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libyang is a YANG data modelling language parser and toolkit written (and providing API) in C. The library is used e.g. in libnetconf2, Netopeer2 or sysrepo projects.

If you are interested in future plans announcements, please subscribe to the Future Plans issue.


The project uses 2 main branches master and devel. Other branches should not be cloned. In master there are files of the last official release. Any latest improvements and changes, which were tested at least briefly are found in devel. On every new release, devel is merged into master.

This means that when only stable official releases are to be used, either master can be used or specific releases downloaded. If all the latest bugfixes should be applied, devel branch is the one to be used. Note that whenever a new issue is created and it occurs on the master branch, the first response will likely be to use devel before any further provided support.

Migration from libyang version 1 or older

Look into the documentation and the section Transition Manual. That should help with basic migration and the ability to compile a project. But to actually make use of the new features, it is required to read through the whole documentation and the API.

Provided Features

  • Parsing (and validating) schemas in YANG format.
  • Parsing (and validating) schemas in YIN format.
  • Parsing, validating and printing instance data in XML format.
  • Parsing, validating and printing instance data in JSON format (RFC 7951).
  • Manipulation with the instance data.
  • Support for default values in the instance data (RFC 6243).
  • Support for YANG extensions.
  • Support for YANG Metadata (RFC 7952).
  • Support for YANG Schema Mount (RFC 8528).
  • Support for YANG Structure (RFC 8791).
  • yanglint - feature-rich YANG tool.

Current implementation covers YANG 1.0 (RFC 6020) as well as YANG 1.1 (RFC 7950).


Binary RPM or DEB packages of the latest release can be built locally using apkg, look into README in the distro directory.


Unix Build Requirements

  • C compiler
  • cmake >= 2.8.12
  • libpcre2 >= 10.21 (including devel package)
    • note, that PCRE is supposed to be compiled with unicode support (configure's options --enable-utf and --enable-unicode-properties)


  • doxygen (for generating documentation)
  • cmocka >= 1.0.1 (for tests)
  • valgrind (for enhanced testing)
  • gcov (for code coverage)
  • lcov (for code coverage)
  • genhtml (for code coverage)

Unix Runtime Requirements

  • libpcre2 >= 10.21

Windows Build Requirements

The Windows version does not support plugins, and the yanglint works in a non-interactive mode only. On Windows, all YANG date-and-time values are first converted to UTC (if TZ offset was specified), and then returned with "unspecified timezone".


$ mkdir build; cd build
$ cmake ..
$ make
# make install

Useful CMake Options

Changing Compiler

Set CC variable:

$ CC=/usr/bin/clang cmake ..

Changing Install Path

To change the prefix where the library, headers and any other files are installed, set CMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX variable:


Default prefix is /usr/local.

Build Modes

There are two build modes:

  • Release. This generates library for the production use without any debug information.
  • Debug. This generates library with the debug information and disables optimization of the code.

The Debug mode is currently used as the default one. to switch to the Release mode, enter at the command line:

$ cmake -D CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE:String="Release" ..

Changing Extensions Plugins Directory

As for YANG extensions, libyang allows loading extension plugins. By default, the directory to store the plugins is LIBDIR/libyang. To change it, use the following cmake option with the value specifying the desired directory:

$ cmake -DPLUGINS_DIR:PATH=`pwd`"/src/extensions/" ..

The directory path can be also changed runtime via environment variable, e.g.:

$ LIBYANG_EXTENSIONS_PLUGINS_DIR=`pwd`/my/relative/path yanglint

Note that plugins are not available on Windows.


Whenever the latest revision of a schema is supposed to be loaded (import without specific revision), it is performed in the standard way, the first time. By default, every other time when the latest revision of the same schema is needed, the one initially loaded is reused. If you know this can cause problems meaning the latest available revision of a schema can change during operation, you can force libyang to always search for the schema anew by:


CMake Notes

Note that, with CMake, if you want to change the compiler or its options after you already ran CMake, you need to clear its cache first - the most simple way to do it is to remove all content from the 'build' directory.


All libyang functions are available via the main header:

#include <libyang/libyang.h>

To compile your program with libyang, it is necessary to link it with libyang using the following linker parameters:


Note, that it may be necessary to call ldconfig(8) after library installation and if the library was installed into a non-standard path, the path to libyang must be specified to the linker. To help with setting all the compiler's options, there is libyang.pc file for pkg-config(1) available in the source tree. The file is installed with the library.

If you are using cmake in you project, it is also possible to use the provided FindLibYANG.cmake file to detect presence of the libyang library in the system.


There are no bindings for other languages directly in this project but they are available separately.


libyang project includes a feature-rich tool called yanglint(1) for validation and conversion of the schemas and YANG modeled data. The source codes are located at /tools/lint and can be used to explore how an application is supposed to use the libyang library. yanglint(1) binary as well as its man page are installed together with the library itself.

There is also README describing some examples of using yanglint.


libyang includes several tests built with cmocka. The tests can be found in tests subdirectory and they are designed for checking library functionality after code changes. Additional regression tests done with a corpus of fuzzing inputs that previously caused crashes are done. Those are available in tests/fuzz and are built automatically with the cmocka unit tests.

The tests are by default built in the Debug build mode by running

$ make

In case of the Release mode, the tests are not built by default (it requires additional dependency), but they can be enabled via cmake option:

$ cmake -DENABLE_TESTS=ON ..

Note that if the necessary cmocka headers are not present in the system include paths, tests are not available despite the build mode or cmake's options.

Tests can be run by the make's test target:

$ make test


There is a performance measurement tool included that prints information about the time required to execute common use-cases of working with YANG instance data.

To enable this test, use an option and to get representative results, enable Release build type:


and to run the test with seeing its output run:

$ make
$ ctest -V -R ly_perf

Code Coverage

Based on the tests run, it is possible to generate code coverage report. But it must be enabled and these commands are needed to generate the report:

$ make
$ make coverage


Multiple YANG fuzzing targets and fuzzing instructions are available in the tests/fuzz directory.

All of the targets can be fuzzed with LLVM's LibFuzzer and AFL, and new targets can easily be added. Asciinema examples which describe the fuzzing setup for both AFL ( and LibFuzzer ( are available.