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system.val attempts to convert a string representation of a numeric value into a numeric value variable.
It is part of the default run-time library delivered with the FreePascal compiler, but otherwise not standardized.
The formal signature reads:
procedure val(const s: string; var v; var code: word)
S is a string-type expression;
it must be a sequence of characters that form a (possibly signed) number or enumerated type value.
V is an ordinal or real-type variable.
Code is a word integer variable.
If the string
s can not be converted to a numeric value,
code holds the index of the first character causing troubles;
code is zero, indicating success.
val is so useful, since it does not trigger run-time errors or exceptions.
read the user can be supplied with more useful error messages telling which character is not a numeric symbol.
The power of
val lies in its capability to also convert enumerated types by their named values.
program valDemo(input, output, stdErr); type decision = (no, yes, maybe); var s: string; r: decision; c: word; begin writeLn('Are you OK?'); readLn(s); val(s, r, c); writeLn('So ', r, '.'); end.
Note, as a general design principle this feature should not be used for user responses like this example shows, since it thwarts internationalization.
Localization in general is not possible with
val, most notably the decimal separator – in some regions a comma, in others a period – can not be customized;
it is always a period, as it is standard in your Pascal source code.
val still may be useful for reading and parsing generated data.