[cfe-dev] clang-refactoring tool proposal

Ben Jackson via cfe-dev cfe-dev at lists.llvm.org
Tue Aug 9 16:06:46 PDT 2016

First, I think clang-refactor is a great idea and a great point of focus for really useful tools.

> My proposed solution is to create clang-refactor tool, which would be an
> “umbrella” for other refactoring modules. A prototype of clang-refactor
> would merge clang-rename inside of it and other modules and refactorings
> would be added later.
> A properly designed clang-refactor tool would be able to process multiple
> Translation Units, which is crucial for all mentioned refactoring.

As a maintainer of a code comprehension tool which uses libclang, it would be really useful if such a refactoring ability was exposed via the higher-level APIs. We’d *love* to have IDE-like refactoring for C/C++/etc. in the tool, and I’m sure our users would too :).

One of the challenges we have with clang-rename, clang-include-fixer etc. is that they are difficult to integrate with existing applications which use libclang. Or perhaps I should say, they require orthogonal integration - currently to integrate these tools, even though I have successfully generated a TU/AST etc., I have to shell out to a binary which users may or may not have installed.

I know that is probably complex to deliver in practice, and I understand that the maintainers may have different opinions on the scope of libclang (or even the scope of this discussion!), but I wanted to throw the idea out there, in case there is appetite. Certainly, I would be super excited to integrate these tools into ycmd/YouCompleteMe. I don’t doubt others would similarly benefit.

> I am very excited about the idea of having Clang-based refactoring tool and
> I see a lot of potential in it.

Me too! Thanks for the work and ideas.


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