ROSE Compiler Framework/How to visualize AST

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Three things are needed to visualize ROSE AST:

  • Sample input code: you provide it
  • a dot graph generator to generate a dot file from AST: ROSE provides dot graph generators
  • a visualization tool to open the dot graph: ZGRViewer and Graphviz are used by ROSE developers

If you don't want to install ROSE+ZGRview + Graphvis from scratch, you can directly use ROSE virtual machine image, which has everything you need installed and configured so you can just visualize your sample code.

Sample input code[edit]

Please prepare simplest input code without including any headers so you can get a small enough AST to digest.

Dot Graph Generator[edit]

We provide ROSE_INSTALLATION_TREE/bin/dotGeneratorWholeASTGraph (complex graph) and dotGenerator (a simpler version) to generate a dot graph of the detailed AST of input code.

Tools to generate AST graph in dot format. There are two versions

  • dotGenerator: simple AST graph generator showing essential nodes and edges
  • dotGeneratorWholeASTGraph: whole AST graph showing more details. It provides filter options to show/hide certain AST information.

command line:

 dotGeneratorWholeASTGraph  yourcode.c  // it is best to avoid including any header into your input code to have a small enough tree to visualize.
dotGeneratorWholeASTGraph --help
   -rose:help                     show this help message
   -rose:dotgraph:asmFileFormatFilter           [0|1]  Disable or enable asmFileFormat filter
   -rose:dotgraph:asmTypeFilter                 [0|1]  Disable or enable asmType filter
   -rose:dotgraph:binaryExecutableFormatFilter  [0|1]  Disable or enable binaryExecutableFormat filter
   -rose:dotgraph:commentAndDirectiveFilter     [0|1]  Disable or enable commentAndDirective filter
   -rose:dotgraph:ctorInitializerListFilter     [0|1]  Disable or enable ctorInitializerList filter
   -rose:dotgraph:defaultFilter                 [0|1]  Disable or enable default filter
   -rose:dotgraph:defaultColorFilter            [0|1]  Disable or enable defaultColor filter
   -rose:dotgraph:edgeFilter                    [0|1]  Disable or enable edge filter
   -rose:dotgraph:expressionFilter              [0|1]  Disable or enable expression filter
   -rose:dotgraph:fileInfoFilter                [0|1]  Disable or enable fileInfo filter
   -rose:dotgraph:frontendCompatibilityFilter   [0|1]  Disable or enable frontendCompatibility filter
   -rose:dotgraph:symbolFilter                  [0|1]  Disable or enable symbol filter
   -rose:dotgraph:emptySymbolTableFilter        [0|1]  Disable or enable emptySymbolTable filter
   -rose:dotgraph:typeFilter                    [0|1]  Disable or enable type filter
   -rose:dotgraph:variableDeclarationFilter     [0|1]  Disable or enable variableDeclaration filter
   -rose:dotgraph:variableDefinitionFilter      [0|1]  Disable or enable variableDefinitionFilter filter
   -rose:dotgraph:noFilter                      [0|1]  Disable or enable no filtering
Current filter flags' values are: 
         m_asmFileFormat = 0 
         m_asmType = 0 
         m_binaryExecutableFormat = 0 
         m_commentAndDirective = 1 
         m_ctorInitializer = 0 
         m_default = 1 
         m_defaultColor = 1 
         m_edge = 1 
         m_emptySymbolTable = 0 
         m_expression = 0 
         m_fileInfo = 1 
         m_frontendCompatibility = 0 
         m_symbol = 0 
         m_type = 0 
         m_variableDeclaration = 0 
         m_variableDefinition = 0 
         m_noFilter = 0 

Dot Graph Visualization[edit]

To visualize the generated dot graph, you have to install

Please note that you have to configure ZGRViewer to have correct paths to some commands it uses. You can do it from its configuration/setting menu item. Or directly modify the text configuration file (.zgrviewer).

One example configuration is shown below (cat .zgrviewer)

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<zgrv:config xmlns:zgrv="">
        <zgrv:tmpDir value="true">/tmp</zgrv:tmpDir>
    <zgrv:webBrowser autoDetect="true" options="" path=""/>
    <zgrv:proxy enable="false" host="" port="80"/>
    <zgrv:preferences antialiasing="false" cmdL_options=""
        highlightColor="-65536" magFactor="2.0" saveWindowLayout="false"
        sdZoom="false" sdZoomFactor="2" silent="true"/>

You have to configure the script to have correct path also



# If you want to be able to run ZGRViewer from any directory,
# set ZGRV_HOME to the absolute path of ZGRViewer's main directory
# e.g. ZGRV_HOME=/usr/local/zgrviewer


java -jar $ZGRV_HOME/target/zgrviewer-0.8.1.jar "$@"

Example session[edit]

A complete example

# make sure the environment variables(PATH, LD_LIBRARY_PATH) for the installed rose are correctly set
which dotGeneratorWholeASTGraph

# run the dot graph generator
dotGeneratorWholeASTGraph -c ttt.c

#see it

example output[edit]

We put some example source files and their AST dump files into: