Dynamic Storage Management (DYN)











Have a plan for managing dynamic memory allocation and deallocation.


DYN01, DYN02, DYN03, DYN04, DYN05, DYN06

In Ada, objects are created by being either declared or allocated. Declared objects may be informally thought of as being created "on the stack" although such details are not specified by the language. Allocated objects may be thought of as being allocated "from the heap", which is, again, an informal term. Allocated objects are created by the evaluation of allocators represented by the reserved word new and, unlike declared objects, have lifetimes independent of scope.

The terms static and dynamic tend to be used in place of declared and allocated, although in traditional storage management terminology all storage allocation in Ada is dynamic. In the following discussion, the term dynamic allocation refers to storage that is allocated by allocators. Static object allocation refers to objects that are declared. Deallocation refers to the reclamation of allocated storage.

Unmanaged dynamic storage allocation and deallocation can lead to storage exhaustion; the required analysis is difficult under those circumstances. Furthermore, access values can establish aliases that complicate verification, and explicit deallocation of dynamic storage can lead to specific errors (e.g., "double free", "use after free") having unpredictable results. As a result, the prevalent approach to storage management in high-integrity systems is to disallow dynamic management techniques completely. [SEI-C] [MISRA2013] [Holzmann2006] [ISO2000]

However, restricted forms of storage management and associated feature usage can support the necessary reliability and analyzability characteristics while retaining sufficient expressive power to justify the analysis expense. The following sections present possible approaches, including the traditional approach in which no dynamic behavior is allowed. Individual projects may then choose which storage management approach best fits their requirements and apply appropriate tailoring, if necessary, to the specific guidelines.


There is a spectrum of management schemes possible, trading ease of analysis against increasing expressive power. At one end there is no dynamic memory allocation (and hence, deallocation) allowed, making analysis trivial. At the other end, nearly the full expressive power of the Ada facility is available, but with analyzability partially retained. In the latter, however, the user must create the allocators in such a manner as to ensure proper behavior.

Rule DYN01 is Required, as it avoids problematic features whatever the strategy chosen. Rules DYN02-05 are marked as Advisory, because one of them should be chosen and enforced throughout a given software project.