3.9.2 Dispatching Operations of Tagged Types
primitive subprograms of a tagged type, the subprograms declared by formal_abstract_subprogram_declaration
and the stream attributes of a specific tagged type that are available
) at the end of the declaration
list where the type is declared are called dispatching operations
A dispatching operation can be called using a statically determined controlling
tag, in which case the body to be executed is determined at compile time.
Alternatively, the controlling tag can be dynamically determined, in
which case the call dispatches
to a body that is determined at
run time; such a call is termed a dispatching call
. As explained
below, the properties of the operands and the context of a particular
call on a dispatching operation determine how the controlling tag is
determined, and hence whether or not the call is a dispatching call.
Run-time polymorphism is achieved when a dispatching operation is called
by a dispatching call.
on a dispatching operation
is a call whose name
denotes the declaration of a dispatching operation.
in a call on a dispatching operation of a
tagged type T
is one whose corresponding formal parameter is of
or is of an anonymous access type with designated type
the corresponding formal parameter is called
a controlling formal parameter
. If the controlling formal parameter
is an access parameter, the controlling operand is the object designated
by the actual parameter, rather than the actual parameter itself.
the call is to a (primitive) function with result type T
with a controlling result
), then the call has a controlling result
— the context of the call can control the dispatching. Similarly,
if the call is to a function with an access result type designating T
(a function with a controlling access result
), then the call has
a controlling access result
, and the context can similarly control
or expression of a tagged type is either statically
tagged, or tag indeterminate
, according to whether, when used
as a controlling operand, the tag that controls dispatching is determined
statically by the operand's (specific) type, dynamically by its tag at
run time, or from context. A qualified_expression
or parenthesized expression is statically, dynamically, or indeterminately
tagged according to its operand. For other kinds of name
and expressions, this is determined as follows:
or expression is statically tagged
if it is of a specific tagged
type and, if it is a call with a controlling result or controlling access
result, it has at least one statically tagged controlling operand;
or expression is dynamically tagged
if it is of a class-wide type,
or it is a call with a controlling result or controlling access result
and at least one dynamically tagged controlling operand;
or expression is tag indeterminate
if it is a call with a controlling
result or controlling access result, all of whose controlling operands
(if any) are tag indeterminate.
is statically or dynamically tagged according to whether the type determined
by the subtype_mark
is specific or class-wide, respectively. For an object that is designated
by an expression whose expected type is an anonymous access-to-specific
tagged type, the object is dynamically tagged if the expression, ignoring
enclosing parentheses, is of the form X'Access, where X is of a class-wide
type, or is of the form new
T'(...), where T denotes a class-wide
subtype. Otherwise, the object is statically or dynamically tagged according
to whether the designated type of the type of the expression is specific
or class-wide, respectively.
A call on a dispatching operation shall not have
both dynamically tagged and statically tagged controlling operands.
If the expected type for an expression or name
is some specific tagged type, then the expression or name
shall not be dynamically tagged unless it is a controlling operand in
a call on a dispatching operation. Similarly, if the expected type for
an expression is an anonymous access-to-specific tagged type, then the
object designated by the expression shall not be dynamically tagged unless
it is a controlling operand in a call on a dispatching operation.
In the declaration of a dispatching operation of
a tagged type, everywhere a subtype of the tagged type appears as a subtype
of the profile (see 6.1
), it shall statically
match the first subtype of the tagged type.
dispatching operation overrides an inherited subprogram, it shall be
subtype conformant with the inherited subprogram.
convention of an inherited dispatching operation is the convention of
the corresponding primitive operation of the parent or progenitor type.
The default convention of a dispatching operation that overrides an inherited
primitive operation is the convention of the inherited operation; if
the operation overrides multiple inherited operations, then they shall
all have the same convention. An explicitly declared dispatching operation
shall not be of convention Intrinsic.
for a controlling formal parameter of a dispatching operation shall be
If a dispatching operation is defined by a subprogram_renaming_declaration
or the instantiation of a generic subprogram, any access parameter of
the renamed subprogram or the generic subprogram that corresponds to
a controlling access parameter of the dispatching operation, shall have
a subtype that excludes null.
A given subprogram shall not be a dispatching operation
of two or more distinct tagged types.
The explicit declaration of a primitive subprogram
of a tagged type shall occur before the type is frozen (see 13.14
For example, new dispatching operations cannot be added after objects
or values of the type exist, nor after deriving a record extension from
it, nor after a body.
the execution of a call on a dispatching operation of a type T
the controlling tag value
determines which subprogram body is
executed. The controlling tag value is defined as follows:
If one or more controlling
operands are statically tagged, then the controlling tag value is statically
to be the tag of T
If one or more controlling operands are dynamically
tagged, then the controlling tag value is not statically determined,
but is rather determined by the tags of the controlling operands.
there is more than one dynamically tagged controlling operand, a check
is made that they all have the same tag.
check fails, Constraint_Error is raised unless the call is a function_call
denotes the declaration of an equality operator (predefined or user defined)
that returns Boolean, in which case the result of the call is defined
to indicate inequality, and no subprogram_body
is executed. This check is performed prior to evaluating any tag-indeterminate
If all of the controlling
operands (if any) are tag-indeterminate, then:
If the call has a controlling result
or controlling access result and is itself, or designates, a (possibly
parenthesized or qualified) controlling operand of an enclosing call
on a dispatching operation of a descendant of type T, then its
controlling tag value is determined by the controlling tag value of this
If the call has a controlling result
or controlling access result and (possibly parenthesized, qualified,
or dereferenced) is the expression of an assignment_statement
whose target is of a class-wide type, then its controlling tag value
is determined by the target;
controlling tag value is statically determined to be the tag of type
For the execution
of a call on a dispatching operation, the action performed is determined
by the properties of the corresponding dispatching operation of the specific
type identified by the controlling tag value:
if the corresponding operation is explicitly declared
for this type, even if the declaration occurs in a private part, then
the action comprises an invocation of the explicit body for the operation;
if the corresponding operation is implicitly declared
for this type and is implemented by an entry or protected subprogram
then the action comprises a call on this entry or protected subprogram,
with the target object being given by the first actual parameter of the
call, and the actual parameters of the entry or protected subprogram
being given by the remaining actual parameters of the call, if any;
if the corresponding operation is a predefined
operator then the action comprises an invocation of that operator;
otherwise, the action is the same as the action
for the corresponding operation of the parent type or progenitor type
from which the operation was inherited except that additional invariant
checks (see 7.3.2
) and class-wide postcondition
checks (see 6.1.1
) may apply. If there is
more than one such corresponding operation, the action is that for the
operation that is not a null procedure, if any; otherwise, the action
is that of an arbitrary one of the operations.
78 The body to be executed for a call on
a dispatching operation is determined by the tag; it does not matter
whether that tag is determined statically or dynamically, and it does
not matter whether the subprogram's declaration is visible at the place
of the call.
79 This subclause covers calls on dispatching
subprograms of a tagged type. Rules for tagged type membership tests
are described in 4.5.2
. Controlling tag determination
for an assignment_statement
is described in 5.2
80 A dispatching call can dispatch to a
body whose declaration is not visible at the place of the call.
81 A call through an access-to-subprogram
value is never a dispatching call, even if the access value designates
a dispatching operation. Similarly a call whose prefix
denotes a subprogram_renaming_declaration
cannot be a dispatching call unless the renaming itself is the declaration
of a primitive subprogram.
Ada 2005 and 2012 Editions sponsored in part by Ada-Europe