Top critical review
Best of a mediocre bunch
on 22 March 2010
A current client of mine uses SPARK Ada extensively and I needed to learn Ada to get up to speed on their main project. This book by Barnes was recommended as a standard text ... faute de mieux, I suspect. IMO it is, pretty poorly written.
To be fair to the author, writing an introduction to a serious programming language is not an easy task; for a language the size of Ada, it is positively difficult. Nevertheless, professionals trying to learn Ada really do deserve something better. Obvious faults are:
* failure to relate the text to the language standard,
* large-scale code examples with negligible comments,
* a prose style that reads well superficially but that remans a difficult one from which to assimilate key facts.
* failure to use typographical design distinguish between good and bad coding examples.
* individual text sections being too large - as a document it has only two levels of headings.
Unfortunately the best commendation for this book is that many other texts are worse. If you must have a text, this one is arguably the best of a mediocre bunch. I personally prefer to learn a language directly from its standard - something that I believe all professional software engineers should do.