Ada-Java - A Comparison of Ada and JavaTM as a Foundation Teaching Language Benjamin M Brosgol Ada Core Technologies 79 Tobey Road Belmont MA

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A Comparison of Ada and Java™ as a Foundation Teaching Language Benjamin M. Brosgol Ada Core Technologies 79 Tobey Road Belmont, MA 02478 (617) 489-4027 (phone) (617) 489-4009 (FAX) [email protected] http://www.gnat.com Introduction Java has entered the software arena in unprecedented fashion, upstaging languages and technologies that are longstanding players in the industry. Almost unheard of before 1995, the language and its surrounding technology are attracting increasing attention not merely in the hardware and software communities but also among lay users and in the popular press. This phenomenon has not escaped the attention of academia, and a growing number of colleges and universities are looking at Java as a candidate “foundation” language on which to base computer science curricula. This paper looks at the role of a programming language for teaching computer science courses and compares Ada and Java against the identified criteria. It concludes that Ada is the superior choice, based on technical factors such as its more comprehensive feature set and its methodology-neutral design, and also taking into account external factors including the availability of good but inexpensive compilation environments. Section 1 provides a brief overview of the Java technology. Section 2 identifies the criteria relevant to choosing a programming language for a foundation-level Computer Science course. Section 3 compares Ada and Java with respect to the criteria related to technical aspects of the language, and Section 4 compares the languages with respect to external factors. Section 5 summarizes the conclusions of this analysis. This is an updated version (March 2000) of a paper originally presented by the author, while an employee of Aonix, at the ASEET ’98 symposium.
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A Comparison of Ada and Java™ as a Foundation Teaching Language B. Brosgol, Ada Core Technologies Page 2 Appendix A furnishes a summary of the Java language. It is assumed that the reader is familiar with Ada, and thus an Ada language summary is not included. Web sites with links to Ada information include [SIGAda] and [AdaResourceAssoc]. 1 The Java Technology Java is portrayed on one of Sun’s Web pages [Sun] as a “simple, object-oriented, network-savvy, interpreted, robust, secure, architecture neutral, portable, high-performance, multithreaded, and dynamic language”. This is an impressive string of buzzwords but it is useful to distinguish among three elements: The Java language The classes comprising the Java API (Application Programmer Interface) The Java execution platform, also known as the Java Virtual Machine or simply JVM . In brief, Java is an Object-Oriented language with features for objects/classes, encapsulation, inheritance, polymorphism, and dynamic binding. Its surface syntax has a strong C and C++ accent: for example, the names of the primitive types and the forms for the control structures are based heavily on these languages. However, the OO model is more closely related to so-called “pure” OO languages such as Smalltalk.
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This note was uploaded on 03/27/2008 for the course COMS 319 taught by Professor Jiang during the Spring '08 term at Iowa State.

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Ada-Java - A Comparison of Ada and JavaTM as a Foundation Teaching Language Benjamin M Brosgol Ada Core Technologies 79 Tobey Road Belmont MA

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