[LLVMdev] Representing the dependencies of a bitcode module

Gordon Henriksen gordonhenriksen at mac.com
Mon Apr 28 21:11:35 PDT 2008

On 2008-04-28, at 23:21, Talin wrote:

> I've been using SCons as the build tool for my frontend application,  
> and
> I'm getting to the point where it would be useful to create a custom
> scanner for my generated bitcode files so that SCons can do proper
> dependency analysis. At the moment, SCons has no way to know which
> source files a particular bitcode file depends on, so the only way  
> to do
> a "correct" build is to rebuild everything. Mostly I've been getting  
> by
> with doing "incorrect" builds, meaning that I only build the files  
> that
> actually changed. However, this has tripped me up one or two times and
> I'd like to solve it.
> SCons has the ability to write custom scanners in Python, but I'm
> thinking that it will be easier in the long run to do this work in C+ 
> +.
> So the idea would be to write a command-line tool that would spit out
> the list of dependencies, and then write a Python wrapper to call it
> from SCons.
> My code generator keeps a list of what source files were imported  
> during
> compilation, and at the moment what it does is it creates an
> internal-linkage array of strings, one string per import. The
> command-line tool can then load the bitcode file and read the string
> array. Since the strings are internally linked, and since nothing else
> in the bitcode file refers to them, they ought to be dropped during
> optimization (I hope.)
> However, I notice that getting access to the strings from within the
> command-line tool is a little complicated, since I have to decompose  
> the
> various constant getElementPtr expressions in order to get at the  
> actual
> string. I'm wondering if there's a better way to represent this
> information. Maybe using the debug API, or perhaps annotation  
> intrinsics?

For something equivalent to #include (where the dependencies are not  
fully specified on the command line), have you considered a solution  
like 'gcc -c -MF foo.d foo.c'? This spits out the dependencies into a  
file (foo.d) as a side-effect of compilation. The dependencies can be  
directly included into 'make' on subsequent runs. If the output is not  
present, it will necessarily be rebuilt. If the output is present,  
then sufficient dependencies will be listed in the file. (They may not  
be "up to date", but it doesn't matter if you think it through.)  
Granted that you're not using make, but the principal is perfectly  

For linkage command lines, lazily updating 'response files' (sorry,  
Windows terminology...) can provide a complete solution. Something like:


all: cmds

	if [ "`cat $(INT_DIR)/link_cmd`" != "$(LINK_CMD)" ]; then echo "$ 
(LINK_CMD)" > link_cmd; fi

output.so: link_cmd $(LINK_INPUTS)

Of course, these are complimentary depending on your needs. Using a  
response file for compilation could protect against changes to the  
include path which are not captured by the direct file dependencies.  
Using a depends file for a linker component could protect against  
files being added to the linker search path.

— Gordon

More information about the llvm-dev mailing list