When using languages such as C and C++, once the source files have been compiled the only remaining step in building an executable program is linking the object modules together. This means that it is possible to link an inconsistent version of a program, in which two units have included different versions of the same header.
The rules of Ada do not permit such an inconsistent program to be built. For example, if two clients have different versions of the same package, it is illegal to build a program containing these two clients. These rules are enforced by the GNAT binder, which also determines an elaboration order consistent with the Ada rules.
The GNAT binder is run after all the object files for a program have been created. It is given the name of the main program unit, and from this it determines the set of units required by the program, by reading the corresponding ALI files. It generates error messages if the program is inconsistent or if no valid order of elaboration exists.
If no errors are detected, the binder produces a main program, in Ada by
default, that contains calls to the elaboration procedures of those
compilation unit that require them, followed by
a call to the main program. This Ada program is compiled to generate the
object file for the main program. The name of
the Ada file is
b~xxx.adb‘ (with the corresponding spec
xxx is the name of the
main program unit.
Finally, the linker is used to build the resulting executable program, using the object from the main program from the bind step as well as the object files for the Ada units of the program.