Tag Archives: ssa

How to dump the GOSSAFUNC graph for a method

The Go compiler’s SSA backend contains a facility to produce HTML debugging output of the compilation phases. This post covers how to print the SSA output for function and methods.

Let’s start with a sample program which contains a function, a value method, and a pointer method:

package main

import (

type Numbers struct {
    vals []int

func (n *Numbers) Add(v int) {
    n.vals = append(n.vals, v)

func (n Numbers) Average() float64 {
    sum := 0.0
    for _, num := range n.vals {
        sum += float64(num)
    return sum / float64(len(n.vals))

func main() {
    var numbers Numbers

Control of the SSA debugging output is via the GOSSAFUNC environment variable. This variable takes the name of the function to dump. This is not the functions fully qualified name. For func main above the name of the function is main not main.main.

% env GOSSAFUNC=main go build
dumped SSA to ../../go/src/runtime/ssa.html
dumped SSA to ./ssa.html

In this example GOSSAFUNC=main matched both main.main and a function called runtime.main.1 This is a little unfortunate, but in practice probably not a big deal as, if you’re performance tuning your code, it won’t be in a giant spaghetti blob in func main.

What is more likely is your code will be in a method, so you’ve probably landed on this post looking for the correct incantation to dump the SSA output for a method.

To print the SSA debug for the pointer method func (n *Numbers) Add, the equivalent function name is(*Numbers).Add:2

% env "GOSSAFUNC=(*Numbers).Add" go build
dumped SSA to ./ssa.html

To print the SSA debug for a value method func (n Numbers) Average, the equivalent function name is (*Numbers).Average even though this is a value method:

% env "GOSSAFUNC=(*Numbers).Average" go build
dumped SSA to ./ssa.html