makeppgraph(1) Graphical analysis of the dependency graph


?: -?,  A: -A,
  --arguments-file,  B: -b,
  --build-reasons,  C: &cwd,  D: -D,
  --downwards,  G: -g,
  --graphviz,  H: -h,
  --html,  I: -I,
  --includes,  L: -l,
  --log-file,  M: -M,
  --module,  O: -o,
  --output,  P: -p,
  --plain,  R: -r,
  --rename,  S: -s,
  &suf,  T: -t,
  --text,  U: -u,
  &usr,  V: -V,

makeppgraphoption ... ] [ pattern ... ]

mppgoption ... ] [ pattern ... ]

They say ``A picture is worth a thousand words''. So let's draw your dependency or include graph from various viewpoints. Check out the gallery <> to get some ideas of what you can do.

Each node represents a source file or a target, colored according to file name patterns. A file's node is rectangular. A phony target's node is oval. Each solid edge represents a direct dependency. Alternately or additionally you can display include relationships as dotted lines. For a more detailed but not so pretty textual view see makepplog.

But beware, even for a small build the complexity can be staggering! This is because with .o files and system includes you easily have twice as many nodes as source files. But that is nothing --- the number of edges often far exceeds that of nodes, due to multiple include statements. A crossing-free layout is usually impossible.

In real projects the complexity becomes insane. Techniques like template based source file generation, preprocessors (e.g. embedded SQL, interface definition languages, Qt library) or publishing of files to central directories (e.g. to have only one "-I" or "-L" option) make the graph explode. Even if edges are just one pixel wide, you end up with broad black stripes of criss-crossing edges.

Once you realize what really goes on, if you're lucky, you may be able to find a way of simplifying your build setup. But before you get there, you must drastically reduce the amount of information you display. To that end there are various selection, renaming and merging possibilities in "makeppgraph". When you fail to strike a balance between reducing the graph so far that it becomes sensibly displayable, while still showing what you want to see, you may fall back to a textual graph.


Graph layouting, display and manipulation are complex tasks, which are beyond the scope of "makeppgraph". Instead it produces input files for specialized tools. It creates an output file replacing or adding the appropriate suffix to its first input file. If that is .makepp/log, the default, the output file will skip the .makepp directory, leading to log.udg. If the first input is - (stdin), the output goes to stdout.


With uDraw(Graph) <> you get a fairly modern GUI, which allows to select parents or children, find the other end of an edge, or hide subgraphs. Tweaking the options like the node distances, and using splines for edges can make the graph prettier.

While the above features make this a tremendously useful tool, there are a few small hitches:

  • It is quite memory hungry, such that, after a longish meditation, it may crash without having displayed anything --- a clear sign that you must reduce the number of nodes and/or edges further.
  • It strongly separates graph attributes and display options. This means that you can't put into a generated graph the fact that it is to be oriented sideways (which is generally necessary here because, even when renamed to something short, filenames are much wider than tall). As a workaround, if you don't want to make it your default, or choose orientation from the menu every time, they propose a little starter script:

        export UDG_HOME=/where/ever/uDrawGraph-3.1
        TMP=`mktemp -t udg.XXXXXX` || exit 1
        trap "rm -f $TMP" EXIT
        echo "[menu(file(open_graph(\"${1-log.udg}\"))),menu(layout(orientation(left_right)))]" >$TMP
        $UDG_HOME/bin/uDrawGraph -init $TMP
  • It doesn't yet support node border colors. Due to this "--because" displays double borders when they should be red.
  • When merging several files into one node leads to self edges both with "--dependencies" and "--includes", only one of these will be displayed, randomly dotted or drawn through and with a label of "2*".


Graphviz <> consists of several command line tools, which allow many more export formats than uDraw(Graph). That includes not only static image formats but also input for designer programs like dia. There is a utility "twopi" for creating a radial layout, which is nice if your graph comes close to a true tree, i.e. your dependencies fan out, but few nodes have common dependencies with others. There are a few viewers available, none of which helps you to navigate along the structure of the graph:
Its own display tool, dotty, has the advantage over uDraw(Graph) that you can freely drag the nodes, without being restricted to the level assigned by the layout. When your screen is full of edges, dragging one node gives you a nice impression of where the edges of that node lead to. But it also loses information when you modify it. Apart from that it is an antiquated Xlib tool. It also displays an annoying little circle on the middle of each edge, and no option seems to get rid of it.
ZGRViewer <> is a separately downloadable Java viewer which has comfortable zooming and panning. The graph is only viewable, no moving of nodes. There are five buttons in the view area, which offer additional fancy semi-3D zoom variations, but, unlike the basic functionality, they can be extremely slow depending on your Java setup. For my Sun Linux Java, the following gave a tremendous boost:

    export J2D_PIXMAPS=shared USE_DGA_PIXMAPS=1
Grappa is a separately downloadable Java 1.2 viewer. There is no wrapper shell script, the jar contains no manifest, none of the sources contain a main function, and with the appletviewer it produced two tall windows which hang with a ``starting applet'' message, so I don't know how to test this. It can be tried on a demo web site as an applet.

Selecting an edge makes it bold red, so you can manually scroll its other end into view without loosing it out of sight. Other than that and zooming and deleting nodes it seems to have no useful features. It ignores valid hexadecimal color specifications.

SVG, one of the file types the backends can export to, is already quite old. But some browsers still have problems with it. When embedding it with an object tag only Opera scales it, others clip it, which is useless for a thumbnail. When viewed as a document of it's own, only Opera and Konqueror allow scaling it, while Firefox scales only the labels. Even though the labels are text, no browser can search for them. IE6 doesn't have a clue, unless you install a plugin. A dedicated application, like Inkscape, can serve you better.


This is a simple unordered list tree format that can be perused with any browser. You should have JavaScript and CSS, which allows folding subtrees and seeing colors. Usually your graph will not be a tree, which is worked around by repeating nodes in every subtree needed, but as a link to the first occurrence where you can see all its attributes. Due to IE's limited Unicode support, vertical arrows are used for include relations, instead of the usual dotted arrows.

Textual Graph

This is a simple indentation-based format that can be perused with any text viewer. This means you can usually study much bigger graphs than with the other formats. In Emacs you can use outline and foldout for very powerful graph navigation with this little wrapper mode:

    (define-derived-mode textgraph-mode outline-mode "Graph"
      (set (make-local-variable 'outline-regexp) " *.")
      (set (make-local-variable 'outline-level)
           (lambda () (/ (- (match-end 0) (match-beginning 0) -1) 2)))
      (set (make-local-variable 'outline-font-lock-keywords)
           '(("^ *\\(?:{[a-z,]+} \\)?\\([^{\n]+\\)" (1 (outline-font-lock-face) nil t))))
      (setq imenu-generic-expression
            '((nil "^ *\\(?:{[a-z,]+} \\)?\\(.+?\\)\\(?:{[a-z,]+}\\)?$" 1))))

The lines can have comma separated annotations between braces, unless you also give the "-p, --plain" option. When these come before the target they pertain to the relationship with the parent, i.e. the previous line indented less. When they come after the target, they pertain to the target itself. They are as follows:

When this comes before a target, the parent was built because of this one. When it comes after, the target had some inherent reason for being rebuilt.
This dependency or inclusion goes in both directions.
The parent includes this file. This annotation is only given when also showing dependencies.
This is a phony target.
The information about this target and its children was already given earlier on.


If you give no patterns, makeppgraph will start operating with all the nodes it can extract from makepp's log. When given one or more patterns (using "?", "*", "**" and/or "[...]"), it will match those in the file system and operate on any that also occur in the log. For these it will by default select ``upwards'', i.e. all targets that depend on and/or include any of them and ``downwards'', i.e. all targets and/or sources, which any of them depends on and/or includes. (The directions are metaphorical, because the graph is best displayed from left ``top'' to right ``bottom'' due to the width of the nodes.)
-A filename
Read the file and parse it as possibly quoted whitespace- and/or newline-separated options.
If a node was rebuilt because of a dependency, then that edge is shown in red. Alas makepp applies optimizations to detect when a target needs rebuilding, such that it often can't say which file triggered the rebuild. If the node was rebuilt for a reason not attributed to another file, then the node's border is red. With uDraw(Graph) a double border is used instead, as it doesn't support border color.
Draw a graph of the dependency relationship determined by makepp. This is the default unless "-i, --includes" is also given.
This option is only meaningful if you provide one or more patterns. It will then only select the targets and/or sources which the matched files depend on, or which they include.
Produce a Graphviz .dot file, instead of the default uDraw(Graph) .udg file.
Produce a browser .html file, instead of the default uDraw(Graph) .udg file.
Print out a brief summary of the options.
-I directory
Add directory to Perl load path @INC.
Instead of dependencies (or with "-D, --dependencies" additionally to them) draw a graph of include relationships. This will only have been logged as far as it needed to be analyzed. To get the full picture you need a fresh full build.
-l filename
The filename is to where makepp wrote its log. It may also be a directory, in which a file called .makepp/log or log will be searched. To read from stdin, you must give - as a filename. When this option is not given, it defaults to the current directory.

This option can be given multiple times, e.g. for merging all the logs from "--traditional-recursive-make". But the dependencies you hid from makepp through the evil recursion paradigm can't of course show up here.

-M module[=arg,...]
Load module and import any functions it exports.
-m perlcode
Perform perlcode for every target and its dependencies. See merging for details about this option.
-o filename
Write the output to this file.
Don't use attributes like colors or dotted lines. This is especially useful for uncluttering "-t, --text" output. In that format bidirectional edges will be lost unless you combine this with "-s, --separate-directions".
-r perlcode
Perform perlcode for every target and its dependencies. See renaming for details about this option.
Draw two separate arrows, instead of each double ended arrow, to make them easier to spot.
Produce a human readable .txt file, instead of the default uDraw(Graph) .udg file.
This option is only meaningful if you provide one or more patterns. It will then only select the targets which depend on and/or include the matched files.
Print out the version number.


The techniques in this chapter are usually essential to get a reasonably sized graph. As they are formulated as Perl code, knowing the language is helpful. But you should be able to achieve quite a lot with the examples here or in the gallery <>.


This is the first name rewriting that occurs, if the "-r, --rename" option is given. For every name encountered, perlcode gets called. It gets a filename in $_, and it may modify it. This is often needed, because makepp logs fully qualified file names, so one node can easily be half a screen wide.

For one thing, you can rewrite names to "undef" or the empty string. This will eliminate the node from the graph. Note that eliminating a node in this first stage will break a chain of dependency if this node was in the middle.

You can also rewrite various names to the same string, coercing them all into the same node, which accumulates the combined dependencies and dependents.

On the other hand you can just rename names to (usually) shorter names, so as to reduce the width of nodes, which can be far to wide with absolute filenames. There are a few predefined functions in package "Mpp::Rewrite", in which your code also runs, you can use for this. These return true if they did something so you can combine them as in:

    --rename='cwd( 1 ) || &home || &usr'
cwd number
cwd number, name[, separator]
Removes the current working directory from the beginning of path. With a number, also replaces parent directories that many levels up with the right number of ../ directories, where applicable. In this case you can give an alternate name, like a piled up ':' instead of '..' and additionally an alternate separator like '' instead of '/'. In the first case you might get :/:/a/b, in the second an even shorter ::a/b instead of ../../a/b. Passing a number is useful if you draw in stuff from neighbouring trees. Or you have a src directory, where most of the action is, so you call makeppgraph there, but want to see the relation to your other directories too.

If you give no "--rename" option, &cwd is the default. Should you want no renaming, you can give some perlcode like "--rename=1" that does nothing.

This one is a great reducer of graph complexity. It reduces every file to its directory. That amounts to the question: ``Files from which directory depend on files from which other directory?'' Note that while the dependency graph is always acyclic (else makepp wouldn't know where to start building), that is not true of this reduced view. E.g. if dir1/a depends on dir2/b and dir2/a on dir1/b that will display as a mutual dependency between dir1 and dir2. Since a cyclic graph has no obvious starting point, the layout may be odd.

Unlike the other functions in this section, this is not exclusive with the others. So you may not want to logically combine it:

    --rename='&dir; &cwd || &home'
Replaces your home directory with ~/.
Replaces the makepp installation directory with |m|.
suf number
This one is also a great reducer of graph complexity. It reduces every file that has a suffix to an asterisk and that suffix. So you can see which kinds of files depend on which other kinds. With an argument of 0 it leaves the first character of the directory, provided it is one of "/", "~" or "|" (as put in by &home or &usr if you called those first). With a positive argument, it leaves that many directory levels at the beginning. With a negative argument, it removes that many directory levels at the end. So for /a/b/c/d/e/x.y you get:

    &suf        *.y
    suf 0       /*.y
    suf 1       /a/*.y
    suf 2       /a/b/*.y
    suf -1      /a/b/c/d/*.y
    suf -2      /a/b/c/*.y

For a relative a/b/c/d/e/x.y you get:

    &suf        *.y
    suf 0       *.y
    suf 1       a/*.y
    suf -1      a/b/c/d/*.y
Under /, /usr, /usr/local, /usr/X11, /usr/X11R6, /usr/X11R7 or /opt, for any of the directories bin, etc, include, lib or share, the initials of these words are concatenated between bars.

E.g. /usr/local/bin/foobar becomes |ulb|foobar or /usr/include/net/if.h becomes |ui|net/if.h. Note that `l' stands for `local' when between two letters and for `lib' as the last letter.


This is the second name rewriting that occurs, if the "-m, --merge" option is given. This API is still under development! Currently the target is passed in $_ and the dependency as an argument. If perlcode returns a value, that value replaces both the target and the dependency, merging them into one node. A few predefined functions can help you:
For any C/C++ source and the resulting .o file, merge them into one node, by adding to the source path a suffix of ">o" like some/where/>o, even if the .o file is in another directory.
For any .o file and the resulting executable of the same notdir basename without a suffix or with .exe, merge them into one node, by adding an asterisk to the .o file. This will not currently work together with c2o.
For any pair of files with the same name, usually a header or library published to a central directory, merge them into one node, by adding *2 to the dependency.


Makeppgraph looks at the following environment variable:
Any flags in this environment variable are interpreted as command line options before any explicit options. Quotes are interpreted like in makefiles.


Daniel Pfeiffer ([email protected])