A.8 Sequential and Direct Files

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Static Semantics

Two kinds of access to external files are defined in this subclause: sequential access and direct access. The corresponding file types and the associated operations are provided by the generic packages Sequential_IO and Direct_IO. A file object to be used for sequential access is called a sequential file, and one to be used for direct access is called a direct file. Access to stream files is described in A.12.1.

For sequential access, the file is viewed as a sequence of values that are transferred in the order of their appearance (as produced by the program or by the external environment). When the file is opened with mode In_File or Out_File, transfer starts respectively from or to the beginning of the file. When the file is opened with mode Append_File, transfer to the file starts after the last element of the file.

For direct access, the file is viewed as a set of elements occupying consecutive positions in linear order; a value can be transferred to or from an element of the file at any selected position. The position of an element is specified by its index, which is a number, greater than zero, of the implementation-defined integer type Count. The first element, if any, has index one; the index of the last element, if any, is called the current size; the current size is zero if there are no elements. The current size is a property of the external file.

An open direct file has a current index, which is the index that will be used by the next read or write operation. When a direct file is opened, the current index is set to one. The current index of a direct file is a property of a file object, not of an external file.

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