Model Mapping

A big benefit when using ADO is the model mapping with the Ada and SQL code generator.

The model describes the database tables, their columns and relations with each others. It is then used to generate the Ada implementation which provides operations to create, update and delete records from the database and map them in Ada transparently.

The model can be defined in:

  • UML with a modeling tool that exports the model in XMI,
  • XML files following the Hibernate description,
  • YAML files according to the Doctrine mapping.

This chapter focuses on the YAML description.

Table definition

In YAML, the type definition follows the pattern below:

  type: entity
  table: <table-name>
  description: <description>
  hasList: true|false

The table-type-name represents the Ada type name with the full package specification. The code generator will add the _Ref prefix to the Ada type name to define the final type with reference counting. A private type is also generated with the _Impl prefix.

The YAML fields have the following meanings:

Field Description
type Must be 'entity' to describe a database table
table The name of the database table. This must be a valid SQL name
description A comment description for the table and type definition
hasList When true, a List operation is also generated for the type
indexes Defines the indexes for the table
id Defines the primary keys for the table
fields Defines the simple columns for the table
oneToOne Defines the one to one table relations
oneToMany Defines the one to many table relations

Column mapping

Simple columns are represented within the fields section.

      type: <type>
      length: <length>
      description: <description>
      column: <column-name>
      not-null: true|false
      unique: true|false
      readonly: true|false
      version: false

The YAML fields have the following meanings:

Field Description
type The column type. This type maps to an Ada type and an SQL type
length For variable length columns, this is the maximum length of the column
description A comment description for the table and type definition
column The database table column name
not-null When true, indicates that the column cannot be null
unique When true, indicates that the column must be unique in the table rows
readonly When true, the column cannot be updated. The Save operation will ignore updated.
version Must be 'false' for simple columns

The type column describes the type of the column using a string that is agnostic of the Ada and SQL languages. The mapping of the type to SQL depends on the database. The not-null definition has an impact on the Ada type since when the column can be null, a special Ada type is required to represent that null value.

The ADO.Nullable_X types are all represented by the following record:

   type Nullable_X is record
      Value   : X := <default-value>;
      Is_Null : Boolean := True;
   end record;

The Is_Null boolean member must be checked to see if the value is null or not. The comparison operation (=) ignores the Value comparison when one of the record to compare has Is_Null set.

Type not-null SQL Ada
boolean true TINYINT Boolean
false TINYINT ADO.Nullable_Boolean
byte true TINYINT -
false TINYINT -
integer true INTEGER Integer
false INTEGER ADO.Nullable_Integer
long true BIGINT Long_Long_Integer
false BIGINT ADO.Nullable_Long_Integer
identifier BIGINT ADO.Identifier
entity_type true INTEGER ADO.Entity_Type
false INTEGER ADO.Nullable_Entity_Type
string true VARCHAR(N) Unbounded_String
false VARCHAR(N) ADO.Nullable_String
date true DATE Ada.Calendar.Time
false DATE ADO.Nullable_Time
time true DATETIME Ada.Calendar.Time
false DATETIME ADO.Nullable_Time
blob BLOB ADO.Blob_Ref

The identifier type is used to represent a foreign key mapped to a BIGINT in the database. It is always represented by the Ada type ADO.Identifier and the null value is represented by the special value ADO.NO_IDENTIFIER.

The blob type is represented by an Ada stream array held by a reference counted object. The reference can be null.

The entity_type type allows to uniquely identify the type of a database entity. Each database table is associated with an entity_type unique value. Such value is created statically when the database schema is created and populated in the database. The entity_type values are maintained in the entity_type ADO database table.

Primary keys

Primary keys are used to uniquely identify a row within a table. For the ADO framework, only the identifier and string primary types are supported.

      type: {identifier|string}
      length: <length>
      description: <description>
      column: <column-name>
      not-null: true
      unique: true
      version: false
        strategy: {none|auto|sequence}

The generator section describes how the primary key is generated.

Strategy description
none the primary key is managed by the application
auto use the database auto increment support
sequence use the ADO sequence generator


A one to many relation is described by the following YAML description:

      type: <model-type>
      description: <description>
      column: <column-name>
      not-null: true|false
      readonly| true|false

This represents the foreign key and this YAML description is to be put in the table that holds it.

The type definition describes the type of object at the end of the relation. This can be the identifier type which means the relation will not be strongly typed and mapped to the ADO.Identifier type. But it can be the table type name used for another table definition. In that case, the code generator will generate a getter and setter that will use the object reference instance.

Circular dependencies are allowed within the same Ada package. That is, two tables can reference each other as long as they are defined in the same Ada package. A relation can use a reference of a type declared in another YAML description from another Ada package. In that case, with clauses are generated to import them.


Optimistic locking is a mechanism that allows updating the same database record from several transactions without having to take a strong row lock that would block transactions. By having a version column that is incremented after each change, it is possible to detect that the database row was modified when we want to update it. When this happens, the optimistic lock exception ADO.Objects.LAZY_LOCK is raised and it is the responsibility of the application to handle the failure by retrying the update.

For the optimistic locking to work, a special integer based column must be declared.

      type: <type>
      description: <description>
      column: <column-name>
      not-null: true
      unique: false
      version: true

The generated Ada code gives access to the version value but it does not allow its modification. The version column is incremented only by the Save procedure and only if at least one field of the record was modified (otherwise the Save has no effect). The version number starts with the value 1.


When a database table is mapped into an Ada object, the application holds a reference to that object through the Object_Ref type. The Object_Ref tagged type is the root type of any database record reference. Reference counting is used so that the object can be stored, shared and the memory management is handled automatically. It defines generic operations to be able to:

  • load the database record and map it to the Ada object,

  • save the Ada object into the database either by inserting or updating it,

  • delete the database record.

The Dynamo code generator will generate a specific tagged type for each database table that is mapped. These tagged type will inherit from the Object_Ref and will implement the required abstract operations. For each of them, the code generator will generate the Get_X and Set_X operation for each column mapped in Ada.

Before the Object_Ref is a reference, it does not hold the database record itself. The ADO.Objects.Object_Record tagged record is used for that and it defines the root type for the model representation. The type provides operations to modify a data field of the record while tracking its changes so that when the Save operation is called, only the data fields that have been modified are updated in the database. An application will not use nor access the Object_Record. The Dynamo code generator generates a private type to make sure it is only accessed through the reference.

Several predicate operations are available to help applications check the validity of an object reference:

Function Description
Is_Null When returning True, it indicates the reference is NULL.
Is_Loaded When returning True, it indicates the object was loaded from the database.
Is_Inserted When returning True, it indicates the object was inserted in the database.
Is_Modified When returning True, it indicates the object was modified and must be saved.

Let's assume we have a User_Ref mapped record, an instance of the reference would be declared as follows:

with Samples.User.Model;
  User : Samples.User.Model.User_Ref;

After this declaration, the reference is null and the following assumption is true:

User.Is_Null and not User.Is_Loaded and not User.Is_Inserted

If we set a data field such as the name, an object is allocated and the reference is no longer null.

User.Set_Name ("Ada Lovelace");

After this statement, the following assumption is true:

not User.Is_Null and not User.Is_Loaded and not User.Is_Inserted

With this, it is therefore possible to identify that this object is not yet saved in the database. After calling the Save procedure, a primary key is allocated and the following assumption becomes true:

not User.Is_Null and not User.Is_Loaded and User.Is_Inserted

Loading Objects

Three operations are generated by the Dynamo code generator to help in loading a object from the database: two Load procedures and a Find procedure. The Load procedures are able to load an object by using its primary key. Two forms of Load are provided: one that raises the ADO.Objects.NOT_FOUND exception and another that returns an additional Found boolean parameter. Within the application, if the database row is expected to exist, the first form should be used. In other cases, when the application expects that the database record may not exist, the second form is easier and avoids raising and handling an exception for a common case.

 User.Load (Session, 1234);

The Find procedure allows to retrieve a database record by specifying a filter. The filter object is represented by the ADO.SQL.Query tagged record. A simple query filter is declared as follows:

Filter : ADO.SQL.Query;

The filter is an SQL fragment that is inserted within the WHERE clause to find the object record. The filter can use parameters that are configured by using the Bind_Param or Add_Param operations. For example, to find a user from its name, the following filter could be set:

Filter.Set_Filter ("name = :name");
Filter.Bind_Param ("name", "Ada Lovelace");

Once the query filter is initialized and configured with its parameters, the Find procedure can be called:

Found : Boolean;
User.Find (Session, Filter, Found);

The Find procedure does not raise an exception if the database record is not found. Instead, it returns a boolean status in the Found output parameter. The Find procedure will execute an SQL SELECT statement with a WHERE clause to retrieve the database record. The Found output parameter is set when the query returns exactly one row.

Modifying Objects

To modify an object, applications will use one of the Set_X operation generated for each mapped column. The ADO runtime will keep track of which data fields are modified. The Save procedure must be called to update the database record. When calling it, an SQL UPDATE statement is generated to update the modified data fields.

User.Set_Status (1);
User.Save (Session);

Deleting Objects

Deleting objects is made by using the Delete operation.

User.Delete (Session);

Sometimes you may want to delete an object without having to load it first. This is possible by delete an object without loading it. For this, set the primary key on the object and call the Delete operation:

User.Set_Id (42);
User.Delete (Session);

Sequence Generators

The sequence generator is responsible for creating unique ID's across all database objects.

Each table can be associated with a sequence generator. The sequence factory is shared by several sessions and the implementation is thread-safe.

The HiLoGenerator implements a simple High Low sequence generator by using sequences that avoid to access the database.


F  : Factory;
Id : Identifier;
  Allocate (Manager => F, Name => "user", Id => Id);

HiLo Sequence Generator

The HiLo sequence generator. This sequence generator uses a database table sequence to allocate blocks of identifiers for a given sequence name. The sequence table contains one row for each sequence. It keeps track of the next available sequence identifier (in the `value column).

To allocate a sequence block, the HiLo generator obtains the next available sequence identified and updates it by adding the sequence block size. The HiLo sequence generator will allocate the identifiers until the block is full after which a new block will be allocated.