UAST Querying

The clients support querying over the returned UAST to filter for specific nodes using a client-specific filter() method.

The querying uses xpath syntax and it can be really useful to extract features from the code and, thanks to the annotation system implemented by babelfish, it can be done in a universal way.

Any of the Node fields can be used for querying in the following way:

  • @type is converted to the element name
  • @token, if available, is converted to an attribute with @token as keyword and the actual token as value
  • Every Role is converted to an attribute with @role as keyword and the role name as value.
  • Every Property is converted to an attribute with the property keyword as keyword and the property value as value
  • @pos, if available, is mapped to a node with a start and end properties, each containing a node of Position type which in turn will have the offset, line and col properties.

Internally, these are mapped in the XML node in the following way:

<{{@type}}
    @token='{{Token}}'
    {{for role in Roles}}
    @role{{role}}
    {{for key, value in Properties}}
    {{key}}='{{value}}'
    {{start-offset, start-line, start-col, end-offset, end-line, end-col}}
    {{Children}}
</{{@type}}>

This means that both language specific queries (InternalType, Properties) and language agnostic queries (Roles) can be done.

Example Queries

  • All the numeric literals in Python: //Num
  • All the numeric literals in ANY language: //*[@role='Number' and @role='Literal']
  • All the integer literals in Python: //*[@NumType='int']

The query language also allows some more complex queries:

  • All the simple identifiers: //*[@role='Identifier' and not(@role='Qualified')] or, if you're getting the semantic UAST (which is the default): //Identifier[not(@role='Qualified')].
  • All the simple identifiers that don't have any positioning: //*[@role='Identifier' and not(@role='Qualified') and not(@startOffset) and not(@endOffset)]
  • All the arguments in function calls: //*[@role='Call' and @role='Argument']
  • The parent node of a call argument: //*@[role='Call' and @role='Argument']/parent::* (you can also specify the type of the parent node instead of an * or use ancestor::type to get the first ancestor of a specified type).
  • All the numeric literals in binary arithmetic operators: //*[@role='Binary' and @role='Operator' and @role='Arithmetic']//*[@role='Number' and @role='Literal']

XPath 1.0 functions can also be used in the queries, but if the query returns a type different than the default node list you must use one of the specific typed functions: filter_bool (or filterBool in some clients), filter_number or filter_string. If you use the wrong type the error will tell you what is the type returned by the expression.

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