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8 The Implementation of Standard I/O

GNAT implements all the required input-output facilities described in A.6 through A.14. These sections of the Ada Reference Manual describe the required behavior of these packages from the Ada point of view, and if you are writing a portable Ada program that does not need to know the exact manner in which Ada maps to the outside world when it comes to reading or writing external files, then you do not need to read this chapter. As long as your files are all regular files (not pipes or devices), and as long as you write and read the files only from Ada, the description in the Ada Reference Manual is sufficient.

However, if you want to do input-output to pipes or other devices, such as the keyboard or screen, or if the files you are dealing with are either generated by some other language, or to be read by some other language, then you need to know more about the details of how the GNAT implementation of these input-output facilities behaves.

In this chapter we give a detailed description of exactly how GNAT interfaces to the file system. As always, the sources of the system are available to you for answering questions at an even more detailed level, but for most purposes the information in this chapter will suffice.

Another reason that you may need to know more about how input-output is implemented arises when you have a program written in mixed languages where, for example, files are shared between the C and Ada sections of the same program. GNAT provides some additional facilities, in the form of additional child library packages, that facilitate this sharing, and these additional facilities are also described in this chapter.