tools for graph visualization - summary (Srinivas Raghvendra)
6 Sep 1996 22:28:47 -0400

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tools for graph visualization - summary (1996-09-06)
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From: (Srinivas Raghvendra)
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 6 Sep 1996 22:28:47 -0400
Organization: Synopsys, Inc.
Keywords: visual, summary

A couple weeks ago I asked for help in choosing a tools for graph
visualization. I got a number of responses. My sincere thanks to each
of you that responded. Here is the summary (should this go into the
FAQ ?)


> Are there public domain tools available for viewing control/data flow graphs
> ? I have heard of a tool called DaVinci, but it does not allow me to label
> edges in the graph.
> Expected flow using this tool: I would dump my control graph to a data file
> using the format recommended by the tool, and I would then bring up the tool
> to examine the graph.

From: Andy Shaw <>

I've built a dataflow graph viewer from tkdot, developed at AT&T.
"dot" is the original version of the tool which lays out graphs in 2D,
and it does a great job, once you get all the settings right. "tkdot"
is "dot" with a Tk interface added in. I doubt what I have will be of
much direct use, but it was fairly easy to hack "tkdot" to do what I
wanted it to do.

From: Mahesh Ramachandran <>

I know of a program called
"vcg" that I found ideal for printing out control-flow graphs. I have
also used daVinci. I found vcg to be much better in many ways. I think it
vcg allows edge labels as well. I found vcg on the net using Alta Vista.

From: "Jan Guffens @ EDC x431" <>

We use xvcg for data flow graphs. You can have a look at
in exactly the same flow as you described.

From: (Hedley Rainnie)

VCG is a wonderful tool. Check it out:

From: Niels Hallenberg <>

On reply to your question in newsgroup comp.compilers on tools for
viewing graphs have a look at the VCG tool found at

From: (Anton Ertl)

xvcg seems to fit your bill exactly. Ask archie about "vcg-" (version
1.30 has been available for some time).

From: (Francis SOURBIER)

Have a look at our web pages, mainly for information about the tool "GRAPHGEN"
home page:

(the page for GRAPHGEN is

It is a tool for the genration of control flow and data flow graph for a
full VHDL description. But it is not a viewer ...

From: Leif Nixon <>

The VCG package (Visualization of Compiler Graphs) does
an excellent job of displaying trees and general graphs.

From: ("Markus Pilz")

There is a very good tool for free called dotty and you can find it
together with further information under


From: (Gjalt G. de Jong)

Have alook at the toolbox, including a (c)dfg drawing tool of the NEAT
system of Eindhoven University of Technology. Follow the links at

From: (Jeroen T. Vermeulen)

Try xvcg by I. Lemke & Georg Sander. It's free and comes with source.
The tool speaks the GRL graph language so it can be used with
eg. EDGE; graphs may be shown on screen or dumped to file as
PostScript with a choice of layout algorithms.

This is exactly the kind of thing that vcg was designed for
(Visualisation of Compiler Graphs). You'll find the package on, in /pub/graphics/vcg. Some patches may be required
to fix minor annoyances under certain window managers.

BTW if you need a flexible library for manipulating graphs in C++ and
loading/saving them in this language, try my Anonymous Graph Library.
A reference can be found on my home page,

From: Jens Krinke <>
  - DOT from AT&T (IMHO produces the nicest pictures)

  - VCG (Visualizing Compiler Graphs, another great tool IMHO)

  - daVinci (just came out in version 2.0)

  - GraphEd

  - DG (simple)

  - graphplace (simple)

From: Bruce Ediger <>

There is a book out called "Practical Reusable UNIX Software", edited
by Balachander Krishnamurthy, ISBN 0-471-05807-6, John Wiley & Sons,

Among a lot of other things, it describes a set of graph drawing
tools. I realize I'm not telling you about "public domain" tools, but
you may wish to read the sections of the book describing the tools.
My experience with "dotty" (one of the graph drawing tools) has been
pretty good. The input language is easy to generate automatically,
and there are both interactive and batch tools for generating X11 and
postscript, respectively. I think that the tools described would be
sort of a minimum baseline for a usable set of tools.
If you scout around starting there, I think you'll find the way
to down load the "Graph Visualization" software. If you look at
the book, you'll see it's filled with graphs, directed and undirected.
To my eye, one that's used the graphviz programs, they did them all
with dotty, dot, neato and lefty.
Srinivas Raghvendra (415)694-1656
Synopsys, Inc. 700 East Middlefield Road
Mountain View, CA 94043

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