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7.1.1 Controlling Run-Time Checks

By default, GNAT generates all run-time checks, except arithmetic overflow checking for integer operations and checks for access before elaboration on subprogram calls. The latter are not required in default mode, because all necessary checking is done at compile time. Two gnat switches, -gnatp and -gnato allow this default to be modified. See Run-Time Checks.

Our experience is that the default is suitable for most development purposes.

We treat integer overflow specially because these are quite expensive and in our experience are not as important as other run-time checks in the development process. Note that division by zero is not considered an overflow check, and divide by zero checks are generated where required by default.

Elaboration checks are off by default, and also not needed by default, since GNAT uses a static elaboration analysis approach that avoids the need for run-time checking. This manual contains a full chapter discussing the issue of elaboration checks, and if the default is not satisfactory for your use, you should read this chapter.

For validity checks, the minimal checks required by the Ada Reference Manual (for case statements and assignments to array elements) are on by default. These can be suppressed by use of the -gnatVn switch. Note that in Ada 83, there were no validity checks, so if the Ada 83 mode is acceptable (or when comparing GNAT performance with an Ada 83 compiler), it may be reasonable to routinely use -gnatVn. Validity checks are also suppressed entirely if -gnatp is used.

Note that the setting of the switches controls the default setting of the checks. They may be modified using either pragma Suppress (to remove checks) or pragma Unsuppress (to add back suppressed checks) in the program source.