[cfe-dev] Clang -ast-dump-xml question

Douglas Gregor dgregor at apple.com
Wed Mar 6 07:14:39 PST 2013

On Mar 5, 2013, at 2:41 AM, Matthias Grimmer <grimmer at ssw.jku.at> wrote:

> Hi
> we are using clang and its -ast-dump-xml feature. Our goal is to convert the serialized clang-AST to a different code representation.
> We think that the output, that -ast-dump-xml produces, is not well suited for parsing. Statements are represented as ASCII styled trees and also contain parts that
> confuse XML parsers (e.g. <line:18:2, col:18>).

The pseudo-XML dump is a debugging aid. It's not a stable, useful format on which to build tools. Tools should be built on top of the Clang AST, either through libclang (for a stable but not-very-rich AST representation) or the C++ AST.

> Is there a better way to get a serialized version of the clang AST (XML, or any other format that is easier to parse)?

No, there isn't.

> We would like to avoid writing a clang AST visitor for this purpose.

Writing a Clang AST visitor or libclang client is really the best way to do this. There is no way to get sufficient information out of the debugging dumps to build a tool, unless your goal is to build a simple toy example that handles only a small part of C(++).

	- Doug

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