Universal Ctags Hacking GuideΒΆ

Version:Draft
Authors:Universal Ctags developers
Web Page:https://ctags.io/

Universal Ctags (abbreviated as u-ctags) is a maintained implementation of ctags. ctags generates an index (or tag) file of language objects found in source files for programming languages. This index makes it easy for text editors and other tools to locate the indexed items.

Exuberant Ctags (e-ctags) maintained by Darren Hiebert, the ancestor of Universal Ctags, improved traditional ctags with multi-language support, the ability for the user to define new languages searched by regular expressions (called optlib in Universal Ctags), and the ability to generate emacs-style TAGS files. But the activity of the project unfortunately stalled.

Universal Ctags has the objective of continuing the development of Exuberant Ctags. Reza Jelveh <reza.jelveh@gmail.com> initially created a personal fork of Exuberant Ctags on GitHub. As interest and participation grew, it was decided to move development to a dedicated project as Universal Ctags. The goal of this project is to maintain a common/unified working space where people interested in making ctags better can work together.

Some of major features of Universal Ctags are;

  • more numbers of improved language support
    • new extended C/C++ language parser, etc.
  • fully extended optlib (a feature to define a new language parser from a command line)
  • interactive mode (experimental)

The primary documents of Universal Ctags are man pages. Users should first consult the ctags(1), and other man pages if necessary.

This guide, which also includes the man pages, is primarily for developers and provides additional information to the man pages, including experimental features.

This is a draft document. Proofreading and pull-requests are welcome!