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The Saga of the Ada 9X Team

An ungainly name, is "Ada 9X"
It lacks a degree of excitement or sex.

Could anyone picture that name up in lights,
If Chris tried to sell the movie rights?

A more resonant sound is "Ada 94"
To that, one could set a musical score.

Or possibly - "Ada 95" -
A language name that could survive.

Either way, the team planned not to fail -
Nor merely survive - they shall prevail!

Jinny called Chris in July '88.
Sucker that she was, she took the bait.

She went to work and made decisions,
On plans for mapping and revisions.

The DR's joined the following Spring,
And lively debates became "the thing."

Meetings were often about to unravel,
But Erhard controlled by pounding his gavel.

Numerous problems endangered the quest,
Like the 750th Revision Request.

Audrey and company arranged them in groups,
Keeping them free of endless loops.

Then, clarity emerged from chaos and fluff,
In Requirements written by John Goodenough.

The first major issue was OOP.
Was it merely a fad, or a golden key?

The argument lasted for many days.
Then Chris decided - OOP stays.

Folks used to say that "Ada's too large."
She fixed that by putting Tucker in charge.

He simplified rules, and worked with great vigor,
And gave us a language that's ten percent bigger.

The Reference Manual for Ada 9X
Grew larger and larger with each new Annex.

But not to worry - enjoy and relax -
Each brings new goodies, without new syntax.

The list of reserved words has six that are new,
Like "abstract" and "aliased," "until" and "requeue."

Tuck added some features - clearly eye-catching
Such as polymorphic run-time dispatching,

And types that are "tagged," allowing the masses
To build up some dandy derivation classes.

The world's more secure since he elected
To add in some types that are safely "protected."

He led us away from spaghetti, anarchical,
Into the land of libraries, hierarchical.

And callbacks can now be coded by amateurs,
With subprogram accesses passed as parameters.

When asked to explain, team members will say,
"It's really quite simple: Tucker wants it that way."

The UI teams tried out the new features.
Found some delights, and some wild creatures.

David and company applied Methods Formal,
To find lurking dangers in places abnormal.

The team greeted these like so many dragons.
They slew each in turn, then circled the wagons.

Momentous decisions, they could not ignore,
Like the ban of the trailing_underscore.

Finalization refinements were clearly a must,
From "duplicate" to "split" and "split" to "adjust."

The DR discussions, as mentioned before,
Were full of debate, and seldom a bore.

A common occurrence in meetings like that
Was the noisy arrival of Robert of GNAT.

In he would roll with rumbles and squeals,
Pulling his suitcase and computer on wheels.

The fate of proposals tended to rest
On whether they passed his "rubbish" test.

Anthony silently endured the name "Tony"
But call Robert "Bob" and you're full of bologna.

The team got lucky in '92
When the ISO Delegates joined the crew.

Meetings were hosted in places quite rare.
But Chris "can't take them anywhere!"

John Barnes began tossing paper airplanes around
In a posh Swiss restaurant Alfred had found.

Lennart and Björn prepared for that;
In Sweden, they handed each one a hard hat.

Jean-Pierre, in Paris, will always remember
How they failed to distinguish the restrooms by gender.

Rudolf, in Frankfort, helped them to dine
As he taught them the pleasures of fine German wine.

Joyce, the world traveler, wishing not to be rude,
Tried not to notice local swimmers were nude.

In Portsmouth, Kit hosted a dinner sublime;
And they used the right spoons - most of the time.

Through the standards quagmire they'd still be careening,
If not for Brave Bob's expert convening.

And who can forget Mark's buttermilk fit,
Norm's good humor, or Bevin's dry wit?

Norm suggested a wonderful thing.
"Pragma Silver Bullet" had a nice ring.

We all should apply it regularly.
It asserts that the program is problem free.

So Chris and her team endured and outlasted
Three AJPO Directors - a result not forecasted.

Government Advisors kept everyone straight
By reminding the team not to be late.

Government lawyers were mentally bereft
By the strange new concept of "Copyleft."

And DoD brass felt an aversion
To words like GNU and GNAT and recursion.

Fran, and then Robin, coped with office specifics -
Mass mailings, phone calls, and Chris' hieroglyphics.

After thousands of miles and notes by e-mail.
Chris claims to be weary of all the travail.

While she's glad it is ending, she has feelings complex;
She will "terribly miss" her "family-9X"

And when they have scattered, who knows what they'll do.
But one thing is certain -- they'll miss her too!

So, their gift to the world - not to be over-hyped -
Is a language both readable and strongly typed.

An ISO Standard - the first you will see -
To support distribution and OOP.

If that's not enough for the programming masses,
It will call into question their inheritance classes.

Now the team has arrived at the end of their quest.
Ada 9X is finished, and it's simply THE BEST.

The Bard of Ada 9X
10 November 1994