Delphi – Which variables are initialized when in Delphi

delphidelphi-2009initializationvariables

So I always heard that class fields (heap based) were initialized, but stack based variables were not. I also heard that record members (also being stack based) were also not initialized. The compiler warns that local variables are not initialized ([DCC Warning] W1036 Variable 'x' might not have been initialized), but does not warn for record members. So I decided to run a test.

I always get 0 from Integers and false from Booleans for all record members.

I tried turning various compiler options (debugging, optimizations, etc.) on and off, but there was no difference. All my record members are being initialized.

What am I missing? I am on Delphi 2009 Update 2.

program TestInitialization;

{$APPTYPE CONSOLE}

uses
  SysUtils;

type
  TR = Record
  Public
    i1, i2, i3, i4, i5: Integer;
    a: array[0..10] of Integer;
    b1, b2, b3, b4, b5: Boolean;
    s: String;
  End;

var
  r: TR;
  x: Integer;

begin
  try
    WriteLn('Testing record. . . .');
    WriteLn('i1 ',R.i1);
    WriteLn('i2 ',R.i2);
    WriteLn('i3 ',R.i3);
    WriteLn('i4 ',R.i4);
    WriteLn('i5 ',R.i5);

    Writeln('S ',R.s);

    Writeln('Booleans: ', R.b1, ' ', R.b2, ' ', R.b3, ' ', R.b4, ' ', R.b5);

    Writeln('Array ');
    for x := 0 to 10 do
      Write(R.a[x], ' ');
    WriteLn;

    WriteLn('Done . . . .');
  except
    on E:Exception do
      Writeln(E.Classname, ': ', E.Message);
  end;
  ReadLn;
end.

Output:

Testing record. . . .
i1 0
i2 0
i3 0
i4 0
i5 0
S
Booleans: FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE
Array
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Done . . . .

Best Solution

Global variables are zero-initialized. Variables used in the context of the main begin..end block of a program can be a special case; sometimes they are treated as local variables, particularly for-loop indexers. However, in your example, r is a global variable and allocated from the .bss section of the executable, which the Windows loader ensures is zero-filled.

Local variables are initialized as if they were passed to the Initialize routine. The Initialize routine uses runtime type-info (RTTI) to zero-out fields (recursively - if a field is of an array or record type) and arrays (recursively - if the element type is an array or a record) of a managed type, where a managed type is one of:

  • AnsiString
  • UnicodeString
  • WideString
  • an interface type (including method references)
  • dynamic array type
  • Variant

Allocations from the heap are not necessarily initialized; it depends on what mechanism was used to allocate memory. Allocations as part of instance object data are zero-filled by TObject.InitInstance. Allocations from AllocMem are zero-filled, while GetMem allocations are not zero-filled. Allocations from New are initialized as if they were passed to Initialize.