Section author: Raphaël Amiard
So far, all the types we have encountered have values that are not decomposable: each instance represents a single piece of data. Now we are going to see our first class of composite types: records.
Records allow composing a value out of instances of other types. Each of those instances will be given a name. The pair consisting of a name and an instance of a specific type is called a field, or a component.
Record type declaration¶
Here is an example of a simple record declaration:
type Date is record -- The following declarations are components of the record Day : Integer range 1 .. 31; Month : Month_Type; Year : Integer range 1 .. 3000; -- You can add custom constraints on fields end record;
Fields look a lot like variable declarations, except that they are inside of a record definition. And as with variable declarations, you can specify additional constraints when supplying the subtype of the field.
type Date is record Day : Integer range 1 .. 31; Month : Month_Type := January; -- This component has a default value Year : Integer range 1 .. 3000 := 2012; -- ^ Default value end record;
Record components can have default values. When a variable having the record type is declared, a field with a default initialization will be automatically set to this value. The value can be any expression of the component type, and may be run-time computable.
Ada_Birthday : Date := (10, December, 1815); Leap_Day_2020 : Date := (Day => 29, Month => February, Year => 2020); -- ^ By name
Records have a convenient notation for expressing values, illustrated above. This notation is called aggregate notation, and the literals are called aggregates. They can be used in a variety of contexts that we will see throughout the course, one of which is to initalize records.
An aggregate is a list of values separated by commas and enclosed in parentheses. It is allowed in any context where a value of the record is expected.
Values for the components can be specified positionally, as in
Ada_Birthday example, or by name, as in
Leap_Day_2020. A mixture
of positional and named values is permitted, but you cannot use a positional
notation after a named one.
To access components of a record instance, you use an operation that is called component selection: