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Libadalang is a library for parsing and semantic analysis of Ada code. It is meant as a building block for integration into other tools. (IDE, static analyzers, etc.)

Libadalang provides mainly the following services to users:

  • Complete syntactic analysis with error recovery, producing a precise syntax tree when the source is correct, and a best effort tree when the source is incorrect.

  • Semantic queries on top of the syntactic tree, such as, but not limited to:

    • Resolution of references (what a reference corresponds to)
    • Resolution of types (what is the type of an expression)
    • General cross references queries (find all references to this entity)

Libadalang does not (at the moment) provide full legality checks for the Ada language. If you want such a functionality, you’ll need to use a full Ada compiler, such as GNAT.

If you have problems building or using Libadalang, or want to suggest enhancements, please open a GitHub issue. We also gladly accept pull requests!

High level architecture

Libadalang is a library that can be used from Ada (2012) and Python 2, amongst other languages (we also have a C API, and an experimental OCaml API). Most of its code is Ada code, generated from the language specification that you can find in ada/language.

WARNING: You will not find the generated code in the repository. You have to generate it yourself. We're thinking about some plans to auto-generate the code and put it in another repo/branch.

It is using the Langkit framework as a basis, and is at the time of writing the main project developped using it.

The language specification, while embedded in Python syntax, is mostly its own language, the Langkit DSL, that is used to specify the part of Ada syntax and semantics that are of interest to us.

Status of the project

Libadalang is still in development and we allow ourselves some headroom in terms of breaking backwards compatibility. If you want to use a stable version of Libadalang, you'll need to build from one of the stable branches, such as 19.1.

Libadalang currently:

  • Is able to parse 100% of Ada 2012 syntax, and presents a well formed tree for it.

  • Is able to recover most common syntax errors. The error messages are behind those of GNAT, but the recovery will potentially work better in many situations.

  • Provides name resolution/navigation.

  • Is able to handle some very simple incremental processing. Reparsing a source A and querying xref on a source B that depends on A is theoretically supported, and works in most cases, but this use case is not yet thoroughly tested.

Quick guide to use Libadalang

In order to use Libadalang, one has first to generate its code and to build it. You can read and run manually the steps in the User Manual, or you can use our script to semi-automate this (please read and update this script to adapt it to your setup before running it). After this, you can either use Libadalang in Ada with the libadalang.gpr project file, or in Python just import the libadalang module.


First, make sure you have the build/bin directory in your PATH so the test cases can access the parse program. Then, in the top-level directory, run:

$ python testsuite/

If you want to learn more about this test driver's options (for instance to run tests under Valgrind), add a -h flag.

Because adding build/bin to the PATH is not very convenient, ada/ provides a shortcut to run the testsuite:

$ python ada/ test

It runs the testsuite with the --enable-color option. It is also possible to pass other arguments to For instance, if you want to run under a debugger only the factor_0 test case, execute:

$ python ada/ test -- -g ada/testsuite/tests/parser/factor_0


Libadalang comes with two separate Sphinx-based documentations: the User Manual and the Developer Manual.

The first one lies in the user_manual directory and the second one in the dev_manual directory. You can consult them as text files or build them. For instance, to generate HTML documents, run from the top directory:

$ make -C user_manual html
$ make -C dev_manual html

And then open the generated files in your favorite browser:

$ $BROWSER user_manual/_build/html/index.html
$ $BROWSER dev_manual/_build/html/index.html

Note that, as the User Manual relies on Ada and Python code introspection, you need a working Libadalang Python API in order to build it. See the corresponding procedure for more details.

You can also read Libadalang's documentation corresponding to its stable branch directly from the AdaCore Live Docs.


Libadalang has a Python API, for easy prototyping and explorative programming. It ships with an executable named playground, that allows you to analyze Ada files and play with them in an interactive Python console.

Given the following main.adb Ada file:

with Ada.Text_IO; use Ada.Text_IO;

procedure Main is
    Put_Line ("Hello World");
end Main;

You can start the playground on it:

% playground main.adb

-- libadalang playground

The file(s) passed as argument have been put into the `u` variable, or units if
there are multiple.


In [1]: print u.root.text
with Ada.Text_IO; use Ada.Text_IO;

procedure Main is
    Put_Line ("Hello World");
end Main;

In [2]: print u.root.findall(mdl.CallExpr)
[<CallExpr 5:5-5:29>]

In [3]: print u.root.findall(mdl.CallExpr)[0].text
Put_Line ("Hello World")

The playground embeds the IPython interactive Python console, so you have a modern interactive programming environment. You can use tab completion to explore the Libadalang API.

Libadalang and ASIS

ASIS is widely used for static analysis of Ada code, and is an ISO standard. It is still the go-to tool if you want to create a tool that analyses Ada code. Also, as explained above, Libadalang is not mature yet, and cannot replace ASIS in tools that require semantic analysis.

However, there are a few reasons you might eventually choose to use Libadalang instead of ASIS:

  1. The ASIS standard has not yet been updated to the 2012 version of Ada. More generally, the advantages derived from ASIS being a standard also means that it will evolve very slowly.

  2. Syntax only tools will derive a lot of advantages on being based on Libadalang:

    • Libadalang will be completely tolerant to semantic errors. For example, a pretty-printer based on Libadalang will work whether your code is semantically correct or not, as long as it is syntactically correct.

    • Provided you only need syntax, Libadalang will be much faster than ASIS' main implementation (AdaCore's ASIS), because ASIS always does complete analysis of the input Ada code.

  3. The design of Libadalang's semantic analysis is lazy. It will only process semantic information on-demand, for specific portions of the code. It means that you can get up-to-date information for a correct portion of the code even if the file contains semantic errors.

  4. Libadalang has bindings to C and Python, and its design makes it easy to bind to new languages.

  5. Libadalang is suitable to write tools that work on code that is evolving dynamically. It can process code and changes to code incrementally. Thus, it is suitable as an engine for an IDE, unlike AdaCore's ASIS implementation.

  6. Libadalang is not tied to a particular compiler version. This combined with its staged and error tolerant design means that you can use it to detect bugs in Ada compilers/tools.

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