This document assumes that the latest release archive from has been unpacked into /opt/kythe/. See /opt/kythe/README for more information.

Extracting Compilations

# Generate Kythe protobuf sources
bazel build //kythe/proto:all

# Environment variables common to Kythe extractors
export KYTHE_ROOT_DIRECTORY="$PWD"                        # Root of source code corpus
export KYTHE_OUTPUT_DIRECTORY="/tmp/kythe.compilations/"  # Output directory
export KYTHE_VNAMES="$PWD/kythe/data/vnames.json"         # Optional: VNames configuration


# Extract a Java compilation
# java -Xbootclasspath/p:/opt/kythe/extractors/javac_extractor.jar \
# \
#   <javac_arguments>
java -Xbootclasspath/p:/opt/kythe/extractors/javac_extractor.jar \ \

# Extract a C++ compilation
# /opt/kythe/extractors/cxx_extractor <arguments>
/opt/kythe/extractors/cxx_extractor kythe/cxx/common/ \
  -I. -Ibazel-genfiles -Ithird_party/googlelog/src -Ithird_party/rapidjson/include -Ithird_party/proto/src

Extracting Compilations using Bazel

Kythe uses Bazel to build itself and has implemented Bazel action_listeners that use Kythe’s Java and C++ extractors. This effectively allows Bazel to extract each compilation as it is run during the build.

Add the flag --experimental_action_listener=//kythe/java/com/google/devtools/kythe/extractors/java/bazel:extract_kindex to make Bazel extract Java compilations and --experimental_action_listener=//kythe/cxx/extractor:extract_kindex to do the same for C++.

# Extract all Java/C++ compilations in Kythe
bazel test \
  --experimental_action_listener=//kythe/java/com/google/devtools/kythe/extractors/java/bazel:extract_kindex \
  --experimental_action_listener=//kythe/cxx/extractor:extract_kindex \

# Find the extracted .kindex files
find -L bazel-out -name '*.kindex'

The provided utility script,, does a full extraction using Bazel and then moves the compilations into the directory structure used by the google/kythe Docker image.

Indexing Compilations

All Kythe indexers analyze compilations emitted from extractors as either a .kindex file or an index pack. The indexers will then emit a delimited stream of entry protobufs that can then be stored in a GraphStore.

# Indexing a C++ compilation
# /opt/kythe/indexers/cxx_indexer --ignore_unimplemented <kindex-file> > entries
/opt/kythe/indexers/cxx_indexer --ignore_unimplemented \
  .kythe_compilations/c++/ > entries
# /opt/kythe/indexers/cxx_indexer --ignore_unimplemented --index_pack=<root> <unit-hash> > entries
/opt/kythe/indexers/cxx_indexer --ignore_unimplemented \
  --index_pack=.kythe_indexpack f0dcfd6fe90919e957f635ec568a793554905012aea803589cdbec625d72de4d > entries

# Indexing a Java compilation
# java -Xbootclasspath/p:/opt/kythe/indexers/java_indexer.jar \
# \
#   <kindex-file> > entries
java -Xbootclasspath/p:/opt/kythe/indexers/java_indexer.jar \ \
  $PWD/.kythe_compilations/java/ > entries
# java -Xbootclasspath/p:/opt/kythe/indexers/java_indexer.jar \
# \
#   --index_path=<root> <unit-hash> > entries
java -Xbootclasspath/p:/opt/kythe/indexers/java_indexer.jar \ \
  --index_pack=$PWD/.kythe_indexpack b3759d74b6ee8ba97312cf8b1b47c4263504a56ca9ab63e8f3af98298ccf9fd6 > entries
# NOTE: -- the Java indexer should not be run in
#       the KYTHE_ROOT_DIRECTORY used during extraction

# View indexer's output entry stream as JSON
/opt/kythe/tools/entrystream --write_json < entries

# Write entry stream into a GraphStore
/opt/kythe/tools/write_entries --graphstore leveldb:/tmp/gs < entries

Indexing the Kythe Repository

mkdir .kythe_{graphstore,compilations}
# .kythe_serving is the output directory for the resulting Kythe serving tables
# .kythe_graphstore is the output directory for the resulting Kythe GraphStore
# .kythe_compilations will contain the intermediary .kindex file for each
#   indexed compilation

# Produce the .kindex files for each compilation in the Kythe repo
./kythe/extractors/bazel/ "$PWD" .kythe_compilations

# Index the compilations, producing a GraphStore containing a Kythe index
docker run --rm \
  -v "${PWD}:/repo" \
  -v "${PWD}/.kythe_compilations:/compilations" \
  -v "${PWD}/.kythe_graphstore:/graphstore" \
  google/kythe --index

# Generate corresponding serving tables
/opt/kythe/tools/write_tables --graphstore .kythe_graphstore --out .kythe_serving

Using Cayley to explore a GraphStore

Install Cayley if necessary:

# Convert GraphStore to nquads format
bazel run //kythe/go/storage/tools:triples -- --graphstore /path/to/graphstore | \
  gzip >kythe.nq.gz

cayley repl --dbpath kythe.nq.gz # or cayley http --dbpath kythe.nq.gz
// Get all file nodes
cayley> g.V().Has("/kythe/node/kind", "file").All()

// Get definition anchors for all record nodes
cayley> g.V().Has("/kythe/node/kind", "record").Tag("record").In("/kythe/edge/defines").All()

// Get the file(s) defining a particular node
cayley> g.V("node_ticket").In("/kythe/edge/defines").Out("/kythe/edge/childof").Has("/kythe/node/kind", "file").All()

Visualizing Cross-References

As part of Kythe’s first release, a sample UI has been made to show Kythe’s basic cross-reference capabilities. The following command can be run over the serving table created with the write_tables binary (see above).

/opt/kythe/tools/http_server \
  --public_resources /opt/kythe/web/ui \
  --listen localhost:8080 \
  --serving_table .kythe_serving