13.5.3 Bit Ordering

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The Bit_Order attribute specifies the interpretation of the storage place attributes.

Static Semantics

A bit ordering is a method of interpreting the meaning of the storage place attributes. High_Order_First (known in the vernacular as big endian) means that the first bit of a storage element (bit 0) is the most significant bit (interpreting the sequence of bits that represent a component as an unsigned integer value). Low_Order_First (known in the vernacular as little endian) means the opposite: the first bit is the least significant.

For every specific record subtype S, the following attribute is defined:

Denotes the bit ordering for the type of S. The value of this attribute is of type System.Bit_Order. Bit_Order may be specified for specific record types via an attribute_definition_clause; the expression of such a clause shall be static.

If Word_Size = Storage_Unit, the default bit ordering is implementation defined. If Word_Size > Storage_Unit, the default bit ordering is the same as the ordering of storage elements in a word, when interpreted as an integer.

The storage place attributes of a component of a type are interpreted according to the bit ordering of the type.

Implementation Advice

The recommended level of support for the nondefault bit ordering is:

  • If Word_Size = Storage_Unit, then the implementation should support the nondefault bit ordering in addition to the default bit ordering.

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