Code generation

You only need to read this section if you want to customize code generation, write a new target language generator, or if you want to know more about how it works.

Code generation as code

Code generated from .smithy files is driven by a file codegen.toml, usually in the project root folder. That file specifies the target languages to generate, where to place the generated files, and includes any flags for customization of the output.

A new-project generator (invoked with wash new) copies and transforms files from a template folder, and is configured with project-generate.toml in the template folder. Template files are passed through a handlebars template engine. Variables and data used in the templates are pulled from that file and optional additional .toml data files.

Support libraries

We have developed libraries to support two popular styles of code generation. If you are building a code generator for a new target language, you can choose either or both, depending on which model you think fits best for each type of output file.

  • Handlebars-templates
    • A handlebars template generator in weld_codegen::renderer contains several plugins (called “handlebars helpers”), including a few for converting identifiers to various idiomatic case styles. (such as converting from ItemList to itemList or item_list).
  • Visitor pattern
    • A Generator class in weld_codegen::gen parses the smithy model and invokes callbacks to generate interface definitions, structures, methods, and data types. Each callback function appends its output to a buffer, which is written to the output file after the entire schema has been processed. A base trait implements common, language-independent, functions, and a rust generator extends the base trait to implement specialize generators for Rust output.

The Rust code generator uses both techniques: the Visitor pattern is used for generating .rs files, and the handlebars templates are used for generating Cargo.toml files and Makefiles.

There is a documentation generator that turns .smithy files into html. It uses the sample code generation libraries, and is invoked by passing html as the output language instead of rust.

Adding or replacing templates

Additional templates or replacement templates be specified in codegen.toml. Inside the language section of your project’s codegen.toml, add a template folder with the key templates. For example,

# add-to or override default templates
templates = "docgen/templates"
# add-to or override default templates
templates = "codegen/templates/rust"

Specifying the name of the starting template

HTML documentation generation (guided by the [html] language section of the project codegen.toml) uses a template called namespace for the primary html page. Ypu can override the name of the template used by adding doc_template = "mypage" to the [html.parameters] section.