5.11. SPARK Libraries

5.11.1. Big Numbers Library

Annotations such as preconditions, postconditions, assertions, loop invariants, are analyzed by GNATprove with the exact same meaning that they have during execution. In particular, evaluating the expressions in an annotation may raise a run-time error, in which case GNATprove will attempt to prove that this error cannot occur, and report a warning otherwise.

In SPARK, scalar types such as integer and floating point types are bounded machine types, so arithmetic computations over them can lead to overflows when the result does not fit in the bounds of the type used to hold it. In some cases, it is convenient to express properties in annotations as they would be expressed in mathematics, where quantities are unbounded, for example:

function Add (X, Y : Integer) return Integer with
  Pre  => X + Y in Integer,
  Post => Add'Result = X + Y;

The precondition of Add states that the result of adding its two parameters should fit in type Integer. Unfortunately, evaluating this expression will fail an overflow check, because the result of X + Y is stored in a temporary of type Integer.

To alleviate this issue, it is possible to use the standard library for big numbers. It contains support for:

  • Unbounded integers in Ada.Numerics.Big_Numbers.Big_Integers.

  • Unbounded rational numbers in Ada.Numerics.Big_Numbers.Big_Reals.

Theses libraries define representations for big numbers and basic arithmetic operations over them, as well as conversions from bounded scalar types such as floating point numbers or integer types. Conversion from an integer to a big integer is provided by:

  • function To_Big_Integer in Ada.Numerics.Big_Numbers.Big_Integers for type Integer

  • function To_Big_Integer in generic package Signed_Conversions in Ada.Numerics.Big_Numbers.Big_Integers for all other signed integer types

  • function To_Big_Integer in generic package Unsigned_Conversions in Ada.Numerics.Big_Numbers.Big_Integers for modular integer types

Similarly, the same packages define a function From_Big_Integer to convert from a big integer to an integer. A function To_Real in Ada.Numerics.Big_Numbers.Big_Reals converts from type Integer to a big real and function To_Big_Real in the same package converts from a big integer to a big real.

Though these operations do not have postconditions, they are interpreted by GNATprove as the equivalent operations on mathematical integers and real numbers. This allows to benefit from precise support on code using them.


Some functionality of the library are not precisely supported. This includes in particular conversions to and from strings, conversions of Big_Real to fixed-point or floating-point types, and Numerator and Denominator functions.

The big number library can be used both in annotations and in actual code, as it is executable, though of course, using it in production code means incurring its runtime costs. It can be considered a good trade-off to only use it in contracts, if they are disabled in production builds. For example, we can rewrite the precondition of our Add function with big integers to avoid overflows:

function Add (X, Y : Integer) return Integer with
  Pre  => In_Range (To_Big_Integer (X) + To_Big_Integer (Y),
                    Low  => To_Big_Integer (Integer'First),
                    High => To_Big_Integer (Integer'Last)),
  Post => Add'Result = X + Y;

As a more advanced example, it is also possible to introduce a ghost model for numerical computations on floating point numbers as a mathematical real number so as to be able to express properties about rounding errors. In the following snippet, we use the ghost variable M as a model of the floating point variable Y, so we can assert that the result of our floating point calculations are not too far from the result of the same computations on real numbers.

   package Float_Convs is new Float_Conversions (Num => Float);
   --  Introduce conversions to and from values of type Float

   subtype Small_Float is Float range -100.0 .. 100.0;

   function Init return Small_Float with Import;
   --  Unknown initial value of the computation

   X : constant Small_Float := Init;
   Y : Float := X;
   M : Big_Real := Float_Convs.To_Big_Real (X) with Ghost;
   --  M is used to mimic the computations done on Y on real numbers

   Y := Y * 100.0;
   M := M * Float_Convs.To_Big_Real (100.0);
   Y := Y + 100.0;
   M := M + Float_Convs.To_Big_Real (100.0);

   pragma Assert
     (In_Range (Float_Convs.To_Big_Real (Y) - M,
                Low  => Float_Convs.To_Big_Real (- 0.001),
                High => Float_Convs.To_Big_Real (0.001)));
   --  The rounding errors introduced by the floating-point computations
   --  are not too big.

5.11.2. Functional Containers Library

To model complex data structures, one often needs simpler, mathematical like containers. The mathematical containers provided in the SPARK library are unbounded and may contain indefinite elements. Furthermore, to be usable in every context, they are neither controlled nor limited. So that these containers can be used safely, we have made them functional, that is, no primitives are provided which would allow modifying an existing container. Instead, their API features functions creating new containers from existing ones. As an example, functional containers provide no Insert procedure but rather a function Add which creates a new container with one more element than its parameter:

function Add (C : Container; E : Element_Type) return Container;

As a consequence, these containers are highly inefficient. They are also memory consuming as the allocated memory is not reclaimed when the container is no longer referenced. Thus, they should in general be used in ghost code and annotations so that they can be removed from the final executable.

There are 3 functional containers, which are part of the GNAT standard library:

  • Ada.Containers.Functional_Maps

  • Ada.Containers.Functional_Sets

  • Ada.Containers.Functional_Vectors

Sequences defined in Functional_Vectors are no more than ordered collections of elements. In an Ada like manner, the user can choose the range used to index the elements:

function Length (S : Sequence) return Count_Type;
function Get (S : Sequence; N : Index_Type) return Element_Type;

Functional sets offer standard mathematical set functionalities such as inclusion, union, and intersection. They are neither ordered nor hashed:

function Contains (S : Set; E : Element_Type) return Boolean;
function "<=" (Left : Set; Right : Set) return Boolean;

Functional maps offer a dictionary between any two types of elements:

function Has_Key (M : Map; K : Key_Type) return Boolean;
function Get (M : Map; K : Key_Type) return Element_Type;

Each functional container type supports iteration as appropriate, so that its elements can easily be quantified over.

These containers can easily be used to model user defined data structures. They were used to this end to annotate and verify a package of allocators (see allocators example in the Examples in the Toolset Distribution). In this example, an allocator featuring a free list implemented in an array is modeled by a record containing a set of allocated resources and a sequence of available resources:

type Status is (Available, Allocated);
type Cell is record
   Stat : Status;
   Next : Resource;
end record;
type Allocator is array (Valid_Resource) of Cell;
type Model is record
   Available : Sequence;
   Allocated : Set;
end record;


Functional sets and maps represent elements modulo equivalence. For proof, the range of quantification over their content includes all elements that are equivalent to elements included in the container. On the other hand, for execution, the iteration is only done on elements which have actually been included in the container. This difference may make interaction between test and proof tricky when the equivalence relation is not the equality.


Functional containers do not comply with the ownership policy of SPARK if element or key types are ownership types. Care should be taken to do the required copies when storing these elements/keys inside the container or retrieving them.

5.11.3. Formal Containers Library

Containers are generic data structures offering a high-level view of collections of objects, while guaranteeing fast access to their content to retrieve or modify it. The most common containers are lists, vectors, sets and maps, which are defined as generic units in the Ada Standard Library. In critical software where verification objectives severely restrict the use of pointers, containers offer an attractive alternative to pointer-intensive data structures.

The Ada Standard Library defines two kinds of containers:

  • The controlled containers using dynamic allocation, for example Ada.Containers.Vectors. They define containers as controlled tagged types, so that memory for the container is automatic reallocated during assignment and automatically freed when the container object’s scope ends.

  • The bounded containers not using dynamic allocation, for example Ada.Containers.Bounded_Vectors. They define containers as discriminated tagged types, so that the memory for the container can be reserved at initialization.

Although bounded containers are better suited to critical software development, neither controlled containers nor bounded containers can be used in SPARK, because their API does not lend itself to adding suitable contracts (in particular preconditions) ensuring correct usage in client code.

The formal containers are a variation of the bounded containers with API changes that allow adding suitable contracts, so that GNATprove can prove that client code manipulates containers correctly. There are 7 formal containers, which are part of the GNAT standard library:

  • Ada.Containers.Formal_Vectors

  • Ada.Containers.Formal_Indefinite_Vectors

  • Ada.Containers.Formal_Doubly_Linked_Lists

  • Ada.Containers.Formal_Hashed_Sets

  • Ada.Containers.Formal_Ordered_Sets

  • Ada.Containers.Formal_Hashed_Maps

  • Ada.Containers.Formal_Ordered_Maps

Lists, sets and maps can only be used with definite objects (objects for which the compiler can compute the size in memory, hence not String nor T'Class). Vectors come in two flavors for definite objects (Formal_Vectors) and indefinite objects (Formal_Indefinite_Vectors).

Lists, sets, maps, and definite vectors are always bounded. Indefinite vectors can be bounded or unbounded depending on the value of the formal parameter Bounded when instantiating the generic unit. Bounded containers do not use dynamic allocation. Unbounded vectors use dynamic allocation to expand their internal block of memory. Modified API of Formal Containers

The visible specification of formal containers is in SPARK, with suitable contracts on subprograms to ensure correct usage, while their private part and implementation is not in SPARK. Hence, GNATprove can be used to prove correct usage of formal containers in client code, but not to prove that formal containers implement their specification.

Procedures Update_Element or Query_Element that iterate over a container are not defined on formal containers. The effect of these procedures could not be precisely described in their contracts as there is no way to refer to the contract of their access-to-procedure parameter.

Procedures and functions that query the content of a container take the container in parameter. For example, function Has_Element that queries if a container has an element at a given position is declared as follows:

function Has_Element (Container : T; Position : Cursor) return Boolean;

This is different from the API of controlled containers and bounded containers, where it is sufficient to pass a cursor to these subprograms, as the cursor holds a reference to the underlying container:

function Has_Element (Position : Cursor) return Boolean;

Cursors of formal containers do not hold a reference to a specific container, as this would otherwise introduce aliasing between container and cursor variables, which is not supported in SPARK. See Absence of Interferences. As a result, the same cursor can be applied to multiple container objects.

For each container type, the library provides model functions that are used to annotate subprograms from the API. The different models supply different levels of abstraction of the container’s functionalities. These model functions are grouped in Ghost Packages named Formal_Model.

The higher level view of a container is usually the mathematical structure of element it represents. We use a sequence for ordered containers such as lists and vectors and a mathematical map for imperative maps. This allows us to specify the effects of a subprogram in a very high level way, not having to consider cursors nor order of elements in a map:

procedure Increment_All (L : in out List) with
  Post =>
    (for all N in 1 .. Length (L) =>
       Element (Model (L), N) = Element (Model (L)'Old, N) + 1);

procedure Increment_All (S : in out Map) with
  Post =>
    (for all K of Model (S)'Old => Has_Key (Model (S), K))
    (for all K of Model (S) =>
       Has_Key (Model (S)'Old, K)
         and Get (Model (S), K) = Get (Model (S)'Old, K) + 1);

For sets and maps, there is a lower level model representing the underlying order used for iteration in the container, as well as the actual values of elements/keys. It is a sequence of elements/keys. We can use it if we want to specify in Increment_All on maps that the order and actual values of keys are preserved:

procedure Increment_All (S : in out Map) with
  Post =>
    Keys (S) = Keys (S)'Old
    (for all K of Model (S) =>
       Get (Model (S), K) = Get (Model (S)'Old, K) + 1);

Finally, cursors are modeled using a functional map linking them to their position in the container. For example, we can state that the positions of cursors in a list are not modified by a call to Increment_All:

procedure Increment_All (L : in out List) with
  Post =>
    Positions (L) = Positions (L)'Old
    (for all N in 1 .. Length (L) =>
       Element (Model (L), N) = Element (Model (L)'Old, N) + 1);

Switching between the different levels of model functions allows to express precise considerations when needed without polluting upper level specifications. For example, consider a variant of the List.Find function defined in the API of formal containers, which returns a cursor holding the value searched if there is one, and the special cursor No_Element otherwise:

with Element_Lists; use Element_Lists; use Element_Lists.Lists;
with Ada.Containers; use Ada.Containers; use Element_Lists.Lists.Formal_Model;

function My_Find (L : List; E : Element_Type) return Cursor with
  Contract_Cases =>
    (Contains (L, E)     => Has_Element (L, My_Find'Result) and then
                            Element (L, My_Find'Result) = E,
     not Contains (L, E) => My_Find'Result = No_Element);

The ghost functions mentioned above are specially useful in Loop Invariants to refer to cursors, and positions of elements in the containers. For example, here, ghost function Positions is used in the loop invariant to query the position of the current cursor in the list, and Model is used to specify that the value searched is not contained in the part of the container already traversed (otherwise the loop would have exited):

function My_Find (L : List; E : Element_Type) return Cursor with
   Cu : Cursor := First (L);

   while Has_Element (L, Cu) loop
      pragma Loop_Invariant (for all I in 1 .. P.Get (Positions (L), Cu) - 1 =>
                                Element (Model (L), I) /= E);

      if Element (L, Cu) = E then
         return Cu;
      end if;

      Next (L, Cu);
   end loop;

   return No_Element;
end My_Find;

GNATprove proves that function My_Find implements its specification:

my_find.adb:8:30: info: loop invariant initialization proved
my_find.adb:8:30: info: loop invariant preservation proved
my_find.adb:8:49: info: precondition proved
my_find.adb:9:33: info: precondition proved
my_find.adb:11:10: info: precondition proved
my_find.adb:15:07: info: precondition proved
my_find.ads:6:03: info: disjoint contract cases proved
my_find.ads:6:03: info: complete contract cases proved
my_find.ads:7:26: info: contract case proved
my_find.ads:8:29: info: precondition proved
my_find.ads:9:26: info: contract case proved


Just like functional containers, the formal containers do not comply with the ownership policy of SPARK if element or key types are ownership types. Care should be taken to do the required copies when storing these elements/keys inside the container or retrieving them. Quantification over Formal Containers

Quantified Expressions can be used over the content of a formal container to express that a property holds for all elements of a container (using for all) or that a property holds for at least one element of a container (using for some).

For example, we can express that all elements of a formal list of integers are prime as follows:

(for all Cu in My_List => Is_Prime (Element (My_List, Cu)))

On this expression, the GNAT compiler generates code that iterates over My_List using the functions First, Has_Element and Next given in the Iterable aspect applying to the type of formal lists, so the quantified expression above is equivalent to:

   Cu     : Cursor_Type := First (My_List);
   Result : Boolean := True;
   while Result and then Has_Element (My_List, Cu) loop
      Result := Is_Prime (Element (My_List, Cu));
      Cu     := Next (My_List, Cu);
   end loop;

where Result is the value of the quantified expression. See GNAT Reference Manual for details on aspect Iterable.

5.11.4. SPARK Lemma Library

As part of the SPARK product, a library of lemmas is available through the project file <spark-install>/lib/gnat/spark_lemmas.gpr (or through the extended project file <spark-install>/lib/gnat/spark_lemmas_zfp.gpr in an environment without unit Ada.Numerics.Big_Numbers). Header files of the lemma library are available through Help ‣ SPARK ‣ Lemmas menu item in GNAT Studio. To use this library in a program, you need to add a corresponding dependency in your project file, for example:

with "spark_lemmas";
project My_Project is
end My_Project;

You may need to update the environment variable GPR_PROJECT_PATH for the lemma library project to be found by GNAT compiler, as described in Installation of GNATprove.

You also need to set the environment variable SPARK_LEMMAS_OBJECT_DIR to the absolute path of the object directory where you want compilation and verification artefacts for the lemma library to be created. This should be an absolute path (not a relative one) otherwise these artefacts will be created inside you SPARK install.

Finally, if you instantiate in your code a generic from the lemma library, you also need to pass -gnateDSPARK_BODY_MODE=Off as a compilation switch for these generic units.

This library consists in a set of ghost null procedures with contracts (called lemmas). Here is an example of such a lemma:

procedure Lemma_Div_Is_Monotonic
  (Val1  : Int;
   Val2  : Int;
   Denom : Pos)
  Global => null,
  Pre  => Val1 <= Val2,
  Post => Val1 / Denom <= Val2 / Denom;

whose body is simply a null procedure:

procedure Lemma_Div_Is_Monotonic
  (Val1  : Int;
   Val2  : Int;
   Denom : Pos)
is null;

This procedure is ghost (as part of a ghost package), which means that the procedure body and all calls to the procedure are compiled away when producing the final executable without assertions (when switch -gnata is not set). On the contrary, when compiling with assertions for testing (when switch -gnata is set) the precondition of the procedure is executed, possibly detecting invalid uses of the lemma. However, the main purpose of such a lemma is to facilitate automatic proof, by providing the prover specific properties expressed in the postcondition. In the case of Lemma_Div_Is_Monotonic, the postcondition expresses an inequality between two expressions. You may use this lemma in your program by calling it on specific expressions, for example:

R1 := X1 / Y;
R2 := X2 / Y;
Lemma_Div_Is_Monotonic (X1, X2, Y);
--  at this program point, the prover knows that R1 <= R2
--  the following assertion is proved automatically:
pragma Assert (R1 <= R2);

Note that the lemma may have a precondition, stating in which contexts the lemma holds, which you will need to prove when calling it. For example, a precondition check is generated in the code above to show that X1 <= X2. Similarly, the types of parameters in the lemma may restrict the contexts in which the lemma holds. For example, the type Pos for parameter Denom of Lemma_Div_Is_Monotonic is the type of positive integers. Hence, a range check may be generated in the code above to show that Y is positive.

All the lemmas provided in the SPARK lemma library have been proved either automatically or using Coq interactive prover. The Why3 session file recording all proofs, as well as the individual Coq proof scripts, are available as part of the SPARK product under directory <spark-install>/lib/gnat/proof. For example, the proof of lemma Lemma_Div_Is_Monotonic is a Coq proof of the mathematical property (in Coq syntax):

Property that division is monotonic in Coq syntax

Currenly, the SPARK lemma library provides the following lemmas:

  • Lemmas on signed integer arithmetic in file spark-arithmetic_lemmas.ads, that are instantiated for 32 bits signed integers (Integer) in file spark-integer_arithmetic_lemmas.ads and for 64 bits signed integers (Long_Integer) in file spark-long_integer_arithmetic_lemmas.ads.

  • Lemmas on modular integer arithmetic in file spark-mod_arithmetic_lemmas.ads, that are instantiated for 32 bits modular integers (Interfaces.Unsigned_32) in file spark-mod32_arithmetic_lemmas.ads and for 64 bits modular integers (Interfaces.Unsigned_64) in file spark-mod64_arithmetic_lemmas.ads.

  • GNAT-specific lemmas on fixed-point arithmetic in file spark-fixed_point_arithmetic_lemmas.ads, that need to be instantiated by the user for her specific fixed-point type.

  • Lemmas on floating point arithmetic in file spark-floating_point_arithmetic_lemmas.ads, that are instantiated for single-precision floats (Float) in file spark-float_arithmetic_lemmas.ads and for double-precision floats (Long_Float) in file spark-long_float_arithmetic_lemmas.ads.

  • Lemmas on unconstrained arrays in file spark-unconstrained_array_lemmas.ads, that need to be instantiated by the user for her specific type of index and element, and specific ordering function between elements.

To apply lemmas to signed or modular integers of different types than the ones used in the instances provided in the library, just convert the expressions passed in arguments, as follows:

R1 := X1 / Y;
R2 := X2 / Y;
Lemma_Div_Is_Monotonic (Integer(X1), Integer(X2), Integer(Y));
--  at this program point, the prover knows that R1 <= R2
--  the following assertion is proved automatically:
pragma Assert (R1 <= R2);

5.11.5. Higher Order Function Library

The SPARK product also includes a library of higher order functions for unconstrained arrays. It is available using the same project file as the SPARK Lemma Library.

This library consists in a set of generic entities defining usual operations on arrays. As an example, here is a generic function for the map higher-level function on arrays. It applies a given function F to each element of an array, returning an array of results in the same order.

   type Index_Type is range <>;
   type Element_In is private;
   type Array_In is array (Index_Type range <>) of Element_In;

   type Element_Out is private;
   type Array_Out is array (Index_Type range <>) of Element_Out;

   with function Init_Prop (A : Element_In) return Boolean;
   --  Potential additional constraint on values of the array to allow Map

   with function F (X : Element_In) return Element_Out;
   --  Function that should be applied to elements of Array_In

function Map (A : Array_In) return Array_Out with
  Pre  => (for all I in A'Range => Init_Prop (A (I))),
  Post => Map'Result'First = A'First
    and then Map'Result'Last = A'Last
    and then (for all I in A'Range =>
                Map'Result (I) = F (A (I)));

This function can be instantiated by providing two unconstrained array types ranging over the same index type and a function F mapping a component of the first array type to a component of the second array type. Additionally, a constraint Init_Prop can be supplied for the components of the first array to be allowed to apply F. If no such constraint is needed, Init_Prop can be instantiated with an always True function.

type Nat_Array is array (Positive range <>) of Natural;

function Small_Enough (X : Natural) return Boolean is
  (X < Integer'Last);

function Increment_One (X : Integer) return Integer is (X + 1) with
  Pre => X < Integer'Last;

function Increment_All is new SPARK.Higher_Order.Map
  (Index_Type  => Positive,
   Element_In  => Natural,
   Array_In    => Nat_Array,
   Element_Out => Natural,
   Array_Out   => Nat_Array,
   Init_Prop   => Small_Enough,
   F           => Increment_One);

The Increment_All function above will take as an argument an array of natural numbers small enough to be incremented and will return an array containing the result of incrementing each number by one:

function Increment_All (A : Nat_Array) return Nat_Array with
  Pre  => (for all I in A'Range => Small_Enough (A (I))),
  Post => Increment_All'Result'First = A'First
  and then Increment_All'Result'Last = A'Last
  and then (for all I in A'Range =>
              Increment_All'Result (I) = Increment_One (A (I)));

Currently, the higher-order function library provides the following functions:

  • Map functions over unconstrained one-dimensional arrays in file spark-higher_order.ads. These include both in place and functional map subprograms, with and without an additional position parameter.

  • Fold functions over unconstrained one-dimensional and two-dimensional arrays in file spark-higher_order-fold.ads. Both left to right and right to left fold functions are available for one-dimensional arrays. For two-dimensional arrays, fold functions go on a line by line, left to right, top-to-bottom way. For ease of use, these functions have been instantiated for the most common cases. Sum and Sum_2 respectively compute the sum of all the elements of a one-dimensional or two-dimensional array, and Count and Count_2 the number of elements with a given Choose property.


Unlike the SPARK Lemma Library, these generic functions are not verified once and for all as their correction depends on the functions provided at each instance. As a result, each instance should be verified by running the SPARK tools.

5.11.6. Input-Output Libraries

The following text is about Ada.Text_IO and its child packages, Ada.Text_IO.Integer_IO, Ada.Text_IO.Modular_IO, Ada.Text_IO.Float_IO, Ada.Text_IO.Fixed_IO, Ada.Text_IO.Decimal_IO and Ada.Text_IO.Enumeration_IO.

The effect of functions and procedures of input-output units is partially modelled. This means in particular:

  • that SPARK functions cannot directly call procedures that do input-output. The solution is either to transform them into procedures, or to hide the effect from GNATprove (if not relevant for analysis) by wrapping the standard input-output procedures in procedures with an explicit Global => null and body with SPARK_Mode => Off.

    with Ada.Text_IO;
    function Foo return Integer is
       procedure Put_Line (Item : String) with
         Global => null;
       procedure Put_Line (Item : String) with
         SPARK_Mode => Off
          Ada.Text_IO.Put_Line (Item);
       end Put_Line;
       Put_Line ("Hello, world!");
       return 0;
    end Foo;
  • SPARK procedures that call input-output subprograms need to reflect these effects in their Global/Depends contract if they have one.

    with Ada.Text_IO;
    procedure Foo with
      Global => (Input  => Var,
                 In_Out => Ada.Text_IO.File_System)
       Ada.Text_IO.Put_Line (Var);
    end Foo;
    procedure Bar is
       Ada.Text_IO.Put_Line (Var);
    end Bar;

In the examples above, procedure Foo and Bar have the same body, but their declarations are different. Global contracts have to be complete or not present at all. In the case of Foo, it has an Input contract on Var and an In_Out contract on File_System, an abstract state from Ada.Text_IO. Without the latter contract, a high message would be raised when running GNATprove. Global contracts will be automatically generated for Bar by flow analysis if this is user code. Both declarations are accepted by SPARK. State Abstraction and Global Contracts

The abstract state File_System is used to model the memory on the system and the file handles (Line_Length, Col, etc.). This is explained by the fact that almost every procedure in Text_IO that actually modifies attributes of the File_Type parameter has in File_Type as a parameter and not in out. This would be inconsistent with SPARK rules without the abstract state.

All functions and procedures are annoted with Global, and Pre, Post if necessary. The Global contracts are most of the time In_Out for File_System, even in Put or Get procedures that update the current column and/or line. Functions have an Input global contract. The only functions with Global => null are the functions Get and Put in the generic packages that have a similar behaviour as sprintf and sscanf. Functions and Procedures Removed in SPARK

Some functions and procedures are removed from SPARK usage because they are not consistent with SPARK rules:

  1. Aliasing

    The functions Current_Input, Current_Output, Current_Error, Standard_Input, Standard_Output and Standard_Error are turned off in SPARK_Mode because they create aliasing, by returning the corresponding file.

    Set_Input, Set_Output and Set_Error are turned off because they also create aliasing, by assigning a File_Type variable to Current_Input or the other two.

    It is still possible to use Set_Input and the 3 others to make the code clearer. This is doable by calling Set_Input in a different subprogram whose body has SPARK_Mode => Off. However, it is necessary to check that the file is open and the mode is correct, because there are no checks made on procedures that do not take a file as a parameter (i.e. implicit, so it will write to/read from the current output/input).

  2. Get_Line function

    The function Get_Line is disabled in SPARK because it is a function with side effects. Even with the Volatile_Function attribute, it is not possible to model its action on the files and global variables in SPARK. The function is very convenient because it returns an unconstrained string, but a workaround is possible by constructing the string with a buffer:

with Ada.Text_IO;
with Ada.Strings.Unbounded; use Ada.Strings.Unbounded;

procedure Echo is
   Unb_Str : Unbounded_String := Null_Unbounded_String;
   Buffer  : String (1 .. 1024);
   Last    : Natural := 1024;

   while Last = 1024 loop
      Ada.Text_IO.Get_Line (Buffer, Last);
      exit when Last > Natural'Last - Length (Unb_Str);
      Unb_Str := Unb_Str & Buffer (1 .. Last);
   end loop;

      Str : String := To_String (Unb_Str);
      Ada.Text_IO.Put_Line (Str);
end Echo; Errors Handling

Status_Error (due to a file already open/not open) and Mode_Error are fully handled.

Except for Layout_Error, which is a special case of a partially handled error and explained in a few lines below, all other errors are not handled:

  • Use_Error is related to the external environment.

  • Name_Error would require to check availability on disk beforehand.

  • End_Error is raised when a file terminator is read while running the procedure.

For an Out_File, it is possible to set a Line_Length and Page_Length. When writing in this file, the procedures will add Line markers and Page markers each Line_Length characters or Page_Length lines respectively. Layout_Error occurs when trying to set the current column or line to a value that is greater than Line_Length or Page_Length respectively. This error is handled when using Set_Col or Set_Line procedures.

However, this error is not handled when no Line_Length or Page_Length has been specified, e.g, if the lines are unbounded, it is possible to have a Col greater than Count'Last and therefore have a Layout_Error raised when calling Col.

Not only the handling is partial, but it is also impossible to prove preconditions when working with two files or more. Since Line_Length etc. attributes are stored in the File_System, it is not posible to prove that the Line_Length of File_2 has not been modified when running any procedure that do input-output on File_1.

Finally, Layout_Error may be raised when calling Put to display the value of a real number (floating-point or fixed-point) in a string output parameter, which is not reflected currently in the precondition of Put as no simple precondition can describe the required length in such a case.

5.11.7. Strings Libraries

The following text is about Ada.Strings.Maps, Ada.Strings.Fixed, Ada.Strings.Bounded and Ada.Strings.Unbounded.

Global contracts were added to non-pure packages, and pre/postconditions were added to all SPARK subprograms to partially model their effects. In particular:

  • Effects of subprograms from Ada.Strings.Maps, as specified in the Ada RM (A.4.2), are fully modeled through pre- and postconditions.

  • Effects of most subprograms from Ada.Strings.Fixed are fully modeled through pre- and postconditions. Preconditions protect from exceptions specified in the Ada RM (A.4.3). Some procedures are not annotated with preconditions and may raise Length_Error when called with inconsistent parameters. They are detailed below. Subprograms not fully annotated with postconditions include the functions Count and procedures Move, Replace_Slice, Insert, Overwrite, Delete, Trim, Head and Tail.

    Under their respective preconditions, the implementation of subprograms from Ada.Strings.Fixed is proven with GNATprove to be free from run-time errors and to comply with their postcondition, except for procedure Move and those procedures based on Move: Delete, Head, Insert, Overwrite, Replace_Slice, Tail and Trim (but the corresponding functions are proved).

  • Effects of subprograms from Ada.Strings.Bounded are fully modeled through pre- and postconditions. Preconditions protect from exceptions specified in the Ada RM (A.4.4).

    Under their respective preconditions, the implementation of subprograms from Ada.Strings.Bounded is proven with GNATprove to be free from run-time errors, and except for subprograms Insert, Overwrite and Replace_Slice, to comply with their postcondition.

  • Effects of subprograms from Ada.Strings.Unbounded are partially modeled. Postconditions state properties on the Length of the strings only and not on their content. Preconditions protect from exceptions specified in the Ada RM (A.4.5).

  • The procedure Free in Ada.Strings.Unbounded is not in SPARK as it could be wrongly called by the user on a pointer to the stack.

Inside these packages, Translation_Error (in Ada.Strings.Maps), Index_Error and Pattern_Error are fully handled.

Length_Error is fully handled in Ada.Strings.Bounded and Ada.Strings.Unbounded and in functions from Ada.Strings.Fixed.

However, in the procedure Move and the procedures based on it except for Delete and Trim (Head, Insert, Overwrite, Replace_Slice and Tail) from Ada.Strings.Fixed, Length_Error may be raised under certain conditions. This is related to the call to Move. Each call of these subprograms can be preceded with a pragma Assert to check that the actual parameters are consistent, when parameter Drop is set to Error and the Source is longer than Target.

--  From the Ada RM for Move: "The Move procedure copies characters from
--  Source to Target.
--  ...
--  If Source is longer than Target, then the effect is based on Drop.
--  ...
--  * If Drop=Error, then the effect depends on the value of the Justify
--    parameter and also on whether any characters in Source other than Pad
--    would fail to be copied:
--    * If Justify=Left, and if each of the rightmost
--      Source'Length-Target'Length characters in Source is Pad, then the
--      leftmost Target'Length characters of Source are copied to Target.
--    * If Justify=Right, and if each of the leftmost
--      Source'Length-Target'Length characters in Source is Pad, then the
--      rightmost Target'Length characters of Source are copied to Target.
--    * Otherwise, Length_Error is propagated.".
--  Here, Move will be called with Drop = Error, Justify = Left and
--  Pad = Space, so we add the following assertion before the call to Move.

pragma Assert
 (if Source'Length > Target'Length then
    (for all J in 1 .. Source'Length - Target'Length =>
       (Source (Source'Last - J + 1) = Space)));

Move (Source  => Source,
      Target  => Target,
      Drop    => Error,
      Justify => Left,
      Pad     => Space);