created_at2024-05-05 04:30:29.558031
updated_at2024-05-05 04:30:29.558031
descriptionGenerate Wireshark dissectors from Packet Descriptions written in PDL
Maurice Lam (mauricelam)




PDL dissector

Generate Wireshark dissectors from Packet Descriptions written in PDL.

PDL is a domain specific language for writing the definition of binary protocol packets. By using this tool, you can generate the lua code for Wireshark dissectors. The output of this tool is lua function definitions that can be inserted into a Wireshark dissector table.


To use this tool, first write a PDL file. See the PDL project and its language reference for information on how to write your PDL.

For example, if you have this PDL file:


struct PcapHeader {
  _fixed_ = 0xa1b2c3d4: 32, /* magic number */
  version_major: 16,
  version_minor: 16,
  thiszone: 32,  /* GMT to local correction */
  sigfigs: 32,  /* accuracy of timestamps */
  snaplen: 32,  /* max length of captured packets, in octets */
  network: 32,  /* data link type */

struct PcapRecord {
  ts_sec: 32,  /* timestamp seconds */
  ts_usec: 32,  /* timestamp microseconds */
  _size_(_payload_): 32, /* number of octets of packet saved in file */
  orig_len: 32,  /* actual length of packet */
  _payload_,  /* packet octets */

packet PcapFile {
  header: PcapHeader,
  records: PcapRecord[],

you can run this tool:

# pdl_dissector <PDL FILE> <PACKET NAME>...
pdl_dissector examples/pcap/pcap.pdl PcapFile > examples/pcap/pcap_dissector.lua

This will generate a lua dissector file, which has the protocol PcapFile_protocol inside. The protocol can be registered using something like:

-- Always dissect contents at port 8000 as PCAP
DissectorTable.get("tcp.port"):add(8000, PcapFile_protocol)

-- Alternatively, you can add it as one of the "decode as" dissectors:

This can be done by manually adding to the generated file, appending to the file using a bash script, or using lua's require.

For example:

pdl_dissector examples/pcap/pcap.pdl PcapFile > examples/pcap/pcap_dissector.lua && \
    echo 'DissectorTable.get("tcp.port"):add(8000, PcapFile_protocol)' >> examples/pcap/pcap_dissector.lua

For basic usages, this is all you need. Simply place it in the Wireshark plugin directory for your platform and start Wireshark to start using.

On Windows:

The personal plugin folder is %APPDATA%\Wireshark\plugins. The global plugin folder is WIRESHARK\plugins.

On Unix-like systems:

The personal plugin folder is ~/.local/lib/wireshark/plugins.

For more advanced usages, consult the Wireshark documentation.


To see some examples of the generated lua files, see the examples/ directory. You can also refer to tests/integration_test.rs, which runs the generated dissector and asserts it against the dissected output.

Commit count: 52

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