Coding Standard Verification Tool Eases DO-178B Compliance

TOULOUSE, France and NEW YORK - January 30, 2008 – Embedded Real-time Software (ERTS) Conference - AdaCore, provider of the highest quality Ada tools and support services, today announced the availability of GNATcheck, an integrated coding standard verification tool within the GNAT Pro development environment. GNATcheck meets the growing need for automated verification in safety-critical avionics systems, particularly those systems that need to satisfy the DO-178B standard. Developed by RTCA and EUROCAE, DO-178B defines the guidelines for development of aviation software in both the US and Europe and is being increasingly adopted by other related sectors, such as air traffic control and military applications.

AdaCore’s GNATcheck is an extensible rule-based tool with an easy-to-use interface. It allows developers to completely define a coding standard (referred to as a “Software Code Standard” in DO-178B) as a set of rules, for example a subset of permitted language features. It verifies a program’s conformance with the resulting rules and thereby facilitates demonstration of a system’s compliance with DO-178B.

“The combination of the Ada language (an international standard), GNATcheck, and additional constraints and reporting inside GNAT Pro, provides a comprehensive solution for avionics developers,” said Robert Dewar, President and CEO of AdaCore. “Ada has already been used in many safety-critical systems, such as the Boeing 787 and C-130 AMP, Airbus A380 and Eurofighter among others.”

“With software innovation powering today’s successful aircraft, automatic coding standard verification is becoming more and more important,” commented Cyrille Comar, Managing Director, AdaCore Europe. “The highly structured nature of the Ada language makes it a natural choice for avionics development, and by adding our own enhancements within GNAT Pro we can offer the most complete and integrated solution for coding standard verification compliant with DO-178B requirements.”

The key features of GNATcheck include:

  • An integrated Ada Restrictions mechanism for banning specific features from an application. This can be used to restrict features, such as tasking, exceptions, dynamic allocation, fixed or floating point, input/output and unchecked conversions
  • GNAT Pro specific Restrictions, which complement Ada’s set of restrictions, such as those banning the generation of implicit loops or conditionals in the object code, or the generation of elaboration code
  • Additional rules based on Ada semantics specification developed following extensive customer input, including detailed issues, such as ordering of parameters, normalized naming of entities and subprograms with multiple returns
  • Easy-to-use interface for creating and using a complete coding standard
  • Generation of project-wide reports, including evidence of the level of compliance to a given coding standard
  • Over 30 compile time warnings from GNAT Pro that detect typical error situations, such as local variables being used before being initialized, incorrect assumptions about array lower bounds, infinite recursion, incorrect data alignment, and accidental hiding of names
  • Style checks that allow developers to control indentation, casing, comment style, and nesting level

Work on qualifying GNATcheck as a verification tool (in a DO-178B context) is in progress. After this work is completed, GNATcheck’s status as a qualified tool will allow the evidence that it generates to be used as part of a system’s certification.

Pricing and Availability
GNATcheck is currently available as part of the GNAT Pro subscription. Please contact AdaCore ( for the latest information on pricing and supported configurations.

About AdaCore
Founded in 1994, AdaCore is the leading provider of commercial software solutions for Ada, a modern programming language designed for large, long-lived applications where safety, security, and reliability are critical. AdaCore’s flagship product is the GNAT Pro development environment, which comes with expert on-line support and is available on more platforms than any other Ada technology. AdaCore has an extensive worldwide customer base; See for more information.

Ada and GNAT Pro continue to see growing usage in high-integrity and safety-certified applications, including commercial aircraft avionics, military systems, air traffic management/control, railroad systems, and medical devices, and in security-sensitive domains such as financial services. AdaCore has North American headquarters in New York and European headquarters in Paris.

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