This part of ISO/IEC 1539 defines facilities in Fortran for the manipulation of character strings of dynamically variable length. This part of ISO/IEC 1539 provides an auxiliary standard for the version of the Fortran language specified by ISO/IEC 1539-1: 1997 and informally known as Fortran 95.
A program that conforms with 1539-2: 1994 also conforms with this standard.
This part of ISO/IEC 1539 is an auxiliary standard to that defining Fortran 95 in that it defines additional facilities to those defined intrinsically in the primary language standard. A processor conforming to the Fortran 95 standard is not required also to conform to this part of ISO/IEC 1539. However, conformance to this part of ISO/IEC 1539 assumes conformance to the primary Fortran 95 standard.
This part of ISO/IEC 1539 prescribes the name of a Fortran module, the name of a derived data type to be used to represent varying-length strings, the interfaces for the procedures and operators to be provided to manipulate objects of this type, and the semantics that are required for each of the entities made accessible by this module.
This part of ISO/IEC 1539 does not prescribe the details of any implementation. Neither the method used to represent the data entities of the defined type nor the algorithms used to implement the procedures or operators whose interfaces are defined by this part of ISO/IEC 1539 are prescribed. A conformant implementation may use any representation and any algorithms, subject only to the requirement that the publicly accessible names and interfaces conform to this part of ISO/IEC 1539, and that the semantics are as required by this part of ISO/IEC 1539 and those of ISO/IEC 1539-1 : 1997.
It should be noted that a processor is not required to implement this part of ISO/IEC 1539 in order to be a standard conforming Fortran processor, but if a processor implements facilities for manipulating varying length character strings, it is recommended that this be done in a manner that is conformant with this part of ISO/IEC 1539.
A processor conforming to this part of ISO/IEC 1539 may extend the facilities provided for the manipulation of varying length character strings as long as such extensions do not conflict with this part of ISO/IEC 1539 or with ISO/IEC 1539-1 : 1997.
A module, written in standard conforming Fortran, is referenced in Annex A. This module illustrates one way in which the facilities described in this part of ISO/IEC 1539 could be provided. This module is both conformant with the requirements of this part of ISO/IEC 1539 and, because it is written in standard conforming Fortran, it provides a portable implementation of the required facilities. This module is referenced for information only and is not intended to constrain implementations in any way. This module is a demonstration that at least one implementation, in standard conforming and hence portable Fortran, is possible.
It should be noted that this part of ISO/IEC 1539 defines facilities for dynamically varying length strings of characters of default kind only. Throughout this part of ISO/IEC 1539 all references to intrinsic type CHARACTER should be read as meaning characters of default kind. Similar facilities could be defined for non-default kind characters by a separate, if similar, module for each such character kind.
This part of ISO/IEC 1539 has been designed, as far as is reasonable, to provide for varying length character strings the facilities that are available for intrinsic fixed length character strings. All the intrinsic operations and functions that apply to fixed length character strings have extended meanings defined by this part of ISO/IEC 1539 for varying length character strings. Also a small number of additional facilities are defined that are appropriate because of the essential differences between the intrinsic type and the varying length derived data type.