Primitive Data Types

by Dinesh 2012-08-29 22:40:11

Primitive Data Types

A new, primitive type is definable by enumerating the distinct values belonging to it. Such a type is called an enumeration type. Its definition has the form
TYPE T = (c1, c2, ... , cn)
T is the new type identifier, and the ci are the new constant identifiers.
TYPE shape = (rectangle, square, ellipse, circle)
TYPE color = (red, yellow, green)
TYPE sex = (male, female)
TYPE weekday = (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday,
Saturday, Sunday)
TYPE currency = (franc, mark, pound, dollar, shilling, lira, guilder,
krone, ruble, cruzeiro, yen)
TYPE destination = (hell, purgatory, heaven)
TYPE vehicle = (train, bus, automobile, boat, airplane)
TYPE rank = (private, corporal, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, major,
colonel, general)
TYPE object = (constant, type, variable, procedure, module)
TYPE structure = (array, record, set, sequence)
TYPE condition = (manual, unloaded, parity, skew)

The definition of such types introduces not only a new type identifier, but at the same time the set of identifiers denoting the values of the new type. These identifiers may then be used as constants throughout the program, and they enhance its understandability considerably. If, as an example, we introduce variables
s, d, r, and b.
VAR s: sex
VAR d: weekday
VAR r: rank
then the following assignment statements are possible:
s := male
d := Sunday
r := major
b := TRUE
Evidently, they are considerably more informative than their counterparts
s := 1 d := 7 r := 6 b := 2
which are based on the assumption that c, d, r, and b are defined as integers and that the constants are mapped onto the natural numbers in the order of their enumeration. Furthermore, a compiler can check against the inconsistent use of operators.

For example, given the declaration of s above, the statement s :=
s+1 would be meaningless.

If, however, we recall that enumerations are ordered, then it is sensible to introduce operators that generate the successor and predecessor of their argument. We therefore postulate the following standard operators, which assign to their argument its successor and predecessor respectively:
INC(x) DEC(x)

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