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This is the generator for the woboq code browser.

See for an example.

To browse the source code of the generator using the code browser itself:

Main page:

The announcement blog:

Build Status

Introduction and Design

There is a pre-processing step on your code that generates static html and reference database. The output of this phase is just a set of static files that can be uploaded on any web hoster. No software is required on the server other than the most basic web server that can serve files.

While generating the code, you will give to the generator an output directory. The files reference themselves using relative path. The layout in the output directory will look like this: (Assuming the output directory is ~/public_html/mycode)

$OUTPUTDIR/../data/ or ~/public_html/data/ is where all javascript and css files are located. Those are static files shipped with the code browser, they are not generated.

$OUTPUTDIR/projectname or ~/public_html/mycode/projectname contains the generated html files for your project

$OUTPUTDIR/refs or ~/public_html/mycode/refs contains the generated "database" used for the tooltips

$OUTPUTDIR/include or ~/public_html/mycode/include contains the generated html files for the files in /usr/include

The idea is that you can have several project sharing the same output directory. In that case they will also share references and use searches will work between them.

Install via RPM/DEB

Please look at

Install via homebrew

Please look at

Install via Arch User Repository (AUR)

Execute these commands in Arch Linux:

git clone
cd woboq_codebrowser-git
makepkg -si

Compiling the generator on Linux

You need:

  • The clang libraries version 3.4 or later

You may want to sudo apt install llvm-7 clang-7 libclang-7-dev on Ubuntu if you ran into error like that clang says it cannot find "ClangConfig.cmake". More details in issues#74 .


cmake . -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release

Compiling the generator on macOS

Install XCode and then the command line tools:

xcode-select --install

Install the clang libraries via homebrew ( ):

brew install llvm --with-clang --rtti

Then compile the generator:

cmake . -DCMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/usr/local/Cellar/llvm/<your_llvm_version> -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release

Using the generator

Step 1: Generate the compile_commands.json (see chapter "Compilation Database" below) for your project

The code browser is built around the clang tooling infrastructure that uses compile_commands.json

See the section "Compilation Database (compile_commands.json)" below.

Step 2: Create code HTML using codebrowser_generator

Before generating, make sure the output directory is empty or does not contains stale files from a previous generation.

Call the codebrowser_generator. See later for argument specification

Step 3: Generate the directory index HTML files using codebrowser_indexgenerator

By running the codebrowser_indexgenerator with the output directory as an argument

Step 4: Copy the static data/ directory one level above the generated html

Step 5: Open it in a browser or upload it to your webserver

Note: By default, browsers do not allow AJAX on file:// for security reasons. You need to upload the output directory on a web server, or serve your files with a local apache or nginx server. Alternatively, you can disable that security in Firefox by setting security.fileuri.strict_origin_policy to false in about:config ( or start Chrome with the --allow-file-access-from-files option.

Full usage example

Let's be meta in this example and try to generate the HTML files for the code browser itself. Assuming you are in the cloned directory:

VERSION=`git describe --always --tags`
./generator/codebrowser_generator -b $BUILD_DIRECTORY -a -o $OUTPUT_DIRECTORY -p codebrowser:$SOURCE_DIRECTORY:$VERSION
./indexgenerator/codebrowser_indexgenerator $OUTPUT_DIRECTORY
cp -rv ./data $DATA_DIRECTORY

You can adjust the variables and try similar commands to generate other projects.

Arguments to codebrowser_generator

Compiles sources into HTML files

codebrowser_generator -a -o <output_dir> -b <buld_dir> -p <projectname>:<source_dir>[:<revision>] [-d <data_url>] [-e <remote_path>:<source_dir>:<remote_url>]

-a process all files from the compile_commands.json. If this argument is not passed, the list of files to process need to be passed

-o with the output directory where the generated files will be put

-b the "build directory" containing the compile_commands.json If this argument is not passed, the compilation arguments can be passed on the command line after --

-p (one or more) with project specification. That is the name of the project, the absolute path of the source code, and the revision separated by colons example: -p projectname:/path/to/source/code:0.3beta

-d specify the data url where all the javascript and css files are found. default to ../data relative to the output dir example: -d

-e reference to an external project. example:-e clang/include/clang:/opt/llvm/include/clang/:

Arguments to codebrowser_indexgenerator

Generates index HTML files for each directory for the generated HTML files

codebrowser_indexgenerator <output_dir> [-d data_url] [-p project_definition]

-p (one or more) with project specification. That is the name of the project, the absolute path of the source code, and the revision separated by colons example: -p projectname:/path/to/source/code:0.3beta

-d specify the data url where all the javascript and css files are found. default to ../data relative to the output dir example: -d

Compilation Database (compile_commands.json)

The generator is a tool which uses clang's LibTooling. It needs either a compile_commands.json or the arguments to be passed after '--' if they are the same for every file.

To generate the compile_commands.json:

  • For cmake, pass -DCMAKE_EXPORT_COMPILE_COMMANDS=ON as a cmake parameter
  • For qmake, configure/autoconf and others, follow the instructions in scripts/ or scripts/woboq_cc.js. These are fake compilers that append the compiler invocation to the json file and forward to the real compiler. Your real compiler is overriden using the CC/CXX environment variables Make sure to have the json file properly terminated.
  • If you use ninja, you can use ninja -t compdb
  • If you use qbs, you can use qbs generate --generator clangdb
  • There is also a project called Build EAR (Bear) that achieves a similar thing as our fake compilers but is using LD_PRELOAD to inject itself into the build process to catch how the compiler is invoked.

There is also some further information on

Getting help

No matter if you are a licensee or are just curious and evaulating, we'd love to help you. Ask us via e-mail on Or on IRC in #woboq on

If you find a bug or incompatibility, please file a github issue:

Licence information

Licensees holding valid commercial licenses provided by Woboq may use this software in accordance with the terms contained in a written agreement between the licensee and Woboq. For further information see

Alternatively, this work may be used under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 (CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0) License.

This license does not allow you to use the code browser to assist the development of your commercial software. If you intent to do so, consider purchasing a commercial licence.

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