AdaCore Blog

An Insight Into the AdaCore Ecosystem

by Yannick Moy

Two Days Dedicated to Sound Static Analysis for Security

​AdaCore has been working with CEA, Inria and NIST to organize a two-days event dedicated to sound static analysis techniques and tools, and how they are used to increase the security of software-based systems. The program gathers top-notch experts in the field, from industry, government agencies and research institutes, around the three themes of analysis of legacy code, use in new developments and accountable software quality. Here is why it is worth attending.

#SPARK    #Frama-C    #Security    #Formal Methods    #Static Analysis   

by Yannick Moy

Secure Software Architectures Based on Genode + SPARK

​SPARK user Alexander Senier presented recently at BOB Konferenz​ in Germany their use of SPARK for building secure mobile architectures. What's nice is that they build on the guarantees that SPARK provides at software level to create a secure software architecture based on the Genode operating system framework​. They present 3 interesting architectural designs that make it possible to build a trustworthy system out of untrustworthy building blocks. Almost as exciting as Alchemy's goal of transforming lead into gold! Here is the video of that presentation.

#SPARK    #Mobile    #Security   

by Fabien Chouteau

Ada on the micro:bit

The micro:bit is a very small ARM Cortex-M0 board designed by the BBC for computer education. It's fitted with a Nordic nRF51 Bluetooth enabled 32bit ARM microcontroller. At $15 it is one of the cheapest yet most fun piece of kit to start embedded programming.

#embedded    #Ada    #nRF51    #ARM   

by Yannick Moy

Tokeneer Fully Verified with SPARK 2014

Tokeneer is a software for controlling physical access to a secure enclave by means of a fingerprint sensor. This software was created by Altran (Praxis at the time) in 2003 using the previous generation of SPARK language and tools, as part of a project commissioned by the NSA to investigate the rigorous development of critical software using formal methods. The project artefacts, including the source code, were released as open source in 2008. Tokeneer was widely recognized as a milestone in industrial formal verification. We recently transitioned this software to SPARK 2014, and it allowed us to go beyond what was possible with the previous SPARK technology. We have also shown how security vulnerabilities introduced in the code can be detected by formal verification.

#SPARK    #Formal Methods   

by Felix Krause

The Road to a Thick OpenGL Binding for Ada: Part 2

This blog post is part two of a tutorial based on the OpenGLAda project and will cover implementation details such as a type system for interfacing with C, error handling, memory management, and loading functions.

#OpenGL    #Binding   

by Yannick Moy

For All Properties, There Exists a Proof

With the recent addition of a Manual Proof capability in SPARK 18, it is worth looking at an example which cannot be proved by automatic provers, to see the options that are available for proving it with SPARK. We present three ways to complete a proof beyond what automatic provers can do: using an alternative automatic prover, proving interactively inside our GPS IDE, and using an alternative interactive prover.

#SPARK    #Formal Methods   

by Johannes Kanig

Bitcoin blockchain in Ada: Lady Ada meets Satoshi Nakamoto

Bitcoin is getting a lot of press recently, but let's be honest, that's mostly because a single bitcoin worth 800 USD in January 2017 was worth almost 20,000 USD in December 2017. However, bitcoin and its underlying blockchain are beautiful technologies that are worth a closer look. Let’s take that look with our Ada hat on!

#Bitcoin    #Blockchain    #Ada   

by Felix Krause

The Road to a Thick OpenGL Binding for Ada: Part 1

This blog post is part one of a tutorial based on the OpenGLAda project and will cover some the background of the OpenGL API and the basic steps involved in importing platform-dependent C functions.

#OpenGL    #Binding   

by Pierre-Marie de Rodat, Yannick Moy, Fabien Chouteau, Raphaël Amiard

AdaCore at FOSDEM 2018

Every year, free and open source enthusiasts gather at Brussels (Belgium) for two days of FLOSS-related conferences. FOSDEM organizers setup several “developer rooms”, which are venues that host talks on specific topics. This year, the event will happen on the 3rd and 4th of February (Saturday and Sunday) and there is a room dedicated to the Ada programming language.

by Lionel Matias

Leveraging Ada Run-Time Checks with Fuzz Testing in AFL

Fuzzing is a very popular bug finding method. The concept, very simple, is to continuously inject random (garbage) data as input of a software component, and wait for it to crash. If, like me, you find writing robustness test tedious and not very efficient in finding bugs, you might want to try fuzzing your Ada code. Here's a recipe to fuzz-test your Ada code, using American Fuzzy Lop and all the runtime checks your favorite Ada compiler can provide. Let's see (quickly) how AFL works, then jump right into fuzzing 3 open-source Ada libraries: ZipAda, AdaYaml, and GNATCOLL.JSON.

#Testing    #Ada    #VerificationTools   

by Pierre-Marie de Rodat, Raphaël Amiard

Cross-referencing Ada with Libadalang

Libadalang has come a long way since the last time we blogged about it. In the past 6 months, we have been working tirelessly on name resolution, a pretty complicated topic in Ada, and it is finally ready enough that we feel ready to blog about it, and encourage people to try it out.

#Libadalang    #Ada   

by Manuel Iglesias Abbatermarco

Make with Ada 2017- Ada Based IoT Framework

Summary The Ada IoT Stack consists of an lwIp (“lightweight IP”) stack implementation written in Ada, with an associated high-level protocol to support embedded device connectivity nodes for today’s IoT world. The project was developed for the Make With Ada 2017 competition based on existing libraries and ported to embedded STM32 devices.

#embedded    #Ada    #IoT   

by Jamie Ayre

Welcoming New Members to the GNAT Pro Family

As we see the importance of software grow in applications, the quality of that software has become more and more important. Even outside the mission- and safety-critical arena customers are no longer accepting software failures (the famous blue screens of death, and there are many...). Ada has a very strong answer here and we are seeing more and more interest in using the language from a range of industries. It is for this reason that we have completed our product line by including an entry-level offer for C/C++ developers wanting to switch to Ada and reinforced our existing offer with GNAT Pro Assurance for programmers building the most robust software platforms with life cycles spanning decades.

#GNAT Pro    #Ada   

by Fabien Chouteau

There's a mini-RTOS in my language

The first thing that struck me when I started to learn about the Ada programing language was the tasking support. In Ada, creating tasks, synchronizing them, sharing access to resources, are part of the language

#Ada    #Ravenscar    #embedded    #STM32   

by J. German Rivera

Make with Ada 2017- A "Swiss Army Knife" Watch

Summary  The Hexiwear is an IoT wearable development board that has two NXP Kinetis microcontrollers. One is a K64F (Cortex-M4 core) for running the main embedded application software. The other one is a KW40 (Cortex M0+ core) for running a wireless connectivity stack (e.g., Bluetooth BLE or Thread). The Hexiwear board also has a rich set of peripherals, including OLED display, accelerometer, magnetometer, gryroscope, pressure sensor, temperature sensor and heart-rate sensor. This blog article describes the development of a "Swiss Army Knife" watch on the Hexiwear platform. It is a bare-metal embedded application developed 100% in Ada 2012, from the lowest level device drivers all the way up to the application-specific code, for the Hexiwear's K64F microcontroller. I developed Ada drivers for Hexiwear-specific peripherals from scratch, as they were not supported by AdaCore's Ada drivers library. Also, since I wanted to use the GNAT GPL 2017 Ada compiler but the GNAT GPL distribution did not include a port of the Ada Runtime for the Hexiwear board, I also had to port the GNAT GPL 2017 Ada runtime to the Hexiwear. All this application-independent code can be leveraged by anyone interested in developing Ada applications for the Hexiwear wearable device.

by Yannick Moy, Martin Becker, Emanuel Regnath

Physical Units Pass the Generic Test

The support for physical units in programming languages is a long-standing issue, which very few languages have even attempted to solve. This issue has been mostly solved for Ada in 2012 by our colleagues Ed Schonberg and Vincent Pucci who introduced special aspects for specifying physical dimensions on types. This dimension system did not attempt to deal with generics though. As was noted by others, handling generics in a dimensional analysis that is, like in GNAT, a compile-time analysis with no impact on the executable size or running time, is the source of the problem of dimension handling. Together with our partners from Technical Universitat München, we have finally solved this remaining difficulty.

#GNAT     #typing   

by Jonas Attertun

Make with Ada 2017: Brushless DC Motor Controller

This project involves the design of a software platform that provides a good basis when developing motor controllers for brushless DC motors (BLDC/PMSM). It consist of a basic but clean and readable implementation of a sensored field oriented control algorithm. Included is a logging feature that will simplify development and allows users to visualize what is happening. The project shows that Ada successfully can be used for a bare-metal project that requires fast execution.

#Makers    #MakewithAda    #STM32    #embedded   

by Pierre-Marie de Rodat

Highlighting Ada with Libadalang

While we are working very hard on semantic analysis in Libadalang, it is already possible to leverage its lexical and syntactic analyzers. A useful example for this is a syntax highlighter.

#Libadalang    #Ada   

by Pierre-Marie de Rodat

Pretty-Printing Ada Containers with GDB Scripts

When things don’t work as expected, developers usually do one of two things: either add debug prints to their programs, or run their programs under a debugger. Today we’ll focus on the latter activity.


by Rob Tice

The Adaroombot Project

The Adaroombot project consists of an iRobot CreateⓇ 2 and Ada running on a Raspberry Pi with a Linux OS. This is a great Intro-to-Ada project as it focuses on a control algorithm and a simple serial communications protocol. The iRobot CreateⓇ 2 platform was originally design for STEM education and has great documentation and support - making it very easy to create a control application using Ada. This blog looks at the creation of the project and some cool features of Ada that were learned along the way.

#Raspberry Pi    #ARM    #Linux    #Ada    #Roomba   

by Pierre-Marie de Rodat, Nicolas Setton

GNAT GPL 2017 is out!

For those users of the GNAT GPL edition, we are pleased to announce the availability of the 2017 release of GNAT GPL and SPARK GPL.


by Fabien Chouteau

Ada on the first RISC-V microcontroller

The RISC-V open instruction set is getting more and more news coverage these days. In particular since the release of the first RISC-V microcontroller from SiFive and the announcement of an Arduino board at the Maker Faire Bay Area 2017.

#Embedded Development    #Ada    #RISC-V   

by Fabien Chouteau

DIY Coffee Alarm Clock

A few weeks ago one of my colleagues shared this kickstarter project : The Barisieur. It’s an alarm clock coffee maker, promising to wake you up with a freshly brewed cup of coffee every morning. I jokingly said “just give me an espresso machine and I can do the same”. Soon after, the coffee machine is in my office. Now it is time to deliver :)

#Embedded Development    #STM32    #Makers    #Ada    #ARM   

by Yannick Moy

(Many) More Low Hanging Bugs

We reported in a previous post our initial experiments to create lightweight checkers for Ada source code, based on the new Libadalang technology. The two checkers we described discovered 12 issues in the codebase of the tools we develop at AdaCore. In this post, we are reporting on 6 more lightweight checkers, which have discovered 114 new issues in our codebase. This is definitely showing that these kind of checkers are worth integrating in static analysis tools, and we look forward to integrating these and more in our static analyzer CodePeer for Ada programs.

#Static Analysis    #Libadalang   

by Yannick Moy, Emmanuel Briot, Nicolas Roche

A Usable Copy-Paste Detector in A Few Lines of Python

After we created lightweight checkers based on the recent Libadalang technology developed at AdaCore, a colleague gave us the challenge of creating a copy-paste detector based on Libadalang. It turned out to be both easier than anticipated, and much more efficient and effective than we could have hoped for. In the end, we hope to use this new detector to refactor the codebase of some of our tools, and we expect to integrate it in our IDEs.

#Libadalang    #Static Analysis    #refactoring   

by Anthony Leonardo Gracio

GPS for bare-metal developers

In my previous blog article, I exposed some techniques that helped me rewrite the Crazyflie’s firmware from C into Ada and SPARK 2014, in order to improve its safety.

#GPS    #Embedded Development    #Makers   

by Emmanuel Briot

User-friendly strings API

User friendly strings API In a previous post, we described the design of a new strings package, with improved performance compared to the standard Ada unbounded strings implementation. That post focused on various programming techniques used to make that package as fast as possible.

#Ada    #gnatcoll   

by Emmanuel Briot

New strings package in GNATCOLL

This post describes the new GNATCOLL.Strings package, and the various optimizations it performs to provide improved performance.

#gnatcoll    #strings    #Ada   

by Jerome Guitton, Jérôme Lambourg, Joel Brobecker

Simics helps run 60 000 GNAT Pro tests in 24 hours

This post has been updated in March 2017 and was originally posted in March 2016.

#Simics    #WindRiver    #GNAT Pro   

by Pierre-Marie de Rodat

GNATcoverage moves to GitHub

Following the current trend, the GNATcoverage project moves to GitHub! Our new address is:

#GitHub    #GNATcoverage   

by Jorge Real

Writing on Air

While searching for motivating projects for students of the Real-Time Systems course here at Universitat Politècnica de València, we found a curious device that produces a fascinating effect. It holds a 12 cm bar from its bottom and makes it swing, like an upside-down pendulum, at a frequency of nearly 9 Hz. The free end of the bar holds a row of eight LEDs. With careful and timely switching of those LEDs, and due to visual persistence, it creates the illusion of text... floating in the air!

#STM32    #Ravenscar    #Ada    #Makers    #Embedded Development   

by Fabien Chouteau, Arnaud Charlet, Yannick Moy

SPARK Tetris on the Arduboy

One of us got hooked on the promise of a credit-card-size programmable pocket game under the name of Arduboy and participated in its kickstarter in 2015. The kickstarter was successful (but late) and delivered  the expected working board in mid 2016. Of course, the idea from the start was to program it in Ada , but this is an 8-bits AVR microcontroller (the ATmega32u4 by Atmel) not supported anymore by GNAT Pro. One solution would have been to rebuild our own GNAT compiler for 8-bit AVR from the GNAT FSF repository and use the AVR-Ada project. Another solution, which we explore in this blog post, is to use the SPARK-to-C compiler that we developed at AdaCore to turn our Ada code into C and then use the Arduino toolchain to compile for the Arduboy board.

by AdaCore Admin

AdaCore attends FOSDEM

Earlier this month AdaCore attended FOSDEM in Brussels, an event focused on the use of free and open source software. Two members of our technical team presented.

#SPARK    #Events   

by Pat Rogers

Getting started with the Ada Drivers Library device drivers

The Ada Drivers Library (ADL) is a collection of Ada device drivers and examples for ARM-based embedded targets. The library is maintained by AdaCore, with development originally (and predominantly) by AdaCore personnel but also by the Ada community at large.  It is available on GitHub and is licensed for both proprietary and non-proprietary use.

#Ada    #Devices    #drivers    #STM32    #embedded   

by Raphaël Amiard, Yannick Moy, Pierre-Marie de Rodat

Going After the Low Hanging Bug

At AdaCore, we have a strong expertise in deep static analysis tools (CodePeer and SPARK), and we have been relying on the compiler GNAT and our coding standard checker GNATcheck to deal with more syntactic or weakly-semantic checks. The recent Libadalang technology, developed at AdaCore, provided us with an ideal basis to develop specialized light-weight static analyzers. As an experiment, we implemented two simple checkers using the Python binding of Libadalang. The results on our own codebase were eye-opening: we found a dozen bugs in the codebases of the tools we develop at AdaCore (including the compiler and static analyzers).

#Static Analysis   

by Raphaël Amiard, Pierre-Marie de Rodat

Introducing Libadalang

AdaCore is working on a host of tools that works on Ada code. The compiler, GNAT, is the most famous and prominent one, but it is far from being the only one. At AdaCore, we already have several other tools to process Ada code: the ASIS library, GNAT2XML, the GPS IDE. A realization of the past years, however, has been that we were lacking a unified solution to process code that is potentially evolving, potentially incorrect Ada code. Hence Libadalang.

#Ada    #tooling   

by Yannick Moy

New Year's Resolution for 2017: Use SPARK, Say Goodbye to Bugs

​NIST has recently published a report called "Dramatically Reducing Software Vulnerabilities"​ in which they single out five approaches which have the potential for creating software with 100 times fewer vulnerabilities than we do today. One of these approaches is formal methods. Among formal methods, the report highlights strong suits of SPARK, and cites SPARK projects as example of mature uses of formal methods. NIST is not the only ones to support the use of SPARK. Editor Bill Wong from Electronic Design has included SPARK in his "2016 Gifts for the Techie". So if your new year's resolutions include software without bugs, have a look at SPARK in 2017.

#VerificationTools    #Formal Methods    #SPARK   

by Fabien Chouteau

Make with Ada: DIY instant camera

There are moments in life where you find yourself with an AdaFruit thermal printer in one hand, and an OpenMV camera in the other.

#Makers    #Ada    #STM32    #ARM    #Embedded Development   

by AdaCore Admin

Building High-Assurance Software without Breaking the Bank

AdaCore will be hosting a joint webcast next Monday 12th December 2pm ET/11am PT with SPARK experts Yannick Moy and Rod Chapman. Together, they will present the current status of the SPARK solution and explain how it can be successfully adopted in your current software development processes.

#Formal Methods    #SPARK   

by AdaCore Admin

Make With Ada Winners Announced!

Judging for the first annual Make with Ada competition has come to an end and we can now reveal the results.

by Emmanuel Briot

Integrate new tools in GPS (2)

Customizing build target switches In the first post in this series (Integrate new tools in GPS) we saw how to create new build targets in GPS to spawn external tools via a menu or toolbar button, and then display the output of that tool in its own console, as well as show error messages in the Locations view.


by Emmanuel Briot

Integrate new tools in GPS

This blog, the first in a series, explains the basic mechanisms that GPS (the GNAT Programming Studio) provides to integrate external tools. A small plugin might make your daily workflow more convenient by providing toolbar buttons and menus to spawn your tool and parse its output.


by Pat Rogers

Driving a 3D Lunar Lander Model with ARM and Ada

One of the interesting aspects of developing software for a bare-board target is that displaying complex application-created information typically requires more than the target board can handle. Although some boards do have amazing graphics capabilities, in some cases you need to have the application on the target interact with applications on the host. This can be due to the existence of special applications that run only (or already) on the host, in particular.

#Bareboard    #Embedded Development    #STM32    #Ada   

by Olivier Ramonat

Simplifying our product versioning

Looking at the list of product versions that were expected for 2017 it became clear that we had to review the way we were handling product versioning.

#AdaCore Factory   

by Emmanuel Briot

GNAT On macOS Sierra

GNAT and all the tools work great on the newly released macOS Sierra, but gdb needs some tweaking of the system.

#osx    #gdb   

by Yannick Moy

Verified, Trustworthy Code with SPARK and Frama-C

Last week, a few of us at AdaCore have attended a one-day workshop organized at Thales Research and Technologies, around the topic of "Verified, trustworthy code - formal verification of software". Attendees from many different branches of Thales (avionics, railway, security, networks) were given an overview of the state-of-practice in formal verification of software, focused on two technologies: the SPARK technology that we develop at AdaCore for programs in Ada, and the Frama-C technology developed at CEA research labs for programs in C. The most interesting part of the day was the feedback given by three operational teams who have experimented during a few months with either SPARK (two teams) or Frama-C (one team). The lessons learned by first-time adopters of such technologies are quite valuable.

#SPARK    #Formal Methods   

by Emmanuel Briot

Debugger improvements in GPS 17

The GNAT Programming Studio support for the debugger has been enhanced. This post describes the various changes you can expect in this year's new release of GPS.


by Quentin Ochem

Unity & Ada

Using Ada technologies to develop video games doesn’t sound like an an obvious choice - although it seems like there could be an argument to be made. The reverse, however, opens some more straightforward perspectives.

#GitHub    #Ada    #GNAT    

by Emmanuel Briot

GNAT Programming Studio (GPS) on GitHub

The GPS source repository has been published on GitHub. This post briefly describes how you can access it, and hopefully contribute.

#GPS    #GitHub   

by Emmanuel Briot

Bookmarks in the GNAT Programming Studio (GPS)

As we improve existing views in GPS, we discover new ways to use them. This post shows some of the improvements done recently in the Bookmarks view, and how you can now use it as a TODO list.


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