TRACE Getting started

TRACE Getting started

The TRACE tool is available as a plugin for the Eclipse IDE through the update site repository. Once the TRACE plugins are installed, the Eclipse Help menu contains a section on TRACE. It describes the input format of TRACE and contains an explanation of the visualization and analysis features. Furthermore, it contains a zip file with example traces. Below are instructions to install TRACE from scratch.

NOTE: If you already have installed an earlier version of TRACE (0.6.x) and want to upgrade, then please first uninstall that earlier version.

Installation of TRACE

The first step is to install the Eclipse IDE:

The second step is to install the TRACE feature:

  • Select “Help -> Install New Software”

  • Click “Add” and put a name (“TRACE update site”) and location:

  • Click “OK” and check that the window now shows the TRACE category.

  • Expand the TRACE category, and select the TRACE feature with version and click “Next”. Do no select other features.

Complete the remaining steps of the installation process (including acceptance of the license agreement and a restart of the Eclipse IDE).

Installation of the examples
  • Open the Help menu via “Help -> Help Contents”.

  • Navigate to the TRACE user manual, and select the “Running example” section.

  • At the bottom of the page is a link to download a zip file with examples.

  • Download and unzip this file in the “TRACE” directory (ensure that a directory is created with a number of “.etf” files).

  • In Eclipse IDE: In the “Package Explorer” view on the left select “Create a project”.

  • Select “General -> Project” and click “Next”.

  • Choose a project name, e.g., “TRACE examples”, uncheck the “use default location” option, and use the browse button to select the directory with the unzipped example content. Finally, click “Finish”.

  • Verify that the “Package Explorer” view now shows the contents of the zip file. Double-click “reference.etf” and check whether a Gantt-chart view is shown. If this is the case, then installation has been successful.

  • New, simplified file format.

  • Support for events and continuous signals.

  • Extended support for runtime verification.

  • Built-in latency, throughput and work-in-progress analysis.


Conversion from the old to the new file format can be done using the TRACE core library nl.esi.trace.core_2.0.0.*.jar. This jar file can be found in the “TRACE/eclipse/plugins” directory. The following command (replace the * with the proper version) reads an old trace and produces the equivalent in the new format.

java -classpath nl.esi.trace.core_2.0.0.*.jar <config file> <trace file>

The conversion loses two types of information that were present in the old TRACE format but are not present in the new format:

  • The Quantity entries

  • The Limitations of a claim

Note that the new TRACE format specifies a java.util.concurrent.TimeUnit for all its time stamps. The TimeScaleUnit field of the old configuration file is used to specify this time unit. I.e., the value of the TimeScaleUnit must be one of the java.util.concurrent.TimeUnit values, except for DAYS which is not supported.