8.1 Declarative Region
region (of a construct)}
For each of the
following constructs, there is a portion of the program text called its
, [within which nested declarations can occur]:
- any declaration, other than that of
an enumeration type, that is not a completion [of a previous declaration];
The declarative region
includes the text of the construct together with additional text determined
[(recursively)], as follows:
- If a declaration is included, so is
its completion, if any.
- If the declaration of a library unit
[(including Standard — see 10.1.1)]
is included, so are the declarations of any child units [(and their completions,
by the previous rule)]. The child declarations occur after the declaration.
- If a body_stub
is included, so is the corresponding subunit.
- If a type_declaration
is included, then so is a corresponding record_representation_clause,
Reason: This is so that the component_declarations
can be directly visible in the record_representation_clause.
The declarative region of a declaration is also called
the declarative region of any view or entity declared by the declaration.
Reason: The constructs that have declarative
regions are the constructs that can have declarations nested inside them.
Nested declarations are declared in that declarative region. The one
exception is for enumeration literals; although they are nested inside
an enumeration type declaration, they behave as if they were declared
at the same level as the type.
To be honest: A declarative region does
not include parent_unit_names.
Ramification: A declarative region does
not include context_clauses.
A declaration occurs immediately
a declarative region if this region is the innermost declarative
region that encloses the declaration (the immediately enclosing
declarative region), not counting the declarative region (if any) associated
with the declaration itself.
Discussion: Don't confuse the declarative
region of a declaration with the declarative region in which it immediately
A declaration is local
to a declarative region
if the declaration occurs immediately within the declarative region.]
[An entity is local
to a declarative region if the entity is declared
by a declaration that is local to the declarative region.]
Ramification: "Occurs immediately
within" and "local to" are synonyms (when referring to
Thus, “local to” applies to both
declarations and entities, whereas “occurs immediately within”
only applies to declarations. We use this term only informally; for cases
where precision is required, we use the term "occurs immediately
within", since it is less likely to cause confusion.
A declaration is global
to a declarative region
if the declaration occurs immediately within another declarative region
that encloses the declarative region. An entity is global
declarative region if the entity is declared by a declaration that is
global to the declarative region.
1 The children of a parent library unit
are inside the parent's declarative region, even though they do not occur
inside the parent's declaration or body. This implies that one can use
(for example) "P.Q" to refer to a child of P whose defining
name is Q, and that after "use P;" Q can refer (directly)
to that child.
2 As explained above and in 10.1.1
“Compilation Units - Library Units
all library units are descendants of Standard, and so are contained in
the declarative region of Standard. They are not
inside the declaration
or body of Standard, but they are
inside its declarative region.
3 For a declarative region that comes in
multiple parts, the text of the declarative region does not contain any
text that might appear between the parts. Thus, when a portion of a declarative
region is said to extend from one place to another in the declarative
region, the portion does not contain any text that might appear between
the parts of the declarative region.
Discussion: It is necessary for the things
that have a declarative region to include anything that contains declarations
(except for enumeration type declarations). This includes any declaration
that has a profile (that is, subprogram_declaration,
access-to-subprogram type_declaration), anything
that has a discriminant_part (that is, various
kinds of type_declaration), anything that
has a component_list (that is, record type_declaration
and record extension type_declaration), and
finally the declarations of task and protected units and packages.
Wording Changes from Ada 83
It was necessary
to extend Ada 83's definition of declarative region to take the following
Ada 95 features into account:
- Derived types/type extensions
— we need a declarative region for inherited components and also
for new components.
- All the kinds of types that allow
- Entries that have bodies instead
of accept statements.
- The choice_parameter_specification
of an exception_handler.
- The formal parameters of access-to-subprogram
Discriminated and access-to-subprogram type
declarations need a declarative region. Enumeration type declarations
cannot have one, because you don't have to say "Color.Red"
to refer to the literal Red of Color. For other type declarations, it
doesn't really matter whether or not there is an associated declarative
region, so for simplicity, we give one to all types except enumeration
We now say that an accept_statement
has its own declarative region, rather than being part of the declarative
region of the entry_declaration, so that declarative
regions are properly nested regions of text, so that it makes sense to
talk about "inner declarative regions," and "...extends
to the end of a declarative region." Inside an accept_statement,
the name of one of the parameters denotes
the parameter_specification of the accept_statement,
not that of the entry_declaration. If the
accept_statement is nested within a block_statement,
these parameter_specifications can hide declarations
of the block_statement. The semantics of such
cases was unclear in RM83.
To be honest: Unfortunately, we have
the same problem for the entry name itself — it should denote the
accept_statement, but accept_statements
are not declarations. They should be, and they should hide the entry
from all visibility within themselves.
Note that we can't generalize this to entry_bodies,
or other bodies, because the declarative_part
of a body is not supposed to contain (explicit) homographs of things
in the declaration. It works for accept_statements
only because an accept_statement does not
have a declarative_part.
To avoid confusion, we use the term “local
to” only informally in Ada 95. Even RM83 used the term incorrectly
(see, for example, RM83-12.3(13)).
In Ada 83, (root) library units were inside
Standard; it was not clear whether the declaration or body of Standard
was meant. In Ada 95, they are children of Standard, and so occur immediately
within Standard's declarative region, but not within either the declaration
or the body. (See RM83-8.6(2) and RM83-10.1.1(5).)
Wording Changes from Ada 95
(see 6.5) is added to the list of constructs
that have a declarative region.