RFCs for Ada and SPARK evolution now on GitHub
by Yannick Moy , Raphaël Amiard , Tucker Taft –
Ever wished that Ada was more this and less that? Or that SPARK had such-and-such feature for specifying your programs? Then you're not alone. The Ada-Comment mailing list is one venue for Ada language discussions, but many of us at AdaCore have felt the need for a more open discussion and prototyping of what goes in the Ada and SPARK languages. That's the main reason why we've set up a platform to collect, discuss and process language evolution proposals for Ada and SPARK. The platform is hosted on GitHub, and uses GitHub built-in mechanisms to allow people to propose fixes or evolutions for Ada & SPARK,or give feedback on proposed evolutions.
For SPARK, the collaboration between Altran and AdaCore allowed us to completely redesign the language as a large subset of Ada, including now object orientation (added in 2015), concurrency (added in 2016) and even pointers (now available!), but we're reaching the point where catching up with Ada cannot lead us much further, and we need a broader involvement from users to inform our strategic decisions.
Regarding Ada, the language evolution has always been a collective effort by an international committee, but here too we feel that more user involvement would be beneficial to drive future evolution, including for the upcoming Ada 202X version. Note that there is no guarantee that changes discussed and eventually prototyped & implemented will ever make it into the Ada standard, even though AdaCore will do its best to collaborate with the Ada Rapporteur Group (ARG).
You will see that we've started using the RFC process internally. That's just the beginning. We plan to use this platform much more broadly within AdaCore and the Ada community to evolve Ada and SPARK in the future. Please join us in that collective effort if you are interested!