ASN.1 Development Tools

The ASN.1 Development Tools(ASNDT) is a collection of plugins developed for the Eclipse platform that together make an IDE for ASN.1 protocol specification designers. Our goal is to simplify and automate the mundane tasks of application protocol designers so that they can focus on the information that needs to be exchanged.

The ASNDT contains many advanced editing and project oriented features which include code folding, outline views, hyperlinks, text hovers, rename refactoring and many others. This proves to be very usefull in the design of ASN.1 protocol specification, especially in prototype phrase.

ASN.1 Development Tools has greate help in assistant of the development of communications in four aspects:

  • ASN.1 Syntax Editer
  • ASN.1 Syntax Checker
  • ASN.1 Semantic Checker
  • ASN.1 Compiler

ASN.1 Syntax Editor

The ASN.1 Syntax Editor is an ASN.1 specific source editor aware of ASN.1 model, with almost the same context menu and hot keys as Java Editor.

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Text Folding
  • Text Decoration
  • Text/Annotation Hover
  • Text Formatting(Ctrl+Shift+F)
  • Hyperlink(Ctrl+Click)
  • Outline page
  • Quick Outline(Ctrl+O)
  • Double Click
  • Bracket matching
  • Problem markers for errors

ASN.1 Syntax Editor in Eclipse

ASN.1 Outline View

The ASN.1 Outline View is linked with the ASN.1 Syntax Editor to reflect the current content of the ASN.1 Syntax Editor in a tree based view. The ASN.1 Outline View show the struct of an ASN.1 specificition which allows an easy way to find the objects which are defined in the specification and also to navigate by clicking on the item.

ASN.1 Outline View

ASN.1 Syntax Checker

The ASNDT contains an ASN.1 Syntax Checker working in background to check any syntax error found in you ASN.1 file. The ASN.1 Syntax Checker can check common syntax errors due to typo or misspell. This is helpful as it can point out which is wrong as soon as you type in the ASN.1 definition. The image below shows a screenshot of the error highlighting result by missing closing curly bracket after SEQUENCE definition:

syntax error missing closing curly bracket

ASN.1 Semantic Checker

The ASN.1 Semantic Checker is working the same way as The ASN.1 Syntax Checker, but it is activated only after the ASN.1 file pass the syntax check. This kind of checker check the semantic of the ASN.1 definition. For example, if refer to some undefine type, a typical semantic error is showed below:

semantic error unresolved type

ASN.1 Compiler

An ASN.1 compiler takes ASN.1 specifications as input, and generates programming language data structures plus functions for encoding/decoding. A set of run-time libraries provides ASN.1 encoding and decoding functions and auxiliary functions to operate on application messages. By default, the ADT aren't shipped with any ASN.1 Compiler, but it define a asnCompiler extension point which can be contributed by other plugins to make up a programming languange specific ASN.1 Compiler to automatically generate data structure from ASN.1 files.

Three kinds of ASN.1 Compiler are commercial available in ASN Lab:

Known Limitations

  • "User-defined" constraints are not supported
  • Deprecated open types ANY, ANY DEFINED BY, EXTERNAL, EMBEDDED PDV are not supported
  • Deprecated macros are not supported


The ASNDT is licensed under the Eclipse Public Licence (EPL) . A copy of the EPL is included in the distribution.


Continue to Getting started with the ASN.1 Development Tools.