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A.18 Containers

This clause presents the specifications of the package Containers and several child packages, which provide facilities for storing collections of elements.
A variety of sequence and associative containers are provided. Each container package defines a cursor type as well as a container type. A cursor is a reference to an element within a container. Many operations on cursors are common to all of the containers. A cursor referencing an element in a container is considered to be overlapping only with the element itself.
 Some operations of the language-defined child units of Ada.Containers have access-to-subprogram parameters. To ensure such operations are well-defined, they guard against certain actions by the designated subprogram. An action on a container that can add or remove an element is considered to tamper with cursors, and these are prohibited during all such operations. An action on a container that can replace an element with one of a different size is considered to tamper with elements, and these are prohibited during certain of such operations. The details of the specific actions that are considered to tamper with cursors or elements are defined for each child unit of Ada.Containers.
 Several of the language-defined child units of Ada.Containers include a nested package named Stable, which provides a view of a container that prohibits any operations that would tamper with elements. By using a Stable view for manipulating a container, the number of tampering checks performed while performing the operations can be reduced. The details of the Stable subpackage are defined separately for each child unit of Ada.Containers that includes such a nested package.
Within this clause we provide Implementation Advice for the desired average or worst case time complexity of certain operations on a container. This advice is expressed using the Landau symbol O(X). Presuming f is some function of a length parameter N and t(N) is the time the operation takes (on average or worst case, as specified) for the length N, a complexity of O(f(N)) means that there exists a finite A such that for any N, t(N)/f(N) < A.
If the advice suggests that the complexity should be less than O(f(N)), then for any arbitrarily small positive real D, there should exist a positive integer M such that for all N > M, t(N)/f(N) < D.
When a formal function is used to provide an ordering for a container, it is generally required to define a strict weak ordering. A function "<" defines a strict weak ordering if it is irreflexive, asymmetric, transitive, and in addition, if x < y for any values x and y, then for all other values z, (x < z) or (z < y). Elements are in a smallest first order using such an operator if, for every element y with a predecessor x in the order, (y < x) is false.

Static Semantics

Certain subprograms declared within instances of some of the generic packages presented in this clause are said to perform indefinite insertion. These subprograms are those corresponding (in the sense of the copying described in 12.3) to subprograms that have formal parameters of a generic formal indefinite type and that are identified as performing indefinite insertion in the subclause defining the generic package.
If a subprogram performs indefinite insertion, then certain run-time checks are performed as part of a call to the subprogram; if any of these checks fail, then the resulting exception is propagated to the caller and the container is not modified by the call. These checks are performed for each parameter corresponding (in the sense of the copying described in 12.3) to a parameter in the corresponding generic whose type is a generic formal indefinite type. The checks performed for a given parameter are those checks explicitly specified in 4.8 that would be performed as part of the evaluation of an initialized allocator whose access type is declared immediately within the instance, where:
the value of the qualified_expression is that of the parameter; and
the designated subtype of the access type is the subtype of the parameter; and
finalization of the collection of the access type has started if and only if the finalization of the instance has started.

Implementation Requirements

For an indefinite container (one whose type is defined in an instance of a child package of Containers whose defining_identifier contains "Indefinite"), each element of the container shall be created when it is inserted into the container and finalized when it is deleted from the container (or when the container object is finalized if the element has not been deleted). For a bounded container (one whose type is defined in an instance of a child package of Containers whose defining_identifier starts with "Bounded") that is not an indefinite container, all of the elements of the capacity of the container shall be created and default initialized when the container object is created; the elements shall be finalized when the container object is finalized. For other kinds of containers, when elements are created and finalized is unspecified.
For an instance I of a container package with a container type, the specific type T of the object returned from a function that returns an object of an iterator interface, as well as the primitive operations of T, shall be nonblocking. The Global aspect specified for T and the primitive operations of T shall be (in all, out synchronized) or a specification that allows access to fewer global objects.

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