Scalpel is a C++ library. Its name stands for source code analysis, libre and portable library.
The purpose of this library is to produce a data structure which corresponds to the meaning (or semantics) of a given C++ source code. It reveals notions such as namespaces, classes, functions, variables, types, etc.. This kind of data structures is nicely called semantic graph.
Some source code analyzers, like those used by syntax coloring and autocomplete modules which need to be fast, perform a superficial analysis. Unlike them, Scalpel aims to accomplish a strict and exhaustive analysis so that it could even be used as a compiler front-end. Actually, Scalpel is a compiler front-end, since it goes through the phases of preprocessing, syntax analysis and semantic analysis, just like every C++ compiler does. Maybe one day there will be a Scalpel-powered C++ compiler!
Besides, Scalpel's analysis depth will be adjustable in order to fit the needs of most programs. For example, it could be possible to disable the function body analysis for those who need to retrieve namespace and class members only.
The labor of C++ source code analysis is extremely complex. This is why having a library wholly devoted to it is a good thing.
Many programs could take advantage of such a library. Among them we can find modules for code editors, reverse-engineering tools, code audit software and many other CASE (Computer-Aided Software Engineering) tools that remain to be invented…