Brussels / 30 & 31 January 2016


Adopting an Ada Program - the Experience of Whitaker's Words

I present my experiences of adopting the maintenance of Whitaker's Words, a Latin dictionary written in Ada by Col William Whitaker, who was deeply involved in the creation of Ada itself.

This will be the perspective of someone from outside the Ada community who found he really liked the language, and the challenges I faced learning Ada from online materials, converting the Words source code to more idiomatic (post Ada-83) forms, adopting the tooling, accessing community support, finding collaborators, making Ada play nicely with the Web, and so on.

Whitaker's Words may be one of the most widely-used pieces of Ada software, and a quick Twitter search suggests it plays a key role in helping students cheat on their Latin translation homework. As a linguist and hacker, what really interests me is the use of Ada's type system to encode Latin's grammar.


Photo of Martin Keegan Martin Keegan