Annotated Ada Reference ManualLegal Information
Contents   Index   References   Search   Previous   Next 

A.10 Text Input-Output

Static Semantics

This clause describes the package Text_IO, which provides facilities for input and output in human-readable form. Each file is read or written sequentially, as a sequence of characters grouped into lines, and as a sequence of lines grouped into pages. The specification of the package is given below in subclause A.10.1.
The facilities for file management given above, in subclauses A.8.2 and A.8.3, are available for text input-output. In place of Read and Write, however, there are procedures Get and Put that input values of suitable types from text files, and output values to them. These values are provided to the Put procedures, and returned by the Get procedures, in a parameter Item. Several overloaded procedures of these names exist, for different types of Item. These Get procedures analyze the input sequences of characters based on lexical elements (see Section 2) and return the corresponding values; the Put procedures output the given values as appropriate lexical elements. Procedures Get and Put are also available that input and output individual characters treated as character values rather than as lexical elements. Related to character input are procedures to look ahead at the next character without reading it, and to read a character “immediately” without waiting for an end-of-line to signal availability.
In addition to the procedures Get and Put for numeric and enumeration types of Item that operate on text files, analogous procedures are provided that read from and write to a parameter of type String. These procedures perform the same analysis and composition of character sequences as their counterparts which have a file parameter.
For all Get and Put procedures that operate on text files, and for many other subprograms, there are forms with and without a file parameter. Each such Get procedure operates on an input file, and each such Put procedure operates on an output file. If no file is specified, a default input file or a default output file is used.
At the beginning of program execution the default input and output files are the so-called standard input file and standard output file. These files are open, have respectively the current modes In_File and Out_File, and are associated with two implementation-defined external files. Procedures are provided to change the current default input file and the current default output file. 
Implementation defined: The external files associated with the for standard input, standard output, and standard error files.
Implementation Note: {8652/0113} {AI95-00087-01} The default input file and default output file are not the names of distinct file objects, but rather the role played by one or more (other) file object(s). Thus, they generally will be implemented as accesses to another file object. An implementation that implements them by copying them is incorrect. 
At the beginning of program execution a default file for program-dependent error-related text output is the so-called standard error file. This file is open, has the current mode Out_File, and is associated with an implementation-defined external file. A procedure is provided to change the current default error file.
From a logical point of view, a text file is a sequence of pages, a page is a sequence of lines, and a line is a sequence of characters; the end of a line is marked by a line terminator; the end of a page is marked by the combination of a line terminator immediately followed by a page terminator; and the end of a file is marked by the combination of a line terminator immediately followed by a page terminator and then a file terminator. Terminators are generated during output; either by calls of procedures provided expressly for that purpose; or implicitly as part of other operations, for example, when a bounded line length, a bounded page length, or both, have been specified for a file.
The actual nature of terminators is not defined by the language and hence depends on the implementation. Although terminators are recognized or generated by certain of the procedures that follow, they are not necessarily implemented as characters or as sequences of characters. Whether they are characters (and if so which ones) in any particular implementation need not concern a user who neither explicitly outputs nor explicitly inputs control characters. The effect of input (Get) or output (Put) of control characters (other than horizontal tabulation) is not specified by the language.
The characters of a line are numbered, starting from one; the number of a character is called its column number. For a line terminator, a column number is also defined: it is one more than the number of characters in the line. The lines of a page, and the pages of a file, are similarly numbered. The current column number is the column number of the next character or line terminator to be transferred. The current line number is the number of the current line. The current page number is the number of the current page. These numbers are values of the subtype Positive_Count of the type Count (by convention, the value zero of the type Count is used to indicate special conditions). 
type Count is range 0 .. implementation-defined;
subtype Positive_Count is Count range 1 .. Count'Last;
For an output file or an append file, a maximum line length can be specified and a maximum page length can be specified. If a value to be output cannot fit on the current line, for a specified maximum line length, then a new line is automatically started before the value is output; if, further, this new line cannot fit on the current page, for a specified maximum page length, then a new page is automatically started before the value is output. Functions are provided to determine the maximum line length and the maximum page length. When a file is opened with mode Out_File or Append_File, both values are zero: by convention, this means that the line lengths and page lengths are unbounded. (Consequently, output consists of a single line if the subprograms for explicit control of line and page structure are not used.) The constant Unbounded is provided for this purpose. 

Extensions to Ada 83

Append_File is new in Ada 95. 

Contents   Index   References   Search   Previous   Next 
Ada-Europe Ada 2005 and 2012 Editions sponsored in part by Ada-Europe