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Dynamic Load-time Instrumentation Library for Java

Dila is a dynamic load-time instrumentation library developed by the PROLANGS group at Rutgers University in cooperation with IBM Research. Dila uses customized class loading for instrumenting the byte code of a program before it is executed. During the execution of an instrumented program dynamic program representations, such as call graphs, are created, which can be used for various program analyses. Dila is completely written in Java and uses the byte code manipulation toolkit Shrike from the WALA project. It has been built as a library for online analysis tools with a particular focus on performance. The library is licensed under the Eclipse Public License (EPL).

Key Features

  • Complete construction of dynamic program representations, such as call graphs. Builders for dynamic representations capture the complete program behavior, including static initializers.
  • Simple API suitable for operations on many graph representations and other data structures, including graph comparators, walkers, printers, and visitors.
  • Highly customizable instrumentation, with pre-defined support for constructing call graphs, and a time stamps representation for approximating possible side effects, API for own instrumentations.
  • Execution support for running target programs, through a main() method as standard way of running Java programs, and JUnit test cases or test suites.
  • Selective construction of dynamic program representations. Besides creating a representation for an execution of the entire application, Dila can create partial representations through a constraint mechanism. It provides constraints for selecting methods by signature pattern matching, or complete executions for JUnit test cases, including their initialization, test fixture creation, test code execution and finalizers.

How it works

A user configures which instrumentations are applied to a program, and may provide his own instrumentations. Dila loads the classes of the target application with a customized class loader that instruments the byte code of these classes. Additional library classes, such as the JDK, are excluded from the instrumentation. The instrumentation only calls hooks in our representation builder API, which makes it small and less intrusive with the target program. Dila executes the instrumented program and creates the representations defined by each instrumentation. Provided builders store all created representations in memory, which can then be used in post-processors.

How to get Dila

Dila is currently distributed as source code release only. Go to the following URL using an SVN client:

Dila consists of two Eclipse plugin projects:

Check out into your Eclipse workspace for using Dila with your application code. You also may want to check out to check whether Dila works properly in your environment and to browse examples for how to use Dila.


Support Mailing List

  • Problems running Dila? Check our FAQs
  • Dila is a research prototype and still under development, but has been used in different research projects for online program analyses. Dila is published under the Eclipse Public License (EPL).
  • Contact our project team for further information on the project, technical issues, or with other questions
  • Browse the archive
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