Ada 95 Quality and Style Guide Preface



The purpose of Ada 95 Quality and Style: Guidelines for Professional Programmers* is to help computer professionals produce better Ada programs by identifying a set of stylistic guidelines that will directly impact the quality of their Ada 95 programs. This style guide is not intended to replace the Ada Reference Manual (1995) or Rationale (1995) or to serve as a tutorial for the Ada 95 programming language. Furthermore, this book is not intended to be a guide for transitioning from Ada 83 to Ada 95. The reader is encouraged to consult the References for sources on these related topics.

The style guide is divided into chapters that map to the major decisions that each programmer addresses when creating high-quality, reliable, reusable, and portable Ada software. Some overlap exists in the chapters because not all programming decisions can be made independently. Individual chapters address source code presentation, readability, program structure, programming practice, concurrency, portability, reusability, performance, and a new chapter on object-oriented features.

Each chapter is divided into guidelines, using a format that supports wide usage because its content is both prescriptive and tailorable. Each guideline consists of a concise statement of the principles that should be followed and a rationale explaining why the guideline is important. The guidelines also provide usage examples, in addition to possible exceptions to applying the guidelines. Many of the guidelines are specific enough to be adopted as corporate or project programming standards. Others require a managerial decision on a particular instantiation before they can be used as standards. In such cases, a sample instantiation is presented and used throughout the examples.


The Ada Joint Program Office (AJPO) funded this style guide, which was created by merging a set of guidelines for using Ada 95 with modifications to the original Ada Quality and Style: Guidelines for Professional Programmers, version 02.01.01 (AQ&S 83) (Software Productivity Consortium 1992), developed to support Ada 83. The Ada 95 guidelines are based on the wealth of data available from the Ada 9X Project, the AJPO library, and the Ada community at large. The Software Productivity Consortium's (Consortium's) technical staff authored the update and the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) participated in the update effort.

The preexisting AQ&S 83 presented a set of guidelines to help the programmer make disciplined use of Ada's features. In 1992, the Consortium completed the version 2.1 update to the style guide under contract to the AJPO. The AJPO referred to that style guide as "the suggested style guide for all DoD programs."

Public Comment

This new style guide is intended to provide a tool for both the novice and the experienced Ada programmer. To meet this objective, the Consortium directly involved both the public and the best available experts from across the Ada community. To ensure this involvement, a three-step process was defined to develop this style guide: develop a draft baseline, conduct public and expert review, and develop a final style guide.

The Consortium invites comments on this book to continue enhancing its quality and usefulness. The authors will consider suggestions for current guidelines and areas for future expansion. Examples that highlight particular points are most helpful.

Electronic copies of this style guide are available for downloading through the Ada Information Clearinghouse - (e-mail:

Please direct written comments to:

Christine Ausnit
Software Productivity Consortium
2214 Rock Hill Road
Herndon, VA 22070
fax: (703) 742-7200


Kent A. Johnson
Software Productivity Consortium
2214 Rock Hill Road
Herndon, VA 22070
fax: (703) 742-7200

Please include your contact information in your comments.

Questions pertaining only to the HTML formatting should be directed to webmaster at the AdaIC.

**This material is based in part upon work sponsored by the Department of Defense Ada Joint Program Office, through the Advanced Research Projects Agency under grant #MDA972-92-J-1018. The content does not necessarily reflect the position of the policy of the U.S. Government, and no official endorsement should be inferred. Back

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