Code instrumentationΒΆ

This is a howto on code instrumentation. Code instrumentation is the action of adding extra code to your program. A good example is function call tracing. With function call tracing, you can call an extra function whenever a function is entered. It is also fun and easy to enter infinite recursions by doing so.

Lets demonstrate how this works with an example!

Say, we have a simple function, and would like to instrument this code. So, first define a function in C, called my_add, and turn it into IR-code:

>>> import io
>>> from ppci import api
>>> source = """
... int my_add(int a, int b) { return a + b; }
... """
>>> arch = api.get_arch('arm')
>>> module = api.c_to_ir(io.StringIO(source), arch)
>>> api.optimize(module, level=2)
>>> module.display()
module main;
function i32 my_add(i32 a, i32 b) {
  my_add_block0: {
     i32 op = a + b;
     return op;
  }
}

Now comes the cool part, the addition of tracing functionality. Since we have IR-code, we can add tracing to it. This means the tracing functionality is target independent!

>>> from ppci.instrument import add_tracer
>>> add_tracer(module)
>>> module.display()
module main;
function i32 my_add(i32 a, i32 b) {
  my_add_block0: {
     blob<7:1> func_name = Literal b'6d795f61646400';
     ptr name_ptr = &func_name;
     call trace(name_ptr);
     i32 op = a + b;
     return op;
  }
}

Notice the extra code inserted! Now, we could turn this into machine code like this:

>>> print(api.ir_to_assembly([module], arch))
       section data
       section code
 my_add:
       push LR, R11
       mov R11, SP
       push R5, R6
       mov R6, R1
       mov R5, R2
 my_add_block0:
       ldr R1, my_add_literal_1
       bl trace
       add R0, R6, R5
       b my_add_epilog
 my_add_epilog:
       pop R5, R6
       pop PC, R11
       ALIGN(4)
 my_add_literal_0:
       db 109
       db 121
       db 95
       db 97
       db 100
       db 100
       db 0
       ALIGN(4)
 my_add_literal_1:
       dcd =my_add_literal_0
       ALIGN(4)

Notice here as well the extra call to the trace function!