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3.4.1 Derivation Classes

   In addition to the various language-defined classes of types, types can be grouped into derivation classes.

Static Semantics

   A derived type is derived from its parent type directly; it is derived indirectly from any type from which its parent type is derived. The derivation class of types for a type T (also called the class rooted at T) is the set consisting of T (the root type of the class) and all types derived from T (directly or indirectly) plus any associated universal or class-wide types (defined below).
   Every type is either a specific type, a class-wide type, or a universal type. A specific type is one defined by a type_declaration, a formal_type_declaration, or a full type definition embedded in a declaration for an object. Class-wide and universal types are implicitly defined, to act as representatives for an entire class of types, as follows:
   Class-wide types
Class-wide types are defined for (and belong to) each derivation class rooted at a tagged type (see 3.9). Given a subtype S of a tagged type T, S'Class is the subtype_mark for a corresponding subtype of the tagged class-wide type T'Class. Such types are called ``class-wide'' because when a formal parameter is defined to be of a class-wide type T'Class, an actual parameter of any type in the derivation class rooted at T is acceptable (see 8.6).
The set of values for a class-wide type T'Class is the discriminated union of the set of values of each specific type in the derivation class rooted at T (the tag acts as the implicit discriminant -- see 3.9). Class-wide types have no primitive subprograms of their own. However, as explained in 3.9.2, operands of a class-wide type T'Class can be used as part of a dispatching call on a primitive subprogram of the type T. The only components (including discriminants) of T'Class that are visible are those of T. If S is a first subtype, then S'Class is a first subtype.
   Universal types
Universal types are defined for (and belong to) the integer, real, and fixed point classes, and are referred to in this standard as respectively, universal_integer, universal_real, and universal_fixed. These are analogous to class-wide types for these language-defined numeric classes. As with class-wide types, if a formal parameter is of a universal type, then an actual parameter of any type in the corresponding class is acceptable. In addition, a value of a universal type (including an integer or real numeric_literal) is ``universal'' in that it is acceptable where some particular type in the class is expected (see 8.6).
The set of values of a universal type is the undiscriminated union of the set of values possible for any definable type in the associated class. Like class-wide types, universal types have no primitive subprograms of their own. However, their ``universality'' allows them to be used as operands with the primitive subprograms of any type in the corresponding class.
   The integer and real numeric classes each have a specific root type in addition to their universal type, named respectively root_integer and root_real.
   A class-wide or universal type is said to cover all of the types in its class. A specific type covers only itself.
    A specific type T2 is defined to be a descendant of a type T1 if T2 is the same as T1, or if T2 is derived (directly or indirectly) from T1. A class-wide type T2'Class is defined to be a descendant of type T1 if T2 is a descendant of T1. Similarly, the universal types are defined to be descendants of the root types of their classes. If a type T2 is a descendant of a type T1, then T1 is called an ancestor of T2. The ultimate ancestor of a type is the ancestor of the type that is not a descendant of any other type.
    An inherited component (including an inherited discriminant) of a derived type is inherited from a given ancestor of the type if the corresponding component was inherited by each derived type in the chain of derivations going back to the given ancestor.
18  Because operands of a universal type are acceptable to the predefined operators of any type in their class, ambiguity can result. For universal_integer and universal_real, this potential ambiguity is resolved by giving a preference (see 8.6) to the predefined operators of the corresponding root types (root_integer and root_real, respectively). Hence, in an apparently ambiguous expression like
1 + 4 < 7
where each of the literals is of type universal_integer, the predefined operators of root_integer will be preferred over those of other specific integer types, thereby resolving the ambiguity.

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