This chapter presents the steps needed to install the GNAT Community toolchain and how to use basic commands from the toolchain.
These are the basics steps to install GNAT Community on all platforms:
Go to the AdaCore Community page.
Download the GNAT installer.
Run the GNAT installer.
- Leave all options checked on the "Select Components" page.
On Windows platforms, continue with the following steps:
- The environment variables can be found in the
System Propertieswindow of the
You might need to restart your computer for the settings to take effect.
On Linux platforms, perform the following steps:
Make sure the GNAT installer has execution permissions before running it.
Select the directory where you want to install the toolchain.
- For example:
Add the path to the
bindirectory (within the toolchain directory) as the first directory in your
- For example:
Now that the toolchain is installed, you can start using it. From the command line, you can compile a project using gprbuild. For example:
gprbuild -P project.gpr
You can find the binary built with the command above in the obj directory. You can the run it in the same way as you would do with any other executable on your platform. For example:
A handy command-line option for gprbuild you might want to use
-p, which automatically creates directories such as
obj if they
aren't in the directory tree:
gprbuild -p -P project.gpr
Ada source-code are stored in .ads and .adb files. To view the content of these files, you can use the GNAT Programming Studio (GPS). To open GPS, double-click on the .gpr project file or invoke GPS on the command line:
gps -P project.gpr
To compile your project using GPS, use the top-level menu to
main.adb (or press the
F4). To run the main program, click on
main (or press the keyboard shortcut
Shift + F2).
One of the strengths of the GNAT compiler is its ability to generate many useful warnings. Some are displayed by default but others need to be explicitly enabled. In this section, we discuss some of these warnings, their purpose, and how you activate them.
-gnatwa switch and warning suppression¶
Section author: Bob Duff
We first need to understand the difference between a warning and an error. Errors are violations of the Ada language rules as specified in the Ada Reference Manual; warnings don't indicate violations of those rules, but instead flag constructs in a program that seem suspicious to the compiler. Warnings are GNAT-specific, so other Ada compilers might not warn about the same things GNAT does or might warn about them in a different way. Warnings are typically conservative; meaning that some warnings are false alarms. The programmer needs to study the code to determine if each warning is describing a real problem.
Some warnings are produced by default while others are produced only if a
switch enables them. Use the
-gnatwa switch to turn on (almost) all
Warnings are useless if you don't do anything about them. If you give
your team member some code that causes warnings, how are they supposed
to know whether they represent real problems? If you don't address
each warning, people will soon starting ignoring warnings and there'll
be lots of things that generates warnings scattered all over your
code. To avoid this, you may want to use the
-gnatwae switch to
both turn on (almost) all warnings and to treat warnings as
errors. This forces you to get a clean (no warnings or errors)
However, as we said, some warnings are false alarms. Use
pragma Warnings (Off) to suppress those warnings. It's best to be as
specific as possible and narrow down to a single line of code and a single
warning. Then use a comment to explain why the warning is a false alarm if it's
Let's look at the following example:
with Ada.Text_IO; use Ada.Text_IO; package body Warnings_Example is procedure Mumble (X : Integer) is begin Put_Line ("Mumble processing..."); end Mumble; end Warnings_Example;
We compile the above code with
gnat compile -gnatwae ./src/warnings_example.adb
This causes GNAT to complain:
warnings_example.adb:5:22: warning: formal parameter "X" is not referenced
But the following compiles cleanly:
with Ada.Text_IO; use Ada.Text_IO; package body Warnings_Example is pragma Warnings (Off, "formal parameter ""X"" is not referenced"); procedure Mumble (X : Integer) is pragma Warnings (On, "formal parameter ""X"" is not referenced"); -- X is ignored here, because blah blah blah... begin Put_Line ("Mumble processing..."); end Mumble; end Warnings_Example;
Here we've suppressed a specific warning message on a specific line.
If you get many warnings of a specific type and it's not feasible to fix
all of them, you can suppress that type of message so the good warnings
won't get buried beneath a pile of bogus ones. For example, you can use the
-gnatwaeF switch to silence the warning on the first version of
Mumble above: the
F suppresses warnings on unreferenced formal
parameters. It would be a good idea to use it if you have many of those.
As discussed above,
-gnatwa activates almost all warnings, but not
all. Refer to the
section on warnings
of the GNAT User's Guide to get a list of the remaining warnings you
could enable in your project. One is
-gnatw.o, which displays
warnings when the compiler detects modified but unreferenced
parameters. Consider the following example:
package Warnings_Example is procedure Process (X : in out Integer; B : out Boolean); end Warnings_Example;
package body Warnings_Example is procedure Process (X : in out Integer; B : out Boolean) is begin if X = Integer'First or else X = Integer'Last then B := False; else X := X + 1; B := True; end if; end Process; end Warnings_Example;
with Ada.Text_IO; use Ada.Text_IO; with Warnings_Example; use Warnings_Example; procedure Main is X : Integer := 0; Success : Boolean; begin Process (X, Success); Put_Line (Integer'Image (X)); end Main;
If we build the main application using the
-gnatw.o switch, the
compiler warns us that we didn't reference the
which was modified in the call to
main.adb:8:16: warning: "Success" modified by call, but value might not be referenced
In this case, this actually points us to a bug in our program, since
X only contains a valid value if
True. The corrected code for
-- ... begin Process (X, Success); if Success then Put_Line (Integer'Image (X)); else Put_Line ("Couldn't process variable X."); end if; end Main;
We suggest turning on as many warnings as makes sense for your project. Then, when you see a warning message, look at the code and decide if it's real. If it is, fix the code. If it's a false alarm, suppress the warning. In either case, we strongly recommend you make the warning disappear before you check your code into your configuration management system.
GNAT provides many options to configure style checking of your code. The
main compiler switch for this is
-gnatyy, which sets almost all
standard style check options. As indicated by the
section on style checking
of the GNAT User's Guide, using this switch "is equivalent to
-gnaty3aAbcefhiklmnprst, that is all checking options enabled with the
You may find that selecting the appropriate coding style is useful to
detect issues at early stages. For example, the
-gnatyO switch checks
that overriding subprograms are explicitly marked as such. Using this
switch can avoid surprises when you didn't intentionally want to override
an operation for some data type. We recommend studying the list of coding
style switches and selecting the ones that seem relevant for your
project. When in doubt, you can start by using all of them — using
-gnatyBdIL4oOSux, for example — and deactivating
the ones that cause too much noise during compilation.