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I have created an hex viewer in python, as a timed-challenge by friend. My implementation was in the form of a class, with a separate main file running with argparse to allow choosing the file (runs with a demo file by default).

I was pretty satisfied with the final result. However, I have used many list comprehensions and mapping to cut up times. How can I improve the code or considerate styling standards? Any other advice regarding the code or the functionality?


The code is divided into 3 files, first one is general utils for the task, second is the main class and the third is the runner:

gen.py

import string

def hexa (num, fill = 2):
    return hex(num)[2:].lower().zfill(fill)

def bina (num, fill = 8):
    return bin(num)[2:].zfill(fill)

def chunks (arr, size = 1):
    return [arr[i: i+size] for i in range(0, len(arr), size)]

def lmap (func, iterable):
    return list(map(func, iterable))


hex_digits_chunks = chunks(lmap(hexa, range(16)), 4)
printable_ascii = lmap(ord, string.digits + string.ascii_letters + string.punctuation)

hexview.py

from gen import *


class HexViewer ():

    def __init__ (self, file):

        self.data = open(file, 'rb').read()
        self.hex_data = lmap(hexa, self.data)
        self.hex_chunks = chunks(chunks(self.hex_data, 4), 4)

        self.ascii_data = [(chr(int(byte, 16)) if int(byte, 16) in printable_ascii else '.') for byte in self.hex_data]
        self.ascii_chunks = chunks(self.ascii_data, 16)

        self.rows = len(self.hex_chunks)
        self.addresses = lmap(lambda o: hexa(o * 16, 8), range(0, self.rows))


    def __str__ (self):

        table_format = '    {:<15}{:<60}{:<20}\n'
        str_rep = ''

        str_rep += table_format.format(
            'address'.upper(),
            '   '.join(' '.join(x) for x in hex_digits_chunks),
            'ascii'.upper())
        str_rep += '\n'

        for i in range(self.rows):
            str_rep += table_format.format(
                self.addresses[i], 
                '   '.join(' '.join(x) for x in self.hex_chunks[i]),
                ''.join(self.ascii_chunks[i]))

        return str_rep

main.py

import traceback
import argparse

from gen import *
from hexview import *

try:

    parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(description='Hexadeciaml viewer.')
    parser.add_argument('file', type=str, nargs='?', default='demo.exe', help='the file to process')
    args = parser.parse_args()

    print('\n\n')
    print(HexViewer(args.file))

except SystemExit:
    pass

except:
    traceback.print_exc()

Demo:

C:\...\Hexed> main.py

ADDRESS        00 01 02 03   04 05 06 07   08 09 0a 0b   0c 0d 0e 0f       ASCII

00000000       4d 5a 90 00   03 00 00 00   04 00 00 00   ff ff 00 00       MZ..............
00000010       b8 00 00 00   00 00 00 00   40 00 00 00   00 00 00 00       ........@.......
00000020       00 00 00 00   00 00 00 00   00 00 00 00   00 00 00 00       ................
00000030       00 00 00 00   00 00 00 00   00 00 00 00   80 00 00 00       ................
00000040       0e 1f ba 0e   00 b4 09 cd   21 b8 01 4c   cd 21 54 68       ........!..L.!Th
00000050       69 73 20 70   72 6f 67 72   61 6d 20 63   61 6e 6e 6f       is.program.canno
00000060       74 20 62 65   20 72 75 6e   20 69 6e 20   44 4f 53 20       t.be.run.in.DOS.
00000070       6d 6f 64 65   2e 0d 0d 0a   24 00 00 00   00 00 00 00       mode....$.......
00000080       50 45 00 00   4c 01 02 00   00 00 00 00   00 00 00 00       PE..L...........
... and you got the idea ...
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Please do not add, remove, or edit code in a question after you've received an answer. The site policy is explained in What to do when someone answers. \$\endgroup\$ – Mast Jan 31 '17 at 7:14
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General comments

This code is way too complicated for what it is achieving. It's core is located withing Hexviewer.__str__ with a little bit of preprocessing around. There is no need for a class here, a simple function with tiny helpers should suffice.

Also, even though separating concerns between files is a good thing for complex projects, I find it adds complexity for such small task. You also fall into the bad habit of using from <xxx> import * to try and avoid this complexity.

Lastly, I have a hard time understanding the logic behing your exceptions handling. Nothing in your code explicitly generate a SystemExit so you can drop this except clause. Especially if you plan on doing nothing and exit anyway… And the bare except to just print the exception… is just useless as it is the default behaviour anyway.

Utilities

gen.py is a terrible name for a file holding general utilities functions; as gen mostly associates to generate/generation. utils.py is more common in the Python's world.

In this file, bina is never used, lmap should be replaced by list-comprehensions at the calling point, and chunks very look like the itertools recipe grouper.

Also, printable_ascii being a list is a poor choice knowing that it will be used for existence checking. You should at least use a set instead, but I would favor using two constants BEGIN_PRINTABLE = 33 and END_PRINTABLE = 126 as all these characters are contiguous in the ASCII table.

File processing

First off, you open the file but never close it: time to get yourself familiar with the with statement.

Second, instead of pre-processing the file at once and printing it later, you could read it by blocks of 16 bytes and process them before going to the next block. It will save a lot of memory and allow you to view very large files.

Third, instead of building the whole string at once and returning it, you can yield each block of processed 16 bytes and let the caller be responsible of iterating over them to perform the desired operation (or feed them to '\n'.join for what it's worth).

Fourth, you don't necessarily need to use hex or chr to convert integers to characters before formatting them: format specifiers x and c for integers can perform the same operations. And you can also mix them with 0>? where ? is an integer to perform the role of zfill. Example:

>>> '{:0>4x}'.format(23)
'0017'
>>> '{:c}'.format(102)
'f'

Proposed improvements

import itertools
import argparse


BEGIN_PRINTABLES = 33
END_PRINTABLES = 126


def hex_group_formatter(iterable):
    chunks = [iter(iterable)] * 4
    return '   '.join(
        ' '.join(format(x, '0>2x') for x in chunk)
        for chunk in itertools.zip_longest(*chunks, fillvalue=0))

def ascii_group_formatter(iterable):
    return ''.join(
        chr(x) if BEGIN_PRINTABLES <= x <= END_PRINTABLES else '.'
        for x in iterable)

def hex_viewer(filename, chunk_size=16):
    header = hex_group_formatter(range(chunk_size))
    yield 'ADDRESS        {:<53}       ASCII'.format(header)
    yield ''
    template = '{:0>8x}       {:<53}       {}'

    with open(filename, 'rb') as stream:
        for chunk_count in itertools.count(1):
            chunk = stream.read(chunk_size)
            if not chunk:
                return
            yield template.format(
                chunk_count * chunk_size,
                hex_group_formatter(chunk),
                ascii_group_formatter(chunk))


if __name__ == '__main__':
    parser = argparse.ArgumentParser(description='Hexadeciaml viewer.')
    parser.add_argument('file', nargs='?', default='demo.exe', help='the file to process')
    args = parser.parse_args()

    print('\n\n')
    for line in hex_viewer(args.file):
        print(line)

You may also want to replace the magic number 53 with something that depend of chunk_size. Given the implementation of hex_group_formatter, it should be math.ceil(chunk_size/4) * 14 - 3.

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