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12 Generic Units


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A generic unit is a program unit that is either a generic subprogram or a generic package. A generic unit is a template[, which can be parameterized, and from which corresponding (nongeneric) subprograms or packages can be obtained]. The resulting program units are said to be instances of the original generic unit.

glossary entry
A generic unit is a template for a (nongeneric) program unit; the template can be parameterized by objects, types, subprograms, and packages. An instance of a generic unit is created by a generic_instantiation. The rules of the language are enforced when a generic unit is compiled, using a generic contract model; additional checks are performed upon instantiation to verify the contract is met. That is, the declaration of a generic unit represents a contract between the body of the generic and instances of the generic. Generic units can be used to perform the role that macros sometimes play in other languages.

[A generic unit is declared by a generic_declaration. This form of declaration has a generic_formal_part declaring any generic formal parameters. An instance of a generic unit is obtained as the result of a generic_instantiation with appropriate generic actual parameters for the generic formal parameters. An instance of a generic subprogram is a subprogram. An instance of a generic package is a package.


Generic units are templates. As templates they do not have the properties that are specific to their nongeneric counterparts. For example, a generic subprogram can be instantiated but it cannot be called. In contrast, an instance of a generic subprogram is a (nongeneric) subprogram; hence, this instance can be called but it cannot be used to produce further instances.]