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Theme fund: NGI0 Entrust
Start: 2023-06
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Software engineering

Improving and extending Kaitai Struct

Rust parsing for binary analysis tool Kaitai Struct

Kaitai Struct (KS) is a tool for working with binary formats. It introduces a declarative domain-specific language for describing the structure of arbitrary binary formats. Based on any specification, KS can automatically generate a ready-to-use parsing module in one of 11 programming languages (C++/STL, C#, Go, Java, JavaScript, Lua, Nim, Perl, PHP, Python, Ruby). Serialization is supported in Java and Python.

This project aims to add Rust as a target language for parsing and to port the JavaScript runtime library to TypeScript, which will allow type checking and better IDE autocompletion in users' projects. Web IDE has a severe limitation that parsing errors prevent any results from being displayed. This is planned to be fixed, along with several other nuisances that limit user-friendliness. Compiler will be improved too. Support for multi-byte terminators (needed for null-terminated UTF-16 strings) will be added in all target languages, GraphViz generation failures will be resolved by updating to support newer KS features. The `valid` key will be extended by the capability to validate whether a value is part of an enum. The support for imports and unused types will be enhanced.

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This project was funded through the NGI0 Entrust Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 101069594.