3.9.3 Abstract Types and Subprograms
is a tagged type intended for use as an ancestor
of other types, but which is not allowed to have objects of its own.
An abstract subprogram
is a subprogram that has no body, but is intended to be overridden at
some point when inherited. Because objects of an abstract type cannot
be created, a dispatching call to an abstract subprogram always dispatches
to some overriding body.
types (see 3.9.4
) are abstract types. In
addition, a tagged type that has the reserved word abstract
its declaration is an abstract type. The class-wide type (see 3.4.1
rooted at an abstract type is not itself an abstract type.
Only a tagged type shall have the reserved word abstract
in its declaration.
If a type has an implicitly
declared primitive subprogram that is inherited or is a predefined operator,
and the corresponding primitive subprogram of the parent or ancestor
type is abstract or is a function with a controlling access result, or
if a type other than a nonabstract null extension inherits a function
with a controlling result, then:
If the type is abstract or untagged, the implicitly
declared subprogram is abstract.
Otherwise, the subprogram shall be overridden with
a nonabstract subprogram or, in the case of a private extension inheriting
a nonabstract function with a controlling result, have a full type that
is a null extension; for a type declared in the visible part of a package,
the overriding may be either in the visible or the private part. Such
a subprogram is said to require overriding
However, if the type is a generic formal type, the subprogram is allowed
to be inherited as is, without being overridden for the formal type itself;
a nonabstract version will necessarily be provided by the actual type.
A call on an abstract subprogram shall be a dispatching
call; nondispatching calls to an abstract subprogram are not allowed.
In addition to the places where Legality Rules normally
apply (see 12.3
), these rules also apply in
the private part of an instance of a generic unit.
The type of an aggregate
of an object created by an object_declaration
or an allocator
or of a generic formal object of mode in
, shall not be abstract.
The type of the target of an assignment operation (see 5.2
shall not be abstract. The type of a component shall not be abstract.
If the result type of a function is abstract, then the function shall
be abstract. If a function has an access result type designating an abstract
type, then the function shall be abstract. The type denoted by a return_subtype_indication
) shall not be abstract. A generic
function shall not have an abstract result type or an access result type
designating an abstract type.
If a partial view is not abstract, the corresponding
full view shall not be abstract. If a generic formal type is abstract,
then for each primitive subprogram of the formal that is not abstract,
the corresponding primitive subprogram of the actual shall not be abstract.
For an abstract type declared in a visible part,
an abstract primitive subprogram shall not be declared in the private
part, unless it is overriding an abstract subprogram implicitly declared
in the visible part. For a tagged type declared in a visible part, a
primitive function with a controlling result or a controlling access
result shall not be declared in the private part, unless it is overriding
a function implicitly declared in the visible part.
NOTE 1 Abstractness is not inherited;
to declare an abstract type, the reserved word abstract has to
be used in the declaration of the type extension.
NOTE 2 A class-wide type is never
abstract. Even if a class is rooted at an abstract type, the class-wide
type for the class is not abstract, and an object of the class-wide type
can be created; the tag of such an object will identify some nonabstract
type in the class.
Example of an abstract
type representing a set of natural numbers:
package Sets is
subtype Element_Type is Natural;
type Set is abstract tagged null record;
function Empty return Set is abstract;
function Union(Left, Right : Set) return Set is abstract;
function Intersection(Left, Right : Set) return Set is abstract;
function Unit_Set(Element : Element_Type) return Set is abstract;
procedure Take(Element : out Element_Type;
From : in out Set) is abstract;
NOTE 3 Notes on the example:
Given the above abstract type, one can derive various (nonabstract) extensions
of the type, representing alternative implementations of a set. One possibility
is to use a bit vector, but impose an upper bound on the largest element
representable, while another possible implementation is a hash table,
trading off space for flexibility.
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