[cfe-commits] PATCH: added clang-ast-dump tool

Sean Silva silvas at purdue.edu
Thu Jul 12 12:57:27 PDT 2012

+//===- examples/Tooling/ClangCheck.cpp - Clang check tool

The file header is still the "ClangCheck" one.

+//  This file implements a clang-ast-dump tool that dumps specified parts
+//  of an AST of a number of translation units.

This header comment is rather uninformative (as are many others in the
clang codebase, unfortunately).

It gives me a bit of a taste of what the tool does, but leaves me
hanging. The parts that I think "leave me hanging" are:

"dumps *specified* parts" (emphasis mine): how do I specify them? what
things are matchable? can I use a regex? can I use the new ASTMatcher
library (although IIRC the dynamic matchers are not merged yet, so the
answer here is no)?

"of a number of translation units": how do I specify them? do I need
some kind of special setup? if so, how so I set it up?

As a person interested in using this tool, and maybe hacking on it, I
would like to at least see:

* A high level description of the tool. As in all writing, remember
your audience: they have already seen the filename, so they can
already guess that it is related to "dumping ASTs"; thus a "high level
description" is going to be one level lower than "it dumps ASTs".
* Expected use cases and why this tool is needed (e.g. comparison with
`clang -ast-dump`)
* Quickstart. If a nontrivial setup is required, provide pointers to
the relevant documentation.
* Future directions you envision. One can only provide useful insight
into future directions after grokking the tool; hence the original
author is usually the best person to enunciate them. This usually
provides insight into the context which brought the tool into
existence and gives future hackers leads on where to continue.

Thanks for the cool tool,
--Sean Silva

On Thu, Jul 12, 2012 at 10:27 AM, Alexander Kornienko <alexfh at google.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> This patch adds the clang-ast-dump tool based on the Clang Tooling
> infrastructure. It can help users of AST matchers to explore and understand
> AST by selectively dumping it. This is a first version aimed at collecting
> feedback and feature requests.
> --
> Regards,
> Alexander
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> cfe-commits mailing list
> cfe-commits at cs.uiuc.edu
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