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SymbolQueryTool

Sometimes you handle software that have very conditional structures, especially in big embedded projects where space efficiency is critical.

You might be familiar with Dwarf, a very powerful debugging format that you have certainly used without knowing it.
Basicly, Dwarf infos are the sections in your execs, dlls, elf … that allows you to debug things with open-minded softwares.
For instance, if you can do step-by-step debugging in gdb, on your pc or with a remote target, it’s because gdb is able to read through Dwarf informations and know what to do with the low-level stuff.
You might be surprised to know what there is in the .debug_* sections of your favorite ‘objdump -x’: symbols, paths, sizes …
Directly from your compiler, served to you in a compact and smart way.

Lately, I faced huge embedded softwares, with problems such as shared memory compatibility, and where using Dwarf informations to understang how things are actually working could be interesting.
Well, I did not really found what I was looking for, thinks like dwarfdump are literaly dumping Dwarf informations with little control, and objdump is also too much.

So I wrote this little piece of C++ code which allows you to, mainly, find and dump symbols.

For instance, let’s say you have something like this somewhere in your software:

typedef struct MyStructTag
{
	int x, y;
	unsigned int z;
}MyStruct;
 
#if A
# define MYSTRUCT_ARR_SZ 21
#else
# define MYSTRUCT_ARR_SZ 100
#endif
 
typedef union AnUnionTag
{
	MyStruct structArray[MYSTRUCT_ARR_SZ];
	unsigned int someOtherStuff[10];
} AnUnion;

Imagine thinks like this built and conditionnalized through hundreds of files.
What is the actual output ? What is the size ?

Simple enough:

./symbol-query ../TestProject/TextProject -o output.xml -q sym AnUnion

It dumps the “AnUnion” symbol as a tree structure to output.xml, which is something like this:

<root>
    <query Die="AnUnion">
        <union Type="AnUnion" Size="1200">
            <array Name="structArray" Count="100">
                <structure Type="MyStruct" Size="12">
                    <base Name="x" Type="MyStruct" Size="4"/>
                    <base Name="y" Type="MyStruct" Size="4"/>
                    <base Name="z" Type="MyStruct" Size="4"/>
                </structure>
            </array>
            <array Name="someOtherStuff" Count="10">
                <base Type="unsigned int" Size="4"/>
            </array>
        </union>
        <enums />
    </query>
</root>

It also does it quite quickly, since it takes few milliseconds for a 18k struct with about 10000 symbols.

Code is available at:
https://github.com/CoRfr/SymbolQueryTool/
It works on Linux and relies on elfutils/libdw, I’m currently working for a way to make it work on Windows, but didn’t found a way yet.
As usual, a CMake file is provided.

Cheers

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