7.3.1 Private Operations
For a type declared in the visible part of a package
or generic package, certain operations on the type do not become visible
until later in the package — either in the private part or the
Such private operations
only inside the declarative region of the package or generic package.
The predefined operators that exist for a given type
are determined by the classes to which the type belongs. For example,
an integer type has a predefined "+" operator. In most cases,
the predefined operators of a type are declared immediately after the
definition of the type; the exceptions are explained below. Inherited
subprograms are also implicitly declared immediately after the definition
of the type, except as stated below.
For a composite type, the characteristics (see 7.3
of the type are determined in part by the characteristics of its component
types. At the place where the composite type is declared, the only characteristics
of component types used are those characteristics visible at that place.
If later immediately within the declarative region in which the composite
type is declared additional characteristics become visible for a component
type, then any corresponding characteristics become visible for the composite
type. Any additional predefined operators are implicitly declared at
that place. If there is no such place, then additional predefined operators
are not declared at all, but they still exist.
The corresponding rule applies to a type defined
by a derived_type_definition
if there is a place immediately within the declarative region in which
the type is declared where additional characteristics of its parent type
example, an array type whose component type is limited private becomes
nonlimited if the full view of the component type is nonlimited and visible
at some later place immediately within the declarative region in which
the array type is declared. In such a case, the predefined "="
operator is implicitly declared at that place, and assignment is allowed
after that place.
A type is a descendant
of the full view of some ancestor of its parent type only if the current
view it has of its parent is a descendant of the full view of that ancestor.
More generally, at any given place, a type is descended from the same
view of an ancestor as that from which the current view of its parent
is descended. This view determines what characteristics are inherited
from the ancestor, and, for example, whether the type is considered to
be a descendant of a record type, or a descendant only through record
extensions of a more distant ancestor.
It is possible for there to be places where a derived
type is visibly a descendant of an ancestor type, but not a descendant
of even a partial view of the ancestor type, because the parent of the
derived type is not visibly a descendant of the ancestor. In this case,
the derived type inherits no characteristics from that ancestor, but
nevertheless is within the derivation class of the ancestor for the purposes
of type conversion, the "covers" relationship, and matching
against a formal derived type. In this case the derived type is considered
to be a descendant
of an incomplete view of the ancestor.
Inherited primitive subprograms follow a different
rule. For a derived_type_definition
each inherited primitive subprogram is implicitly declared at the earliest
place, if any, immediately within the declarative region in which the
occurs, but after the type_declaration
where the corresponding declaration from the parent is visible. If there
is no such place, then the inherited subprogram is not declared at all,
but it still exists. For a tagged type, it is possible to dispatch to
an inherited subprogram that is not declared at all.
For a private_extension_declaration
each inherited subprogram is declared immediately after the private_extension_declaration
if the corresponding declaration from the ancestor is visible at that
place. Otherwise, the inherited subprogram is not declared for the private
extension, though it might be for the full type.
The Class attribute
is defined for tagged subtypes in 3.9
. In addition,
for every subtype S of an untagged private type whose full view is tagged,
the following attribute is defined:
Denotes the class-wide subtype
corresponding to the full view of S. This attribute is allowed only from
the beginning of the private part in which the full view is declared,
until the declaration of the full view. After the full view, the Class
attribute of the full view can be used.
9 Because a partial view and a full view
are two different views of one and the same type, outside of the defining
package the characteristics of the type are those defined by the visible
part. Within these outside program units the type is just a private type
or private extension, and any language rule that applies only to another
class of types does not apply. The fact that the full declaration might
implement a private type with a type of a particular class (for example,
as an array type) is relevant only within the declarative region of the
package itself including any child units.
The consequences of this actual implementation are,
however, valid everywhere. For example: any default initialization of
components takes place; the attribute Size provides the size of the full
view; finalization is still done for controlled components of the full
view; task dependence rules still apply to components that are task objects.
10 Partial views provide initialization,
membership tests, selected components for the selection of discriminants
and inherited components, qualification, and explicit conversion. Nonlimited
partial views also allow use of assignment_statement
11 For a subtype S of a partial view, S'Size
is defined (see 13.3
). For an object A of
a partial view, the attributes A'Size and A'Address are defined (see
). The Position, First_Bit, and Last_Bit
attributes are also defined for discriminants and inherited components.
Example of a type
with private operations:
Key is private
Null_Key : constant
Key; -- a deferred constant declaration (see 7.4)
Get_Key(K : out
"<" (X, Y : Key) return
Key is new
Null_Key : constant
Key := Key'First;
package body Key_Manager is
Last_Key : Key := Null_Key;
procedure Get_Key(K : out Key) is
Last_Key := Last_Key + 1;
K := Last_Key;
function "<" (X, Y : Key) return Boolean is
return Natural(X) < Natural(Y);
12 Notes on the example: Outside
of the package Key_Manager, the operations available for objects of type
Key include assignment, the comparison for equality or inequality, the
procedure Get_Key and the operator "<"; they do not include
other relational operators such as ">=", or arithmetic operators.
The explicitly declared operator "<"
hides the predefined operator "<" implicitly declared by
Within the body of the function, an explicit conversion of X and Y to
the subtype Natural is necessary to invoke the "<" operator
of the parent type. Alternatively, the result of the function could be
written as not (X >= Y), since the operator ">=" is not
The value of the variable Last_Key, declared in the
package body, remains unchanged between calls of the procedure Get_Key.
(See also the NOTES of 7.2
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