Package ssa defines a representation of the elements of Go programs (packages, types, functions, variables and constants) using a static single-assignment (SSA) form intermediate representation (IR) for the bodies of functions.


For an introduction to SSA form, see This page provides a broader reading list:

The level of abstraction of the SSA form is intentionally close to the source language to facilitate construction of source analysis tools. It is not intended for machine code generation.

All looping, branching and switching constructs are replaced with unstructured control flow. Higher-level control flow constructs such as multi-way branch can be reconstructed as needed; see ssautil.Switches() for an example.

To construct an SSA-form program, call ssautil.CreateProgram on a loader.Program, a set of type-checked packages created from parsed Go source files. The resulting ssa.Program contains all the packages and their members, but SSA code is not created for function bodies until a subsequent call to (*Package).Build.

The builder initially builds a naive SSA form in which all local variables are addresses of stack locations with explicit loads and stores. Registerisation of eligible locals and φ-node insertion using dominance and dataflow are then performed as a second pass called "lifting" to improve the accuracy and performance of subsequent analyses; this pass can be skipped by setting the NaiveForm builder flag.

The primary interfaces of this package are:

- Member: a named member of a Go package.
- Value: an expression that yields a value.
- Instruction: a statement that consumes values and performs computation.
- Node: a Value or Instruction (emphasizing its membership in the SSA value graph)

A computation that yields a result implements both the Value and Instruction interfaces. The following table shows for each concrete type which of these interfaces it implements.

                   Value?          Instruction?    Member?
*Alloc             ✔               ✔
*BinOp             ✔               ✔
*Builtin           ✔
*Call              ✔               ✔
*ChangeInterface   ✔               ✔
*ChangeType        ✔               ✔
*Const             ✔
*Convert           ✔               ✔
*DebugRef                          ✔
*Defer                             ✔
*Extract           ✔               ✔
*Field             ✔               ✔
*FieldAddr         ✔               ✔
*FreeVar           ✔
*Function          ✔                               ✔ (func)
*Global            ✔                               ✔ (var)
*Go                                ✔
*If                                ✔
*Index             ✔               ✔
*IndexAddr         ✔               ✔
*Jump                              ✔
*Lookup            ✔               ✔
*MakeChan          ✔               ✔
*MakeClosure       ✔               ✔
*MakeInterface     ✔               ✔
*MakeMap           ✔               ✔
*MakeSlice         ✔               ✔
*MapUpdate                         ✔
*NamedConst                                        ✔ (const)
*Next              ✔               ✔
*Panic                             ✔
*Parameter         ✔
*Phi               ✔               ✔
*Range             ✔               ✔
*Return                            ✔
*RunDefers                         ✔
*Select            ✔               ✔
*Send                              ✔
*Slice             ✔               ✔
*Store                             ✔
*Type                                              ✔ (type)
*TypeAssert        ✔               ✔
*UnOp              ✔               ✔

Other key types in this package include: Program, Package, Function and BasicBlock.

The program representation constructed by this package is fully resolved internally, i.e. it does not rely on the names of Values, Packages, Functions, Types or BasicBlocks for the correct interpretation of the program. Only the identities of objects and the topology of the SSA and type graphs are semantically significant. (There is one exception: Ids, used to identify field and method names, contain strings.) Avoidance of name-based operations simplifies the implementation of subsequent passes and can make them very efficient. Many objects are nonetheless named to aid in debugging, but it is not essential that the names be either accurate or unambiguous. The public API exposes a number of name-based maps for client convenience.

The ssa/ssautil package provides various utilities that depend only on the public API of this package.

TODO(adonovan): Consider the exceptional control-flow implications of defer and recover().

TODO(adonovan): write a how-to document for all the various cases of trying to determine corresponding elements across the four domains of source locations, ast.Nodes, types.Objects, ssa.Values/Instructions.