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🙄  Cynics & grumps

Ada: A Language That Just Won't Die

The programming language that seems to exist solely to spark debates among programmers...

Born in the late 70s, Ada, named after Ada Lovelace, has a respectable pedigree yet remains an infamous underdog, often overshadowed by its more popular counterparts like C++, Java, and Python.

But don't worry, dear reader; Ada is still very much alive, kicking, and holding on to its niche, despite periodic attempts to leave it behind. And with a dedicated fanbase of die-hard Ada enthusiasts, it seems the language refuses to go gently into that good night.

Humble Beginnings: Ambitious Goals

Ada was originally designed by the US Department of Defense (DoD) in a quest to create the holy grail of programming languages: one that would provide unparalleled safety and reliability. They mustered all their efforts and expertise to achieve a language that would cater to everything from air traffic control systems to nuclear submarines. But anyone experienced in coding knows how well those all-encompassing goals usually pan out.

As a result, Ada became a modern Frankenstein's monster: a language stitched together with various parts of other languages, trying to please everyone but ending up as an unwieldy behemoth. In its defense, though, Ada does boast some impressive safety and reliability features, making it appealing for mission-critical systems or situations where human life is at stake.

The Dreaded Language of Academia and Defense

Ada often serves as a showcase for how not to design a language by providing so many safety features that it alienates programmers. Its verbose syntax and rigid rules can make it feel like you're programming with both hands tied behind your back.

Nevertheless, it remains remarkably popular within certain circles — particularly those where failure is not an option. You've got to admit that it's somewhat comforting to know something as stubborn and foolproof as Ada might be guarding the systems that prevent planes from falling out of the sky.

Ada: The (Anti-) Hero We Deserve, but Not the One We Need

Despite its quirks and off-putting syntax, Ada has managed to carve a niche almost solely on its reputation for safety and reliability. It's like Batman in a world full of more colorful and flashy superheroes; you don't necessarily want it for everyday programming needs, but when disaster looms, it's the one you want by your side.

Ada's type system is strict, its syntax is elaborate, and if you don't adhere to its rules, it'll remind you with compile-time errors. It's tough love, but someone's got to do it. Better Ada than letting an airplane's autopilot be coded in JavaScript, right?

Conclusion: Long Live Ada (Whether You Like It or Not)

In summary, Ada is the programming language that simply refuses to die. It remains stubbornly alive, largely due to its undeniable merits in safety-critical environments, backed by a community of loyalists who celebrate its syntactical quirks and complexity.

Ada's persistence despite its cynics is a testament to its enduring value. Sure, it may not dominate the programming landscape, and it might be a bit like signing up for a lifetime membership at the "syntax masochist club," but we can all secretly appreciate knowing that Ada is still lurking in the shadows, ready to save the day when needed. is a collection of articles on a variety of technology and programming articles assembled by James Padolsey. Enjoy! And please share! And if you feel like you can donate here so I can create more free content for you.