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3.2.5 Style Checking

The -gnatyx switch causes the compiler to enforce specified style rules. A limited set of style rules has been used in writing the GNAT sources themselves. This switch allows user programs to activate all or some of these checks. If the source program fails a specified style check, an appropriate message is given, preceded by the character sequence “(style)”. This message does not prevent successful compilation (unless the -gnatwe switch is used).

Note that this is by no means intended to be a general facility for checking arbitrary coding standards. It is simply an embedding of the style rules we have chosen for the GNAT sources. If you are starting a project which does not have established style standards, you may find it useful to adopt the entire set of GNAT coding standards, or some subset of them.

The string x is a sequence of letters or digits indicating the particular style checks to be performed. The following checks are defined:

0-9
Specify indentation level. If a digit from 1-9 appears in the string after -gnaty then proper indentation is checked, with the digit indicating the indentation level required. A value of zero turns off this style check. The general style of required indentation is as specified by the examples in the Ada Reference Manual. Full line comments must be aligned with the -- starting on a column that is a multiple of the alignment level, or they may be aligned the same way as the following non-blank line (this is useful when full line comments appear in the middle of a statement, or they may be aligned with the source line on the previous non-blank line.
a
Check attribute casing. Attribute names, including the case of keywords such as digits used as attributes names, must be written in mixed case, that is, the initial letter and any letter following an underscore must be uppercase. All other letters must be lowercase.
A
Use of array index numbers in array attributes. When using the array attributes First, Last, Range, or Length, the index number must be omitted for one-dimensional arrays and is required for multi-dimensional arrays.
b
Blanks not allowed at statement end. Trailing blanks are not allowed at the end of statements. The purpose of this rule, together with h (no horizontal tabs), is to enforce a canonical format for the use of blanks to separate source tokens.
B
Check Boolean operators. The use of AND/OR operators is not permitted except in the cases of modular operands, array operands, and simple stand-alone boolean variables or boolean constants. In all other cases and then/or else are required.
c
Check comments, double space. Comments must meet the following set of rules:
C
Check comments, single space. This is identical to c except that only one space is required following the -- of a comment instead of two.
d
Check no DOS line terminators present. All lines must be terminated by a single ASCII.LF character (in particular the DOS line terminator sequence CR/LF is not allowed).
e
Check end/exit labels. Optional labels on end statements ending subprograms and on exit statements exiting named loops, are required to be present.
f
No form feeds or vertical tabs. Neither form feeds nor vertical tab characters are permitted in the source text.
g
GNAT style mode. The set of style check switches is set to match that used by the GNAT sources. This may be useful when developing code that is eventually intended to be incorporated into GNAT. Currently this is equivalent to -gnatwydISux) but additional style switches may be added to this set in the future without advance notice.
h
No horizontal tabs. Horizontal tab characters are not permitted in the source text. Together with the b (no blanks at end of line) check, this enforces a canonical form for the use of blanks to separate source tokens.
i
Check if-then layout. The keyword then must appear either on the same line as corresponding if, or on a line on its own, lined up under the if.
I
check mode IN keywords. Mode in (the default mode) is not allowed to be given explicitly. in out is fine, but not in on its own.
k
Check keyword casing. All keywords must be in lower case (with the exception of keywords such as digits used as attribute names to which this check does not apply).
l
Check layout. Layout of statement and declaration constructs must follow the recommendations in the Ada Reference Manual, as indicated by the form of the syntax rules. For example an else keyword must be lined up with the corresponding if keyword.

There are two respects in which the style rule enforced by this check option are more liberal than those in the Ada Reference Manual. First in the case of record declarations, it is permissible to put the record keyword on the same line as the type keyword, and then the end in end record must line up under type. This is also permitted when the type declaration is split on two lines. For example, any of the following three layouts is acceptable:

          

type q is record a : integer; b : integer; end record; type q is record a : integer; b : integer; end record; type q is record a : integer; b : integer; end record;

Second, in the case of a block statement, a permitted alternative is to put the block label on the same line as the declare or begin keyword, and then line the end keyword up under the block label. For example both the following are permitted:

          

Block : declare A : Integer := 3; begin Proc (A, A); end Block; Block : declare A : Integer := 3; begin Proc (A, A); end Block;

The same alternative format is allowed for loops. For example, both of the following are permitted:

          

Clear : while J < 10 loop A (J) := 0; end loop Clear; Clear : while J < 10 loop A (J) := 0; end loop Clear;


Lnnn
Set maximum nesting level. The maximum level of nesting of constructs (including subprograms, loops, blocks, packages, and conditionals) may not exceed the given value nnn. A value of zero disconnects this style check.
m
Check maximum line length. The length of source lines must not exceed 79 characters, including any trailing blanks. The value of 79 allows convenient display on an 80 character wide device or window, allowing for possible special treatment of 80 character lines. Note that this count is of characters in the source text. This means that a tab character counts as one character in this count and a wide character sequence counts as a single character (however many bytes are needed in the encoding).
Mnnn
Set maximum line length. The length of lines must not exceed the given value nnn. The maximum value that can be specified is 32767. If neither style option for setting the line length is used, then the default is 255. This also controls the maximum length of lexical elements, where the only restriction is that they must fit on a single line.
n
Check casing of entities in Standard. Any identifier from Standard must be cased to match the presentation in the Ada Reference Manual (for example, Integer and ASCII.NUL).
N
Turn off all style checks. All style check options are turned off.
o
Check order of subprogram bodies. All subprogram bodies in a given scope (e.g. a package body) must be in alphabetical order. The ordering rule uses normal Ada rules for comparing strings, ignoring casing of letters, except that if there is a trailing numeric suffix, then the value of this suffix is used in the ordering (e.g. Junk2 comes before Junk10).
O
Check that overriding subprograms are explicitly marked as such. The declaration of a primitive operation of a type extension that overrides an inherited operation must carry an overriding indicator.
p
Check pragma casing. Pragma names must be written in mixed case, that is, the initial letter and any letter following an underscore must be uppercase. All other letters must be lowercase. An exception is that SPARK_Mode is allowed as an alternative for Spark_Mode.
r
Check references. All identifier references must be cased in the same way as the corresponding declaration. No specific casing style is imposed on identifiers. The only requirement is for consistency of references with declarations.
s
Check separate specs. Separate declarations (“specs”) are required for subprograms (a body is not allowed to serve as its own declaration). The only exception is that parameterless library level procedures are not required to have a separate declaration. This exception covers the most frequent form of main program procedures.
S
Check no statements after then/else. No statements are allowed on the same line as a then or else keyword following the keyword in an if statement. or else and and then are not affected, and a special exception allows a pragma to appear after else.
t
Check token spacing. The following token spacing rules are enforced:
Exactly one blank (and no other white space) must appear between a not token and a following in token.
u
Check unnecessary blank lines. Unnecessary blank lines are not allowed. A blank line is considered unnecessary if it appears at the end of the file, or if more than one blank line occurs in sequence.
x
Check extra parentheses. Unnecessary extra level of parentheses (C-style) are not allowed around conditions in if statements, while statements and exit statements.
y
Set all standard style check options This is equivalent to gnaty3aAbcefhiklmnprst, that is all checking options enabled with the exception of -gnatyB, -gnatyd, -gnatyI, -gnatyLnnn, -gnatyo, -gnatyO, -gnatyS, -gnatyu, and -gnatyx.
-
Remove style check options This causes any subsequent options in the string to act as canceling the corresponding style check option. To cancel maximum nesting level control, use L parameter witout any integer value after that, because any digit following - in the parameter string of the -gnaty option will be threated as canceling indentation check. The same is true for M parameter. y and N parameters are not allowed after -.
+
This causes any subsequent options in the string to enable the corresponding style check option. That is, it cancels the effect of a previous -, if any.

In the above rules, appearing in column one is always permitted, that is, counts as meeting either a requirement for a required preceding space, or as meeting a requirement for no preceding space.

Appearing at the end of a line is also always permitted, that is, counts as meeting either a requirement for a following space, or as meeting a requirement for no following space.

If any of these style rules is violated, a message is generated giving details on the violation. The initial characters of such messages are always “(style)”. Note that these messages are treated as warning messages, so they normally do not prevent the generation of an object file. The -gnatwe switch can be used to treat warning messages, including style messages, as fatal errors.

The switch -gnaty on its own (that is not followed by any letters or digits) is equivalent to the use of -gnatyy as described above, that is all built-in standard style check options are enabled.

The switch -gnatyN clears any previously set style checks.