This is a presentation of the general vision of SparForte for volunteers who wish to contribute to this open source project.
SparForte is an Open Source project. It was developed by volunteers mostly in their spare time. Please support SparForte through actively contributing to SparForte, whether helping users with using their first Open Source program, translating the SparForte documentation to languages other than US-English or contributing source code as a programmer.
The latest stable SparForte source code is made available on the PegaSoft web site on the SparForte download page. There is also a Git repository which makes available the latest unstable development version but this is only made available to core SparForte developers. A copy of the development version can be made on request.
We welcome all contributions but please understand that we may reject a contribution if it conflicts with the design or goals of SparForte. Please contact us before beginning any large contributions to SparForte.
Three Languages under One Roof
The languages groups in SparForte are chosen for specific purposes.
GCC Ada provides the main foundation for SparForte (except where Ada's design is incompatible with a scripting language). Start with the power of Ada and then scale it down as needed, rather than starting with a wimpy language and trying to make it stronger.
Bourne shell commands are an alternate syntax. They should be considered an extension to, not a replacement for, the GCC Ada version of commands. These are provided for the command line shell.
SQL are parsed like Bourne shell commands, and support the Bourne shell operators like "|". These are an extension to the Bourne shell commands. These are provided so a database client is not required.
GCC Ada / GNAT: The Foundation of SparForte
Ada was the only Top 20 programming language meeting the requirements of SparForte.
The Ada FAQ describes Ada this way:
Ada is an advanced, modern programming language, designed and standardized to support and strongly encourage widely recognized software engineering principles: reliability, portability, modularity, reusability, programming as a human activity, efficiency, maintainability, information hiding, abstract data types, genericity, concurrent programming, object-oriented programming, etc.
All validated Ada compilers (i.e. a huge majority of the commercial Ada compilers) have passed a controlled validation process using an extensive validation suite. Ada is not a superset or extension of any other language. Ada does not allow the dangerous practices or effects of old languages, although it does provide standardized mechanisms to interface with other languages such as Fortran, Cobol, and C.
Ada is recognized as an excellent vehicle for education in programming and software engineering, including for a first programming course.
Ada is defined by an international standard (the language reference manual, or LRM), which has been revised in 1995. Ada is taught and used all around the world (not just in the USA). Ada is used in a very wide range of applications: banking, medical devices, telecommunications, air traffic control, airplanes, railroad signalling, satellites, rockets, etc.
In "Programming in Ada 95", John Barnes describes Ada as a language for large scale development that stresses integrity and readability. Some of Ada's key goals are readability (programs are read more than the are written), strong typing (preventing confusion between logically distinct items), "programming in the large" (encapsulation and library management), exception handling, data abstraction, object oriented and generic programming, tasking (multithreading) and interfacing with other languages. Ada is commonly used in industries like scientific research, areospace and robotics--areas where programs are large and there is a low tolerance of erros.
Ada was chosen as a language with a proven track record for large-scale, business applications.
General Design Goals
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