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Patches and build tools (with some tests) for turning Chromium into VisibleV8.

The core patches are architecture and platform agnostic, but some of the logging code currently has implementation-detail dependencies on Linux. The [optional] build system is definitely Linux-specific.

Quick Start

(These instructions are for building VV8 on Chromium 75. Find commit hashes of other versions here, but make sure there's a matching patchset in patches/ in this repository.)

  • Make sure you have Docker and Python 3 and a lot of free disk space (e.g., 50GiB) for downloading and building Chromium
  • Clone this repository (we will call the cloned working directory $VV8)
  • Create an empty working directory on a device with enough space to check out and build Chromium (we will call this directory $WD)
  • Run $VV8/builder/ -d $WD checkout 5afa96dadfe803e8a058d6ede0c9c3987405b8d8
    • This will take a while: it has to check out all the code and run initial software installation steps
    • All tool installation will be captured in a Docker container image that can be reused for all future builds of this version of Chromium
  • Run patch -p1 <$VV8/patches/5afa96dadfe803e8a058/trace-apis.diff from inside $WD/src/v8
  • Run $VV8/builder/ -d $WD build @std
    • This will really take a while: it has to build all of Chromium and [Visible]V8, and V8's unit tests, and the Chromium installer Debian package
    • All these artifacts will be left in $WD/src/out/Builder
    • You can specify one or more of Chromium's Ninja build targets in place of our magic placeholder @std (e.g., d8)
  • Optionally, run $VV8/builder/ -d $WD install to create a new Docker image with the Chromium/VV8 build installed as the entry-point (for running the tests and/or building your own Puppeteer-based applications using Chromium/VV8 for instrumentation)

Log Output

VV8 produces trace logs in the browser's current working directory. The current builds thus require the Chrome sandbox to be disabled (--no-sandbox) so VV8 can create and write to log files on demand. Note that the default Docker images produced by the install step above do not include the --no-sandbox argument (or any arguments) to the entry-point, chrome.

Project Contents

  • The build tool source and resources (in builder/) simplifies building and installing custom Chromium variants
  • The patchset directory (patches/) includes information on what Chromium versions are supported
  • The tests directory (tests/) includes JS source and expected log files to help regression-test updates to VV8, and also contains documentation of the log format[s]

Research Paper

You can read more about the details of our work in the following research paper:

VisibleV8: In-browser Monitoring of JavaScript in the Wild [PDF]
Jordan Jueckstock, Alexandros Kapravelos
Proceedings of the ACM Internet Measurement Conference (IMC), 2019

If you use VisibleV8 in your research, consider citing our work using this Bibtex entry:

  title = {{VisibleV8: In-browser Monitoring of JavaScript in the Wild}},
  author = {Jueckstock, Jordan and Kapravelos, Alexandros},
  booktitle = {{Proceedings of the ACM Internet Measurement Conference (IMC)}},
  year = {2019}


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