Variables store information that can be manipulated by the program. Fortran is a ‘strongly typed’ language, which means that each variable must have a type.
There are 5 built-in data types in Fortran:
integer– for data that represent whole numbers, positive or negative
real– for floating-point data (not a whole number)
complex– pair consisting of a real part and an imaginary part
character– for text data
logical– for data that represent boolean (true or false) values
Before we can use a variable, we must declare it; this tells the compiler the variable type and any other variable attributes.
Note: Fortran is a statically typed language which means the type of each variable is fixed when the program is compiled - variable types cannot change while the program is running.
The syntax for declaring variables is:
<variable_type> :: <variable_name>
<variable_type> is one of the built-in variable types listed above and
<variable_name> is the name that you would like to call your variable.
Variable names must start with a letter and can consist of letters, numbers and underscores. In the following example we declare a variable for each of the built-in types.
Example: variable declaration
program variables implicit none integer :: amount real :: pi complex :: frequency character :: initial logical :: isOkay end program variables
Note: Fortran code is case-insensitive; you don’t have to worry about the capitalisation of your variable names but it’s good practice to keep it consistent.
Note the additional statement at the beginning of the program:
This statement tells the compiler that all variables will be explicitly declared; without
this statement variables will be implicitly typed according to the letter they begin with.
Important: Always use the
implicit none statement at
the beginning of each program and procedure. Implicit typing is considered bad practice in
modern programming since it hides information leading to more program errors.
Once we have declared a variable, we can assign and reassign values to it using the assignment operator
Example: variable assignment
amount = 10 pi = 3.141592 frequency = (1.0,-0.5) initial = 'A' isOkay = .false.
Characters are surrounded by either single (
') or double quotes (
Logical or boolean values can be either
Watch out for assignment at declaration:
integer :: amount = 1.
This is NOT a normal initialisation; it implies the
save attribute which means that the variable retains
its value between procedure calls. Good practice is to initialise your variables separately to their declaration.
In our Hello World example, we printed text to the command window.
This is commonly referred to as writing to
standard output or
We can use the
print *, 'The value of amount (integer) is: ',amount print *, 'The value of pi (real) is: ',pi print *, 'The value of frequency (complex) is: ',frequency print *, 'The value of initial (character) is: ',initial print *, 'The value of isOkay (logical) is: ',isOkay
In a similar way, we can read values from the command window
program read_value implicit none integer :: age print *, 'Please enter your age: ' read(*,*) age print *, 'Your age is: ',age end program read_value
This input source is commonly referred to as
standard input or
The usual set of arithmetic operators are available, listed in order or precedence:
program arithmetic implicit none real :: pi real :: radius real :: height real :: area real :: volume pi = 3.141592 print *, 'Enter cylinder base radius:' read(*,*) radius print *, 'Enter cylinder height:' read(*,*) height area = pi*radius**2.0 volume = area*height print *, 'Cylinder radius is: ',radius print *, 'Cylinder height is: ',height print *, 'Cylinder base area is: ',area print *, 'Cylinder volume is: ',volume end program arithmetic
The desired floating-point precision can be explicitly declared using a
iso_fortran_env intrinsic module provides kind parameters for the common 32bit and 64bit floating point types.
Example: explicit real kind
program float use, intrinsic :: iso_fortran_env, only: sp=>real32, dp=>real64 implicit none real(sp) :: float32 real(dp) :: float64 float32 = 1.0_sp ! Explicit suffix for literal constants float64 = 1.0_dp end program float
Important: Always use a
kind suffix for floating point literal constants.
Example: c-interoperable kinds
program float use, intrinsic :: iso_c_binding, only: sp=>c_float, dp=>c_double implicit none real(sp) :: float32 real(dp) :: float64 end program float
In the next part we will learn how to use arrays for storing more than one value in a variable.