A.8 Sequential and Direct Files
of access to external files are defined in this subclause: sequential
and direct access
. The corresponding file types and
the associated operations are provided by the generic packages Sequential_IO
and Direct_IO. A file object to be used for sequential access is called
a sequential file
, and one to be used for direct access is called
a direct file
. Access to stream file
s is described in A.12.1
For sequential access, the file
is viewed as a sequence of values that are transferred in the order of
their appearance (as produced by the program or by the external environment).
When the file is opened with mode In_File or Out_File, transfer starts
respectively from or to the beginning of the file. When the file is opened
with mode Append_File, transfer to the file starts after the last element
of the file.
Discussion: Adding stream I/O necessitates
a review of the terminology. In Ada 83, `sequential' implies both the
access method (purely sequential — that is, no indexing or positional
access) and homogeneity. Direct access includes purely sequential access
and indexed access, as well as homogeneity. In Ada 95, streams allow
purely sequential access but also positional access to an individual
element, and are heterogeneous. We considered generalizing the notion
of `sequential file' to include both Sequential_IO and Stream_IO files,
but since streams allow positional access it seems misleading to call
them sequential files. Or, looked at differently, if the criterion for
calling something a sequential file is whether it permits (versus requires)
purely sequential access, then one could just as soon regard a Direct_IO
file as a sequential file.
It seems better to regard `sequential file'
as meaning `only permitting purely sequential access'; hence we have
decided to supplement `sequential access' and `direct access' with a
third category, informally called `access to streams'. (We decided against
the term `stream access' because of possible confusion with the Stream_Access
type declared in one of the stream packages.)
direct access, the file is viewed as a set of elements occupying consecutive
positions in linear order; a value can be transferred to or from an element
of the file at any selected position. The position of an element is specified
by its index
, which is a number, greater than zero, of the implementation-defined
integer type Count. The first element, if any, has index one; the index
of the last element, if any, is called the current size
; the current
size is zero if there are no elements. The current size is a property
of the external file.
An open direct file has a current
, which is the index that will be used by the next read or write
operation. When a direct file is opened, the current index is set to
one. The current index of a direct file is a property of a file object,
not of an external file.
Wording Changes from Ada 95
Italicized “stream file” to clarify that this is another
kind of file.
Ada 2005 and 2012 Editions sponsored in part by Ada-Europe