I am using IDAPython for my analysis. In IDA v6.95, the header file plugins/hexrays_sdk/include/hexrays.hpp defines the following:

typedef ctree_items_t parents_t;

parents_t parents;      ///< Vector of parents of the current item

/// Get parent of the current item as an expression
cexpr_t *parent_expr(void) { return (cexpr_t *)parents.back(); }

// Get parent of the current item as a statement
cinsn_t *parent_insn(void) { return (cinsn_t *)parents.back(); }

For my analysis, I am trying to walk up along the parents from a given cexpr_t node. parent_expr() and parent_insn() API gives me back the immediate parent, not the entire chain from the child to root of the AST.

As an alternative, I tried to traverse the parents vector once I visit the given cexpr_t node.

for parent in reversed(self.parents):
  print "|==> %s [%d]" % (hex(parent.ea), parent.op)

The problem is, the parent item thus returned is of type citem_t. If I cast those to cexpr_t as follows:

parent.__class__ = cexpr_t
print parent.x

and access any of its fields (e.g. x) in the example above, it throws error.

How can I traverse the AST nodes bottom-up yet retaining the correct types (cexpr_t or cinsn_t) of respective nodes? Is it possible to look into the code of parent_expr() or parent_insn() to see if how do those return correctly typed nodes from an ctree_items_t type vector (i.e. parents)? The code inside python/ida_hexrays.py seems to be mere SWIG stub, the actual implementation seems to lie somewhere else.

def parent_expr(self, *args):
    parent_expr(self) -> cexpr_t
    return _ida_hexrays.ctree_visitor_t_parent_expr(self, *args)

def parent_insn(self, *args):
    parent_insn(self) -> cinsn_t
    return _ida_hexrays.ctree_visitor_t_parent_insn(self, *args)

The actual code seems to be distributed as a shared library located at python/lib/python2.7/lib-dynload/[ida32|ida64]/_ida_hexrays.so

1 Answer 1


I can solve part of your problem. Use the 'to_specific_type' attribute to convert a citem to a cexpr:

if citem.is_expr():
    cexpr = citem.to_specific_type

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.