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As your body of ECL code grows it gets harder to track the dependencies between the different ECL definitions (or source files). Providing more information about the dependencies between those definitions makes it easier to understand the structure of the ECL code, and also gives you a better understanding of what queries would be affected by changing a particular definition. (i.e., If I change this, what am I going to break?)

HPCC Systems includes an option to allow that information to be available for each query that is run. When the option is enabled a new entry will appear on the helpers tab for the work unit - a link to an xml file containing all the dependencies. (Note the dependencies are gathered at parse time – so they will include any definition that is processed in order to parse the ECL – even if code from that definition is not actually included in the generated query.)

To generate the new information set the debug option 'exportDependencies' in the debug options for the workunit. To enable this feature on all workunits (and gain dependencies for all your workunits) you can add it to the eclserver default options. (A #option is not sufficient because it needs to be processed before parsing commences).

This information gives us the option to possibly add dependency graphs, and searches for all workunits that use a particular attribute to future versions of EclWatch. Of course the same information could also be used now by a user tool, or other 3rd party extension…