     get it from the publisher, which finally had to express-ship it from
     England. The software comes with a tiny Ada-ish interpreter, complete
     with Pascal source code, adapted from Wirth's Pascal/S via CoPascal.
     There are also some real Ada programs, most of which I've tested and
     found correct and portable.

Feldman, M.B.
Data Structures with Ada.
Addison Wesley, 1993. ISBN 0-201-52673-5
(CS2/data structures)
     This book is a reasonable approximation to a modern CS2 book: "big O"
     analysis, linked lists, queues and stacks, graphs, trees, hash methods,
     and sorting, are all covered. The Ada is a bit old-fashioned,
     especially the lack of generics; the book was published before
     compilers could handle generics. The packages and other programs are
     available free from the author. The book has been heavily revised; the
     Ada 95-based second edition should appear early in 1996 from

Fischer, C., and R. LeBlanc.
Crafting a Compiler.
Benjamin Cummings, 1988. ISBN 0-8053-3201-4
     This book uses Ada as its language of discourse and Ada/CS, a usefully
     large Ada subset, as the language being compiled. If you can get the
     "plain Pascal" tool software by ftp from the authors, you'll have a
     good translator-writing toolset. Skip the Turbo Pascal diskette
     version, which is missing too many pieces to be useful. I've used the
     book since it came out with both undergrad and graduate compiler
     courses; it embodies a good blend of theory and "how it's really done"
     coding. Students like it. The authors have recently published a second
     version, which uses C as its coding language but retains Ada/CS as the
     language being compiled.

Hillam, B.
Introduction to Abstract Data Types Using Ada.
Prentice-Hall, 1994. ISBN 0-13-045949-6
(data structures)
     This is a very readable treatment of data structures presented using
     Ada that makes good use of Ada features such as generics. It contain
     many complete programs and packages. Unfortunately, obvious syntax
     errors make it apparent that not all examples have been compiled. The
     level of presentation is somewhere between an elementary, CS 2, data
     structures course and an advanced, CS 7, course. A subset of first
     eleven chapters provide the appropriate topics for a CS 2 course, but
     not the pedagogy necessary for a course at that level. (D. J.)

Lomuto, N.
Problem-Solving Methods with Examples in Ada.
Prentice-Hall, 1987.
     Inspired by Polya's classic How to Solve It, this book can make a nice
     addition to an Ada-oriented algorithms course. It makes too many
     assumptions about students' programming background to use as a CS1
     book, and doesn't teach enough Ada to be an "Ada book." But it makes
     nice reading for students sophisticated enough to handle it. I'd
     classify it as similar to Bentley's Programming Pearls.

Miller, N.E. and C.G. Petersen.
File Structures with Ada.
Benjamin/Cummings, 1990. ISBN 0-8053-0440-1
(file structures)
     Designed for a straightforward ACM-curriculum file structures course,
     this book succeeds at what it does. There are good discussions of ISAM
     and B-tree organizations. The software can be purchased a low cost from
     the authors; it seems to approximate in Ada all those C-based file
     packages advertised in programmer-oriented trade publications.

Schneider, G.M., and S.C. Bruell.
Concepts in Data Structures and Software Development
(with Ada Supplement by P. Texel).
West, 1991.
(CS2/data structures)
     This work is not, strictly speaking, an Ada book; rather, it is a
     solid, language-independent approach to modern CS2. The language of
     discourse in the book is a Pascal-like ADT language rather like
     Modula-2 in style; some examples are coded in legal Pascal. The Ada
     supplement makes it usable in an Ada-based course, but the supplement
     is rather too terse (100 pages of large type) for my taste, and
     insufficiently well keyed to the book chapters. The supplement's
     effectiveness would be greatly enhanced by full translations to Ada of
     a large number of the book's examples.

Sebesta, R.W.
Concepts of Programming Languages (2nd ed.).
Benjamin Cummings, 1993. ISBN 0-8053-7132-X
(comparative languages)
     If you've been around for a while, you might remember the late Mark
     Elson's 1975 book by the same title. This is similar: a concept-by-
     concept presentation, with -- in each chapter -- examples taken from
     several languages. I include this work in an "Ada list" because I like
     its nice, impartial coverage of Ada. I especially like the chapters on
     abstraction and exception handling. The book covers -- comparatively,
     of course -- most of the lanuages you'd like to see, including C, C++,
     Lisp, Smalltalk, etc., with nice historical chapters as well. The book
     is readable; my students like it. Our undergraduate and graduate
     courses both use it as a base text.

Stubbs, D.F., and N.W. Webre.
Data Structures with Abstract Data Types and Ada.
PWS-Kent, 1993. ISBN 0-534-14448-9
(advanced data structures)
     This work updates and adapts to Ada the material in the authors'
     successful data structures texts using Pascal and Modula-2. It is good
     for a "heavy" CS2, i.e., one on the theoretical side, or a "light" CS7,
     i.e. it is not as theory-oriented as the Weiss work below. More Ada,
     especially regarding advanced types, is taught here than in Weiss.
     Especially interesting about all the books from these authors is that
     they have matched their "big O" performance prediction with tables and
     graphs showing actual performance measurements.

Weiss, M.A.
Data Structures and Algorithms in Ada.
Benjamin/Cummings, 1993. ISBN 0-8053-9055-3
     I think this book reaches its intended market -- data structures
     courses (CS7) -- rather well with Ada. There's a good mixture of theory
     and practice (ADT design, for example), and coverage of new topics like
     amortized algorithm analysis and splay trees. A book at this level
     should not pay too much attention to teaching a language; rather it
     should make good use of its language of discourse. The Ada version does
     not attempt to teach either the language or Ada-style software
     engineering, but shows good understanding of the language, uses generic
     packages quite well and focuses on the theory of algorithms, as a book
     at this level should. This is the first, and so far the only, text in
     Ada for this course.


Group 3: A Selection of Other Ada-Related Books

Barnes, J. G. P.
Programming in Ada. (4th edition)
Addison-Wesley, 1994. ISBN 0-201-62407-9
     Barnes' work has been one of the most popular "Ada books." Some
     students find it hard to see how the pieces fit together from Barnes'
     often fragmentary examples; it is difficult to find complete,
     fully-worked out, compilable programs. On the other hand, this book has
     been a real best-seller, so Barnes clearly is doing something right.
     The fourth edition has a 100-page summary of Ada 95, and a
     fully-integrated Ada 95 fifth edition is in production for Fall 1995
     release. Also, the third (Ada 83) edition is still in print, with an
     Ada 83 reference manual included.

Booch, G.
Software Components with Ada.
Benjamin Cummings, 1987. ISBN 0-8053-0610-2
     This work is an encyclopedic presentation of data structure packages
     from Booch's OOD point of view. It is great for those who love
     taxonomies. It's not for the faint-hearted, because the volume of
     material can be overwhelming. It could serve as a text for an advanced
     data structures course, but it's thin in "big O" analysis and other
     algorithm-theory matters. The book is keyed to the (purchasable) Booch

Booch, G. and D. Bryan, with C. Petersen
Software Engineering with Ada. (3rd edition)
Benjamin/Cummings 1994. ISBN 0-8053-0613-7
     Another of the classical "Ada books." Introduces Booch's OOD ideas. Not
     for use to introduce Ada to novices, in my opinion; there are some nice
     fully-worked case studies but they begin too far into the book, after
     long sections on design, philosophy, and language elements. The earlier
     chapters contain too much fragmentary code, a common flaw in books that
     follow the LRM order. The third edition contains an appendix describing
     Ada 9X.

Bryan, D.L., and G.O. Mendal.
Exploring Ada, Volumes 1.and 2.
Prentice-Hall, 1990 and 1992 respectively. ISBN 0-13-295684 (vol. 1); ISBN
0-13-297227-1 (vol. 2)
     This is an excellent study of some of the interesting nooks and
     crannies of Ada; it sometimes gets tricky and "language-lawyerly."
     Volume 2 takes up tasking, generics, exceptions, derived types, scope
     and visibility; Volume 1 covers everything else. The programs are short
     and narrowly focused on specific language issues. If you like Bryan's
     "Dear Ada" column in Ada Letters, you'll like this book. It is
     certainly not a book for beginners, but great fun for those who know
     Ada already and wish to explore.

Burns, A., and G. Davies.
Concurrent Programming.
Addison-Wesley, 1993, ISBN 0-201-54417-2
     Solid book covering all aspects of writing concurrent software. Uses a
     version of Pascal called FC-Pascal (available for free through the
     Internet). The FC means "Functionally Concurrent". It has constructs
     that are similar to Ada 9X, and this is by no accident -- the authors
     frequently point out that the implementations in FC-Pascal are taken
     from Ada 9X's Tasks and Protected Types. Covers lots of low-level
     problems by gradually building up from simple examples. Highly
     recommended for a Concurrent Programming class. Exercises and Further
     readings are provided at the end of each chapter. (D.W.)

Burns, A. and A. Wellings.
Concurrency In Ada.
Cambridge University Press, 1995. ISBN 0-521-41471-7
     The ultimate Ada concurrency book (Burns' Concurrent Programming In
     Ada) has a successor for Ada95. Written by acknowledged real-time
     experts, it covers the tasking model in great depth, including all the
     existing and new capabilities as well as the Systems Programming Annex,
     the Real-Time Systems Annex, and the Distributed Systems Annex. Also
     included are an introduction to concurrent programming and an
     examination of the interaction of the tasking facilities with those for
     object-oriented programming. More than just a detailed language
     examination, the book offers many examples of usage and analysis of
     feature interaction that only these two authors could provide. Highly
     recommended for introductory and advanced courses in concurrent and
     real-time programming with Ada. (P.R.)

Burns, A. and A. Wellings.
Real Time Systems and their Programming Languages
Addison-Wesley 1990. (ISBN 0-201-17529-0)
     This is an excellent and unique book. Basic concepts and terminology
     are explained before moving on to explain the major aspects of real
     time design. "Real world" examples are presented in Ada, Modula-2 and
     occam 2, though Ada is clearly the authors' language of choice and gets
     the most coverage. Topics covered include reliability and fault
     tolerance, concurrency, synchronisation, scheduling, message passing,
     atomic transactions, resource control, distributed systems and
     low-level device control. Efficiency is not neglected, and Ada support
     here is particularly strong with detail on the CIFO package. Several
     case studies are also presented. The only failing of the book is that
     it needs updating to cover Ada 9x and its real-time annex, Modula-3
     etc. However, the basic concepts that the authors convey so clearly are
     independent of implementation language. (M. L.)

Cohen, N.
Ada as a Second Language.
McGraw Hill, 1986. ISBN 0-07-011589-3
     This book is a quite comprehensive exploration of Ada which follows the
     LRM in its presentation order. My graduate students like it because it
     is more detailed and complete than alternative texts. It's an excellent
     book for students who know their languages and want to study all of
     Ada. There are good discussions of "why's and wherefore's" and many
     long, fully-worked examples. An anxiously-awaited 2nd edition covering
     Ada 95 is in the pipeline.

Gauthier, M.
Ada: Un Apprentissage (in French).
Dunod, 1989.
Ada: a Professional Course (in English).
Macmillan Computer Science Series, 1993. ISBN 0-333-58001-X.
     I found this an especially interesting, almost philosophical approach
     to Ada. The first section presents Ada in the context of more general
     laguage principles: types, genericity, reusability. The second section
     introduces testing and documentation concerns, as well as tasking; the
     third considers generics and variant records in the more general
     context of polymorphism. For mature Ada students in the French-speaking
     world, and others who can follow technical French, this book can serve
     as a different slant on the conventional presentations of the language.
     The more recent English edition is a contribution to the Ada literature
     in English, because of its getting behind the language itself into the
     more general language-design principles.

Gehani, N.
Ada: an Advanced Introduction (2nd edition).
Prentice-Hall, 1989. ISBN 0-13-004334-6
     I've always liked Gehani's literate writing style; he knows his
     languages and treats Ada in an interesting, mature, and balanced
     fashion. This book comes with a diskette sealed in the back of the
     book, which is advantageous because the book has numerous nontrivial,
     fully- worked examples.

Gehani, N.
Ada: Concurrent Programming (2nd edition).
Silicon Press, 1991. ISBN 0-929306-08-2
     This is a less formal, more Ada-oriented presentation of concurrency
     than the Ben-Ari work. I use both books in my concurrency course; its
     real strength is the large number of nontrivial, fully worked examples.
     Gehani offers a nice critique of the tasking model from the point of
     view of an OS person. The preface promises the availability of a
     software disk from the publisher.

Naiditch, D.J.
Rendezvous with Ada 95
New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1995. ISBN 0-471-01276-9
     This book is a revision of Naiditch's earlier "quick introduction" to
     Ada for experienced programmers. The second edition is no longer
     "quick" (it is nearly 150 pages longer) but is the best integrated
     introduction to Ada 95 to appear thus far. One wishes only that the
     author had provided more complete, compilable examples instead of the
     fragments so typical of Ada texts. Nevertheless, I recommend it as the
     best introduction to Ada 95 at this point.

Nyberg, K. (editor)
The Annotated Ada Reference Manual. (3rd edition)
Grebyn Corporation, 1993.
     This is the definitive work on Ada legalities, because it presents not
     only the full text of the LRM but also the official Ada Interpretations
     as prepared by the Ada Rapporteur Group of Working Group 9 of the
     International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and approved by
     that organization. These commentaries, interleaved with the LRM text,
     are promulgated by the Ada Joint Program Office, the American National
     Standards Institute (ANSI) agent for Ada, in the Ada Compiler
     Validation Suite (ACVC). They are thus binding upon compiler
     developers. I recommend this book as an essential volume in the library
     of every serious Ada enthusiast.

Watt, D.A., B.A. Wichmann, and W. Findlay.
Ada Language and Methodology.
Prentice-Hall, 1987. ISBN 0-13-004078-9
     This work presents some interesting programming projects, and the
     coverage of design and testing--at the level of a first-year
     student--is quite good. The first third of the book concentrates
     heavily on classical control and data structures, leaving subprograms
     until Chapter 12, and exceptions and packages until the "programming in
     the large" material in the second third. CS2 teachers will find too
     little concentration on algorithm analysis. On the other hand, tasking
     and machine-dependent programming are covered. Like the Shumate work,
     this book would make a suitable introduction to Ada for students with a
     semester or so of programming experience; it "jumps in" too quickly to
     satisfy the needs of neophytes and is not well-tailored to CS1 or CS2


5: Credits

The following persons have contributed to the information gathered in this
FAQ: Michael Feldman--who maintains the annotated lists of Ada books,
David A. Wheeler--who developed the original version of the tutorials list,
and Gordon Dodrill.

The maintainer has simply :-) organized, polished, or added some information
for your satisfaction.


6: Copying this FAQ

This FAQ is Copyright ╘ 1996 by Magnus Kempe. It may be freely redistributed
--as posted by the copyright holder in comp.lang.ada and in other
forums than Usenet News as long as it is completely unmodified and that no
attempt is made to restrict any recipient from redistributing it on the same
terms. It may not be sold or incorporated into commercial documents without
the explicit written permission of the copyright holder.

Permission is granted for this document to be made available under the same
conditions for file transfer from sites offering unrestricted file transfer
on the Internet and from Forums on e.g. Compuserve and Bix.

This document is provided as is, without any warranty.

Magnus Kempe --

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