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Interpreting the Output

The messages given by ftnchek include not only syntax errors but also warnings and informational messages about things that are legal Fortran but that may indicate errors or carelessness. Most of these messages can be turned off by command-line options. Which option controls each message depends on the nature of the condition being warned about. See the descriptions of the command-line flags in the previous sections, and of individual messages below. Each message is prefixed with a word or phrase indicating the nature of the condition and its severity.

``Error'' means a syntax error. The simplest kind of syntax errors are typographical errors, for example unbalanced parentheses or misspelling of a keyword. This type of error is caught by the parser and appears with the description ``parse error'' or ``syntax error'' (depending on whether the parser was built using GNU bison or UNIX yacc respectively). This type of error message cannot be suppressed. Be aware that this type of error often means that ftnchek has not properly interpreted the statement where the error occurs, so that its subsequent checking operations will be compromised. You should eliminate all syntax errors before proceeding to interpret the other messages ftnchek gives.

``Warning: Nonstandard syntax'' indicates an extension to Fortran that ftnchek supports but that is not according to the Fortran 77 Standard. The extensions that ftnchek accepts are described in the section on Extensions. One example is the DO ... ENDDO construction. If a program uses these extensions, warnings will be given according to specifications under the -f77 setting. The default behavior is to give no warnings.

``Warning'' in other cases means a condition that is suspicious but that may or may not be a programming error. Frequently these conditions are legal under the standard. Some are illegal but do not fall under the heading of syntax errors. Usage errors are one example. These refer to the possibility that a variable may be used before it has been assigned a value (generally an error), or that a variable is declared but never used (harmless but may indicate carelessness). The amount of checking for usage errors is controlled by the -usage flag, which specifies the maximum amount of checking by default.

Truncation warnings cover situations in which accuracy may be lost unintentionally, for example when a double precision value is assigned to a real variable. These warnings are controlled by the -truncation setting, which is on by default.

``Nonportable usage'' warns about some feature that may not be accepted by some compilers even though it is not contrary to the Fortran 77 Standard, or that may cause the program to perform differently on different platforms. For example, equivalencing real and integer variables is usually a non-portable practice. The use of extensions to the standard language is, of course, another source of non-portability, but this is handled as a separate case. To check a program for true portability, both the -portability and the -f77 flags should be used. They are both turned off by default. The -wordsize setting is provided to check only those nonportable usages that depend on a particular machine wordsize.

``Possibly misleading appearance'' is used for legal constructions that may not mean what they appear to mean at first glance. For example, Fortran is insensitive to blank space, so extraneous space within variable names or the lack of space between a keyword and a variable can convey the wrong impression to the reader. These messages can be suppressed by turning off the -pretty flag, which is on by default.

Other messages that are given after all the files are processed, and having to do with agreement between modules, do not use the word ``warning'' but generally fall into that category. Examples include type mismatches between corresponding variables in different COMMON block declarations, or between dummy and actual arguments of a subprogram. These warnings are controlled by the -common and -arguments settings respectively. By default both are set for maximum strictness of checking.

Another group of warnings about conditions that are often harmless refer to cases where the array properties of a variable passed as a subprogram argument differ between the two routines. For instance, an array element might be passed to a subroutine that expects a whole array. This is a commonly-used technique for processing single rows or columns of two-dimensional arrays. However, it could also indicate a programming error. The -array setting allows the user to adjust the degree of strictness to be used in checking this kind of agreement between actual and dummy array arguments. By default the strictness is maximum.

``Oops'' indicates a technical problem, meaning either a bug in ftnchek or that its resources have been exceeded.

The syntax error messages and warnings include the filename along with the line number and column number. ftnchek has two different options for the appearance of these error messages. If -novice is in effect, which is the default, the messages are in a style approximating normal English. (In default style, the filename is not printed in messages within the body of the program if -list is in effect.) The other style of error messages is selected by the -nonovice option. In this style, the appearance of the messages is similar to that of the UNIX lint program.

ftnchek is still blind to some kinds of syntax errors. The two most important ones are detailed checking of FORMAT statements, and almost anything to do with control of execution flow by means of IF , DO , and GOTO statements: namely correct nesting of control structures, matching of opening statements such as IF ... THEN with closing statements such as ENDIF , and the proper use of statement labels (numbers). Most compilers will catch these errors. See the section on Limitations for a more detailed discussion.

If ftnchek gives you a syntax error message when the compiler does not, it may be because your program contains an extension to standard Fortran which is accepted by the compiler but not by ftnchek . (See the section on Extensions.) On a VAX/VMS system, you can use the compiler option /STANDARD to cause the compiler to accept only standard Fortran. On most UNIX or UNIX-like systems, this can be accomplished by setting the flag -ansi.

Many of the messages given by ftnchek are self-explanatory. Those that need some additional explanation are listed below in alphabetical order.

Common block NAME: data type mismatch at position n
The n -th variable in the COMMON block differs in data type in two different declarations of the COMMON block. By default (-common strictness level 3), ftnchek is very picky about COMMON blocks: the variables listed in them must match exactly by data type and array dimensions. That is, the legal pair of declarations in different modules:
      COMMON /COM1/ A,B
      COMMON /COM1/ A(2)

will cause ftnchek to give warnings at strictness level 3. These two declarations are legal in Fortran since they both declare two real variables. At strictness level 1 or 2, no warning would be given in this example, but the warning would be given if there were a data type mismatch, for instance, if B were declared INTEGER . Controlled by -common setting.

Common block NAME has long data type following short data type
Some compilers require alignment of multi-byte items so that each item begins at an address that is a multiple of the item size. Thus if a short (e.g. single-precision real) item is followed by a long (e.g. double precision real) item, the latter may not be aligned correctly. Controlled by -portability=common-alignment option.
Common block NAME has mixed character and non-character variables
The ANSI standard requires that if any variable in a COMMON block is of type CHARACTER , then all other variables in the same COMMON block must also be of type CHARACTER . Controlled by -f77=mixed-common option.
Common block NAME: varying length
For -common setting level 2, this message means that a COMMON block is declared to have different numbers of words in two different subprograms. A word is the amount of storage occupied by one integer or real variable. For -common setting level 3, it means that the two declarations have different numbers of variables, where an array of any size is considered one variable. This is not necessarily an error, but it may indicate that a variable is missing from one of the lists. Note that according to the Fortran 77 Standard, it is an error for named COMMON blocks (but not blank COMMON) to differ in number of words in declarations in different modules. Given for -common setting 2 or 3.
Error: Badly formed logical/relational operator or constant
Error: Badly formed real constant
The syntax analyzer has found the start of one of the special words that begin and end with a period (e.g. .EQ. ), or the start of a numeric constant, but did not succeed in finding a complete item of that kind.
Error: cannot be adjustable size in module NAME
A character variable cannot be declared with a size that is an asterisk in parentheses unless it is a dummy argument, a parameter, or the name of the function defined in the module.
Error: cannot be declared in SAVE statement in module NAME
Only local variables and common blocks can be declared in a SAVE statement.
Error: No path to this statement
ftnchek will detect statements which are ignored or by-passed because there is no foreseeable route to the statement. For example, an unnumbered statement (a statement without a statement label), occurring immediately after a GOTO statement, cannot possibly be executed.
Error: Parse error
This means that the parser, which analyzes the Fortran program into expressions, statements, etc., has been unable to find a valid interpretation for some portion of a statement in the program. If your compiler does not report a syntax error at the same place, the most common explanations are: (1) use of an extension to ANSI standard Fortran that is not recognized by ftnchek , or (2) the statement requires more lookahead than ftnchek uses (see section on Bugs).

NOTE: This message means that the affected statement is not interpreted. Therefore, it is possible that ftnchek 's subsequent processing will be in error, if it depends on any matters affected by this statement (type declarations, etc.).

Error: Syntax error
This is the same as ``Error: Parse error'' (see above). It is generated if your version of ftnchek was built using the UNIX yacc parser generator rather than GNU bison .
Identifiers which are not unique in first six chars
Warns that two identifiers which are longer than 6 characters do not differ in the first 6 characters. This is for portability: they may not be considered distinct by some compilers. Controlled by -sixchar option.
Nonportable usage: argument precision may not be correct for intrinsic function
The precision of an argument passed to an intrinsic function may be incorrect on some computers. Issued when a numeric variable declared with explicit precision (e.g. REAL*8 X ) is passed to a specific intrinsic function (e.g. DSQRT(X) ). Controlled by -portability=mixed-size and -wordsize .
Nonportable usage: character constant/variable length exceeds 255
Some compilers do not support character strings more than 255 characters in length. Controlled by -portability=long-string .
Nonportable usage: File contains tabs
ftnchek expands tabs to be equivalent to spaces up to the next column which is a multiple of 8. Some compilers treat tabs differently, and also it is possible that files sent by electronic mail will have the tabs converted to blanks in some way. Therefore files containing tabs may not be compiled correctly after being transferred. ftnchek does not give this message if tabs only occur within comments or character constants. Controlled by -portability=tab .
Nonportable usage: non-integer DO loop bounds
This warning is only given when the DO index and bounds are non-integer. Use of non-integer quantities in a DO statement may cause unexpected errors, or different results on different machines, due to roundoff effects. Controlled by -portability=real-do .
Possibly it is an array which was not declared
This message is appended to warnings related to a function invocation or to an argument type mismatch, for which the possibility exists that what appears to be a function is actually meant to be an array. If the programmer forgot to dimension an array, references to the array will be interpreted as function invocations. This message will be suppressed if the name in question appears in an EXTERNAL or INTRINSIC statement. Controlled by the -novice option.
Possibly misleading appearance: characters past 72 columns
The program is being processed with the statement field width at its standard value of 72, and some nonblank characters have been found past column 72. In this case, ftnchek is not processing the characters past column 72, and is notifying the user that the statement may not have the meaning that it appears to have. These characters might be intended by the programmer to be significant, but they will be ignored by the compiler. Controlled by -pretty=long-line .
Possibly misleading appearance: Common block declared in more than one statement
Such multiple declarations are legal and have the same effect as a continuation of the original declaration of the block. This warning is only given if the two declarations are separated by one or more intervening statements. Controlled by -pretty=multiple-common .
Possibly misleading appearance: Continuation follows comment or blank line
ftnchek issues this warning message to alert the user that a continuation of a statement is interspersed with comments, making it easy to overlook. Controlled by -pretty=continuation .
Possibly misleading appearance: Extraneous parentheses
Warns about parentheses surrounding a variable by itself in an expression. When a parenthesized variable is passed as an argument to a subprogram, it is treated as an expression, not as a variable whose value can be modified by the called routine. Controlled by -pretty=parentheses .
Subprogram NAME: argument data type mismatch at position n
The subprogram's n -th actual argument (in the CALL or the usage of a function) differs in datatype or precision from the n -th dummy argument (in the SUBROUTINE or FUNCTION declaration). For instance, if the user defines a subprogram by
      REAL X
and elsewhere invokes SUBA by
      CALL SUBA(2)

ftnchek will detect the error. The reason here is that the number 2 is integer, not real. The user should have written

      CALL SUBA(2.0)

When checking an argument which is a subprogram, ftnchek must be able to determine whether it is a function or a subroutine. The rules used by ftnchek to do this are as follows: If the subprogram, besides being passed as an actual argument, is also invoked directly elsewhere in the same module, then its type is determined by that usage. If not, then if the name of the subprogram does not appear in an explicit type declaration, it is assumed to be a subroutine; if it is explicitly typed it is taken as a function. Therefore, subroutines passed as actual arguments need only be declared by an EXTERNAL statement in the calling module, whereas functions must also be explicitly typed in order to avoid generating this error message. Controlled by -arguments setting.

Subprogram NAME: argument arrayness mismatch at position n
Similar to the preceding situation, but the subprogram dummy argument differs from the corresponding actual argument in its number of dimensions or number of elements. Controlled by -array together with -arguments settings.
Subprogram NAME: argument mismatch at position n
A character dummy argument is larger than the corresponding actual argument, or a Hollerith dummy argument is larger than the corresponding actual argument. Controlled by -arguments setting.
Subprogram NAME: argument usage mismatch
ftnchek detects a possible conflict between the way a subprogram uses an argument and the way in which the argument is supplied to the subprogram. The conflict can be one of two types, as outlined below.
Dummy arg is modified, Actual arg is const or expr
A dummy argument is an argument as named in a SUBROUTINE or FUNCTION statement and used within the subprogram. An actual argument is an argument as passed to a subroutine or function by the caller. ftnchek is saying that a dummy argument is modified by the subprogram, implying that its value is changed in the calling module. The corresponding actual argument should not be a constant or expression, but rather a variable or array element which can be legitimately assigned to. Controlled by the -usage=arg-const-modified option.
Dummy arg used before set, Actual arg not set
Here a dummy argument may be used in the subprogram before having a value assigned to it by the subprogram. The corresponding actual argument should have a value assigned to it by the caller prior to invoking the subprogram. Controlled by the -usage=var-uninitialized option.

This warning is not affected by the -arguments setting.

Subprogram NAME invoked inconsistently
Here the mismatch is between the datatype of the subprogram itself as used and as defined. For instance, if the user declares
and invokes COUNT in another module as
      N = COUNT(A)

without declaring its datatype, it will default to real type, based on the first letter of its name. The calling module should have included the declaration


Given for -arguments setting 2 or 3.

Subprogram NAME: varying length argument lists:
An inconsistency has been found between the number of dummy arguments (parameters) a subprogram has and the number of actual arguments given it in an invocation. ftnchek keeps track of all invocations of subprograms (CALL statements and expressions using functions) and compares them with the definitions of the subprograms elsewhere in the source code. The Fortran compiler normally does not catch this type of error. Given for -arguments setting 1 or 3.
Variable not declared. Type has been implicitly defined
When printing the symbol table for a module, ftnchek will flag with an asterisk all identifiers that are not explicitly typed and will show the datatype that was assigned through implicit typing. This provides support for users who wish to declare all variables as is required in Pascal or some other languages. This message appears only when the -symtab option is in effect. Alternatively, use the -declare flag if you want to get a list of all undeclared variables.
Variables declared but never referenced
Detects any identifiers that were declared in your program but were never used, either to be assigned a value or to have their value accessed. Variables in COMMON are excluded. Controlled by the -usage=var-unused option.
Variables set but never used
ftnchek will notify the user when a variable has been assigned a value, but the variable is not otherwise used in the program. Usually this results from an oversight. Controlled by the -usage=var-set-unused option.
Variables used before set
This message indicates that an identifier is used to compute a value prior to its initialization. Such usage may lead to an incorrect value being computed, since its initial value is not controlled. Controlled by the -usage=var-uninitialized option.
Variables may be used before set
Similar to used before set except that ftnchek is not able to determine its status with certainty. ftnchek assumes a variable may be used before set if the first usage of the variable occurs prior in the program text to its assignment. Controlled by the -usage=var-uninitialized option.
Warning: DO index is not integer
This warning is only given when the DO bounds are integer, but the DO index is not. It may indicate a failure to declare the index to be an integer. Controlled by -truncation=real-do option.
Warning: integer quotient expr converted to real
The quotient of two integers results in an integer type result, in which the fractional part is dropped. If such an integer expression involving division is later converted to a real datatype, it may be that a real type division had been intended. Controlled by -truncation=int-div-real option.
Warning: Integer quotient expr used in exponent
The quotient of two integers results in an integer type result, in which the fractional part is dropped. If such an integer expression is used as an exponent, it is quite likely that a real type division was intended. Controlled by -truncation=int-div-exponent option.
Warning: NAME not set when RETURN encountered
The way that functions in Fortran return a value is by assigning the value to the name of the function. This message indicates that the function was not assigned a value before the point where a RETURN statement was found. Therefore it is possible that the function could return an undefined value.
Warning: Nonstandard syntax: adjustable size cannot be concatenated here
The Fortran 77 Standard (sec. 6.2.2) forbids concatenating character variables whose size is an asterisk in parentheses, except in an assignment statement. Controlled by -f77=mixed-expr .
Warning: Nonstandard syntax : significant characters past 72 columns
This warning is given under the -f77=long-line setting if the -columns setting has been used to increase the statement field width, and a statement has meaningful program text beyond column 72. Standard Fortran ignores all text in those columns, but some compilers do not. Thus the program may be treated differently by different compilers.
Warning: Nonstandard syntax : Statement out of order.
ftnchek will detect statements that are out of the sequence specified for ANSI standard Fortran 77. Table 1 illustrates the allowed sequence of statements in the Fortran language. Statements which are out of order are nonetheless interpreted by ftnchek , to prevent ``cascades'' of error messages. The sequence counter is also rolled back to prevent repetition of the error message for a block of similar statements. Controlled by the -f77=statement-order option.
                  |               | implicit
                  |  parameter    |---------------------
                  |               | other specification
        format    |---------------|---------------------
         and      |               | statement-function
        entry     |  data         |---------------------
                  |               | executable
Table 1

Warning: Possible division by zero
This message is printed out wherever division is done (except division by a constant). Use it to help locate a runtime division by zero problem. Controlled by -division option.
Warning: real truncated to intg
ftnchek has detected an assignment statement which has a real expression on the right, but an integer variable on the left. The fractional part of the real value will be lost. If you explicitly convert the real expression to integer using the INT or NINT intrinsic function, no warning will be printed. A similar message is printed if a double precision expression is assigned to a single precision variable, etc. Controlled by -truncation=demotion option.
Warning: subscript is not integer
Since array subscripts are normally integer quantities, the use of a non-integer expression here may signal an error. Controlled by -truncation=real-subscript option.
Warning: Unknown intrinsic function
This message warns the user that a name declared in an INTRINSIC statement is unknown to ftnchek . Probably it is a nonstandard intrinsic function, and so the program will not be portable. The function will be treated by ftnchek as a user-defined function. This warning is not suppressed by any option, since it affects ftnchek 's analysis of the program. However, if the intrinsic function is in one of the supported sets of nonstandard intrinsics, you can use the -intrinsic setting to cause ftnchek to recognize it.

Next: Limitations and Extensions