All AdaScript variables have a type. Variables must declared so that SparForte knows what that type is. When new variables are created by assignment at the command prompt, SparForte choses an appropriate type for the new variable. In scripts, all variables must be declared.
There are three "universal types":
The first two types form the basis for all other AdaScript string and numeric types. Variables declared as universal_typeless change their type between universal_string and universal_numeric depending how they are used. If AdaScript cannot decide in a particular context, the variable type defaults to universal_string. Typeless variables correspond to variables in Bourne shells and are provided for as a command line convenience.
Universal types automatically match any type derived from the same universal type. A universal_numeric variable accepts integer or floating point values. A universal_string variable accepts single characters or strings containing many characters.
Universal types are used for all AdaScript literals. For example, a string literal like "hello" is a universal_string and be assigned to any string type. The numeric literal 45.5 is a universal_numeric can be used with float, long_float, or any other numeric type.
Using these three built-in types will give you a minimum amount of type checking, suitable for short scripts or quick command line calculations. Universal types should not be used in large scripts because they will greatly reduce the number of errors SparForte can detect.
Ada: Ada has no usable universal types but the Ada rationale uses universal types to describe the type system.
Predefined, Non-Universal Types
For more extensive scripts, AdaScript extends the universal string and numeric types into all the predefined Ada language types, plus some AdaScript-specific types:
The built-in packages may define additional types.
By default, all numeric variables are initialized without any value. Any attempt to use uninitialized numeric variables in an expression will cause an error or exception.
=> i : integer -- no value specified
Most types are incompatible with each other. Types may be typecast into related types.
=> i : integer := 5
Since all literals have a universal type, this can cause some unusual side-effects. A character variable can contain more than one character if you really want it to by assigning a string literal. Characters are stored as internally as a string and a string literal is a universal_string type. AdaScript will allow the assignment. However, the type checking will prevent a character variable from being assigned to a string variable.
=> i : integer := 5
In this example, "hello" is a literal so it is a universal_string. The variable c is a character, a type derived from universal_string. So SparForte allows the assignment. Internally, SparForte uses strings for characters so the entire value of "hello" is assigned to c and c is now a character variable with 5 characters in it. However, SparForte's type rules prevent c from being assigned to a string, and typecasting will check the length of a character variable. (This will likely get addressed in the future.)
AdaScript strings are an unbounded string type--that is, they are stored as an Ada.Strings.Unbounded.Unbounded_String variable. They have an unlimited length and are not implemented as any sort of array. Ada "fixed" strings, the default string type for GCC Ada, are not used because they have limited length and can create array bounds exceptions. Strings are an integral part of scripts and unbounded strings are used instead. AdaScript includes an unbounded_string type (it has the same properties as the string type) which may make porting to GCC Ada easier.
Constants can be declared with the word "constant" for any type. The use of "constant" doesn't not affect the type of the variable--it simply prevents new values from being assigned by making the variable "read-only".
program_name : constant string := "Nightly FTP Transfer";
file_type and socket_type variables are known as limited type variables. Limited types cannot be assigned a new value with an assignment statement
=> f : file_type
SparForte manages the contents of these variables and scripts are not allowed to change the contents.
Variables declared complex represent complex numbers. A complex number is a record with long_float real and imaginary parts. The real field is designated "re" and the imaginary field is designated "im". (See below for more information about using records.)
=> c : complex := ( 1.0, 2.0)
Some of the numerics package subprograms work with complex types.
Complex types are not fully implemented in this version of SparForte: some of the Ada complex number functions are not available.
External operating system commands can be declared using command variables. When a command is declared, SparForte will ensure that the command exists and is runnable.
Command types are similar to limited types and have several restrictions.
=> l : constant command := "/bin/ls"
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