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"Code as data" can be a powerful idea, but I don't think there are many concrete examples. To explore this concept, I used bblfshd to analyze the Elasticsearch code base to get a full list of all the configurable settings in Elasticsearch.

Take a look at the generated settings here.

The problem space

Elasticsearch has a lot of configurable settings and they aren't fully listed anywhere. Some are dynamic, some are not. I wanted to explore how to get all of the settings and their properties to see what I could do.

The main tech

This analysis is powered by bblfshd (pronounced babelfish). It's takes code and produces a "universal abstract syntax tree" (uast) of the code and supports a number of languages. Elasticsearch is written in Java which is one of the provided languages.

Getting up and running


Building and running

  • cd into cmd/elasticsearch-bblfsh
  • go build will make the elasticsearch-bblfsh executable
  • ./elasticsearch-bblfsh will create elasticsearchSettings.json with all of the settings found


This was a fun experiment for me. I'm very new at writing go code and it's probably all wrong. Use at your own risk.