[LLVMdev] [cfe-dev] LLVM & Clang file management

Daniel Dunbar daniel at zuster.org
Mon Nov 28 12:07:30 PST 2011

Hi Manual,

I'm +2 on the general idea.

I have had various thoughts in this direction as well (although no
implementation). See:
for my RFC from last year (focused at bug reporting, but involved
defining a VFS layer).

My one main implementation level comment is I don't think FileManager
is the right API layer to abstract at (it is too specific to Clang's
usage, and too hard to propagate through the rest of LLVM). My
intuition is that it is better to set out to define a lower level VFS
layer that is rich enough to support everything we do and the vagaries
of Win32/Unix, but is otherwise minimal.

One requirement I hope any proposed VFS design will support is
emulating Win32 on Unix (and vice versa), which imposes assorted API
complications but I think is worth it overall.

I see many positive future technologies we could build if we had a
good VFS layer, I'd absolutely love to see work in this direction.

 - Daniel

On Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 2:49 AM, Manuel Klimek <klimek at google.com> wrote:
> Hi,
> while working on tooling on top of clang/llvm we found the file system
> abstractions in clang/llvm to be one of the points that could be nicer
> to integrate with. I’m writing this mail to propose a strawman and get
> some feedback on what you guys think the right way forward is (or
> whether we should just leave things as they are).
> First, the FileManager we have in clang has helped us a lot for our
> tooling - when we run clang in a mapreduce we don’t need to lay out
> files on a disk, we can just map files into memory and happily clang
> over them. We’re also using the same mechanism to map builtin
> includes; in short, the FileManager has made it possible to do clang
> at scale.
> Now we’re aware that it was not really the intention of the
> FileManager to allow doing the things we do with it: not every module
> in clang uses the FileManager, and the moment we hit llvm there is no
> FileManager at all. For example, in case of the Driver we hack around
> the fact that the header search tries to access the file system
> driectly in rather brittle ways, relying on implementation details and
> #ifdefs.
> So why not make FileManager a more principled (and still blazing fast)
> file system abstraction?
> Pro:
> - only one interface for developers to learn on the project (no more
> PathV1 vs PathV2 vs FileManager)
> - only one implementation (per-platform) for easier maintenance of the
> file system platform abstraction
> - one point to insert synchronization guarantees for tools / IDE
> integration that wants to run clang in multiple threads at once (for
> example when re-indexing on 12-ht-core machines)
> - being able to replay compilations by injecting a virtual file system
> that exactly “copies” the original file system’s content, which allows
> easy scaling of replays, running tools against dirty edit buffers on a
> lower level than the SourceManager and unit testing
> Con:
> - there would be yet another try at unifying the APIs which would be
> in an intermediate state while being worked on (and PathV1 vs PathV2
> is already bad enough)
> - making it the canonical file system interface is a lot of effort
> that requires touching a lot of systems (while we’re volunteering to
> do the work, it will probably eat up other people’s time, too)
> What parts (if any) of this type of transition makes sense?
> 1. Figure out the “correct” interface we’d want for FileManager to be
> more generally useful
> 2. Change FileManager to that interface
> 4. Sink FileManager into llvm, so it can be used by other projects
> 4. Use it throughout clang
> 5. Use it throughout llvm
> We don’t need to do all of them at once, and should be able to
> evaluate the results along the way.
> Thoughts? If folks are generally happy, I’d start up an email thread
> to drive the target design of the FileManager to get things rolling.
> /Manuel
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