Sorts, adds, and deletes include (or import, or require) lines in a variety of languages
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fix_includes
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README.md

fix-includes

Fix-includes manages include/import/require lines in C, C++, Python, and JavaScript (node.js). It is easy to add support for other languages as well.

What does fix-includes do?

Fix-includes is a tool to manage "include" lines in medium and large software projects. It easily scales to tens of thousands of source files.

An "include line" is a directive, present in most languages, that allows you to use another source file from the source file that contains the include line. The syntax differs between languages:

    #include <stdio.h>       // C
    import sys               // Python
    var fs = require("fs");  // JavaScript (node.js)
    ...

In this project, all such lines are called "include lines," regardless of the syntax (and regardless of whether they include or import).

Sorting and reordering

Many projects have style rules concerning their include lines. For instance, the Google C++ style guide requires the includes to be divided into three sections: one for system includes, one for third-party includes, and one (sometimes two) for project includes, with a blank line between each section. It further requires that the includes be sorted alphabetically within each section.

This project will automatically detect include lines within a file and reorder them so they follow such a rule.

Adding and deleting

When refactoring, you sometimes want to split a file in two, and as a result all files that include foo.h (say) will now also need to include bar.h. Fix-includes makes it easy to do this, without any need for IDE support.

Or perhaps you have combined two files into one, and bar.h is no longer needed anywhere. Fix-includes can easily delete it from all source files.

Why is this hard?

Some readers might be thinking at this point, "Why is there a whole project for this? My IDE does it for me!" Or maybe they're thinking, "I can do it in one line of Perl!" It turns out includes are more complex than they seem at first, and these simplistic solutions often fall short.

  1. Comments. When you move an include around, you want to move its comments around as well!

        // This gimlitzes the frobnitzes
        #include "gimlitz_frotnitzes.h"
        // Once you've gimlitzed the frobnitzes, you'll want to
        // frobozz them!  Can you imagine not frobozzing them?
        #include "frobozz_frobnitzes.h"
    
  2. Multi-line includes. If you just highlight your include-lines and press "sort" in your favorite IDE, it will have trouble with multi-line includes:

        import foo
        from bar import (
             bar1, bar2, bar3)
        from baz import bazalicious
    
  3. Interleaved includes and code. Sometimes reordering includes can cause errors:

    var i18n = require("./i8n.js);
    var gettext = i18n.gettext;
    var underline = require("./underline.js");
    
  4. Inline includes. It would be nice to obey the style rules for includes that are not at the top of the file:

    def dump_upon_write_error():
        import sys
        import os
        import traceback
        # write() may be broken here!  Use os.write() instead.     
        os.write(sys.stdout.fileno(), traceback.format_stack())
    
  5. Avoiding duplicates. When adding a new include, you want to make sure you don't add it if it's already there. It's especially easy to get this wrong when the original and the new addition have whitespace differences:

       var foo = require("./foo.js");
       var x   = require(
            "./path/to/some/third_party/library/containing/x.js");
       // And now you request to add:
       //    var x = require("./path/to/some/third_party/library/containing/x.js");
    

Don't worry about any of these things, or the other myriad things that can go wrong when trying to fix includes automatically (such as associating a top-of-file docstring with an include line!) Just use this script!

How do I use it?

You just run

   fix_includes.py <file> ...

It will detect the type of the file from its extension, or you can specify it manually. By default, fix-includes will sort and reorganize includes, using a built-in rule that matches the Google C++ style guide. The rules should be fairly easy to configure, though it requires knowledge of Python to do so.

You can also run

   fix_includes.py --delete "substring" <file> ...

to delete all include-lines that match substring (comments are omitted before doing the substring match) in the specified files. This will sort and organize the include lines as well. Or you can run

   fix_includes.py --add "line" <file> ...

to add line as an include-line to all specified files. Again, this also sorts. You can combine --add and --delete as well.

Transitional: Until I am done integrating js and python into fix_includes.py, there are separate files for them: fix_js_requires.py and fix_python_imports.py.

What are the default sort rules?

TODO

Other projects

Python: If all you are interested in is sorting, and your code is Python-only, you may be interested in isort, which provides features not found in fix-includes.