11.9. Custom file format reading/writing

The classes/functions defined in this section allow you to create your own custom Lua-based "capture" file reader, or writer, or both.

Since: 1.11.3

11.9.1. CaptureInfo

A CaptureInfo object, passed into Lua as an argument by FileHandler callback function read_open(), read(), seek_read(), seq_read_close(), and read_close(). This object represents capture file data and meta-data (data about the capture file) being read into Wireshark/Tshark.

This object’s fields can be written-to by Lua during the read-based function callbacks. In other words, when the Lua plugin’s FileHandler.read_open() function is invoked, a CaptureInfo object will be passed in as one of the arguments, and its fields should be written to by your Lua code to tell Wireshark about the capture.

Since: 1.11.3

11.9.1.1. captureinfo:__tostring()

Generates a string of debug info for the CaptureInfo

Returns

String of debug information.

11.9.1.2. captureinfo.encap

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The packet encapsulation type for the whole file.

See wtap_encaps in init.lua for available types. Set to wtap_encaps.PER_PACKET if packets can have different types, then later set FrameInfo.encap for each packet during read()/seek_read().

11.9.1.3. captureinfo.time_precision

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The precision of the packet timestamps in the file.

See wtap_file_tsprec in init.lua for available precisions.

11.9.1.4. captureinfo.snapshot_length

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The maximum packet length that could be recorded.

Setting it to 0 means unknown.

11.9.1.5. captureinfo.comment

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

A string comment for the whole capture file, or nil if there is no comment.

11.9.1.6. captureinfo.hardware

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

A string containing the description of the hardware used to create the capture, or nil if there is no hardware string.

11.9.1.7. captureinfo.os

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

A string containing the name of the operating system used to create the capture, or nil if there is no os string.

11.9.1.8. captureinfo.user_app

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

A string containing the name of the application used to create the capture, or nil if there is no user_app string.

11.9.1.9. captureinfo.hosts

Mode: Assign only.

Sets resolved ip-to-hostname information.

The value set must be a Lua table of two key-ed names: ipv4_addresses and ipv6_addresses. The value of each of these names are themselves array tables, of key-ed tables, such that the inner table has a key addr set to the raw 4-byte or 16-byte IP address Lua string and a name set to the resolved name.

For example, if the capture file identifies one resolved IPv4 address of 1.2.3.4 to foo.com, then you must set CaptureInfo.hosts to a table of:

 { ipv4_addresses = { { addr = "\01\02\03\04", name = "foo.com" } } }

Note that either the ipv4_addresses or the ipv6_addresses table, or both, may be empty or nil.

11.9.1.10. captureinfo.private_table

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

A private Lua value unique to this file.

The private_table is a field you set/get with your own Lua table. This is provided so that a Lua script can save per-file reading/writing state, because multiple files can be opened and read at the same time.

For example, if the user issued a reload-file command, or Lua called the reload() function, then the current capture file is still open while a new one is being opened, and thus Wireshark will invoke read_open() while the previous capture file has not caused read_close() to be called; and if the read_open() succeeds then read_close() will be called right after that for the previous file, rather than the one just opened. Thus the Lua script can use this private_table to store a table of values specific to each file, by setting this private_table in the read_open() function, which it can then later get back inside its read(), seek_read(), and read_close() functions.

11.9.2. CaptureInfoConst

A CaptureInfoConst object, passed into Lua as an argument to the FileHandler callback function write_open().

This object represents capture file data and meta-data (data about the capture file) for the current capture in Wireshark/Tshark.

This object’s fields are read-from when used by write_open function callback. In other words, when the Lua plugin’s FileHandler write_open function is invoked, a CaptureInfoConst object will be passed in as one of the arguments, and its fields should be read from by your Lua code to get data about the capture that needs to be written.

Since: 1.11.3

11.9.2.1. captureinfoconst:__tostring()

Generates a string of debug info for the CaptureInfoConst

Returns

String of debug information.

11.9.2.2. captureinfoconst.type

Mode: Retrieve only.

The file type.

11.9.2.3. captureinfoconst.snapshot_length

Mode: Retrieve only.

The maximum packet length that is actually recorded (vs. the original length of any given packet on-the-wire). A value of 0 means the snapshot length is unknown or there is no one such length for the whole file.

11.9.2.4. captureinfoconst.encap

Mode: Retrieve only.

The packet encapsulation type for the whole file.

See wtap_encaps in init.lua for available types. It is set to wtap_encaps.PER_PACKET if packets can have different types, in which case each Frame identifies its type, in FrameInfo.packet_encap.

11.9.2.5. captureinfoconst.comment

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

A comment for the whole capture file, if the wtap_presence_flags.COMMENTS was set in the presence flags; nil if there is no comment.

11.9.2.6. captureinfoconst.hardware

Mode: Retrieve only.

A string containing the description of the hardware used to create the capture, or nil if there is no hardware string.

11.9.2.7. captureinfoconst.os

Mode: Retrieve only.

A string containing the name of the operating system used to create the capture, or nil if there is no os string.

11.9.2.8. captureinfoconst.user_app

Mode: Retrieve only.

A string containing the name of the application used to create the capture, or nil if there is no user_app string.

11.9.2.9. captureinfoconst.hosts

Mode: Retrieve only.

A ip-to-hostname Lua table of two key-ed names: ipv4_addresses and ipv6_addresses. The value of each of these names are themselves array tables, of key-ed tables, such that the inner table has a key addr set to the raw 4-byte or 16-byte IP address Lua string and a name set to the resolved name.

For example, if the current capture has one resolved IPv4 address of 1.2.3.4 to foo.com, then getting CaptureInfoConst.hosts will get a table of:

 { ipv4_addresses = { { addr = "\01\02\03\04", name = "foo.com" } }, ipv6_addresses = { } }

Note that either the ipv4_addresses or the ipv6_addresses table, or both, may be empty, however they will not be nil.

11.9.2.10. captureinfoconst.private_table

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

A private Lua value unique to this file.

The private_table is a field you set/get with your own Lua table. This is provided so that a Lua script can save per-file reading/writing state, because multiple files can be opened and read at the same time.

For example, if two Lua scripts issue a Dumper:new_for_current() call and the current file happens to use your script’s writer, then the Wireshark will invoke write_open() while the previous capture file has not had write_close() called. Thus the Lua script can use this private_table to store a table of values specific to each file, by setting this private_table in the write_open() function, which it can then later get back inside its write(), and write_close() functions.

11.9.3. File

A File object, passed into Lua as an argument by FileHandler callback functions (e.g., read_open, read, write, etc.). This behaves similarly to the Lua io library’s file object, returned when calling io.open(), except in this case you cannot call file:close(), file:open(), nor file:setvbuf(), since Wireshark/tshark manages the opening and closing of files. You also cannot use the io library itself on this object, i.e. you cannot do io.read(file, 4). Instead, use this File with the object-oriented style calling its methods, i.e. myfile:read(4). (see later example)

The purpose of this object is to hide the internal complexity of how Wireshark handles files, and instead provide a Lua interface that is familiar, by mimicking the io library. The reason true/raw io files cannot be used is because Wireshark does many things under the hood, such as compress the file, or write to stdout, or various other things based on configuration/commands.

When a File object is passed in through reading-based callback functions, such as read_open(), read(), and read_close(), then the File object’s write() and flush() functions are not usable and will raise an error if used.

When a File object is passed in through writing-based callback functions, such as write_open(), write(), and write_close(), then the File object’s read() and lines() functions are not usable and will raise an error if used.

[Note]Note

a File object should never be stored/saved beyond the scope of the callback function it is passed in to.

For example:

    function myfilehandler.read_open(file, capture)
        local position = file:seek()

        -- read 24 bytes
        local line = file:read(24)

        -- do stuff

        -- it's not our file type, seek back (unnecessary but just to show it...)
        file:seek("set",position)

        -- return false because it's not our file type
        return false
    end

Since: 1.11.3

11.9.3.1. file:read()

Reads from the File, similar to Lua’s file:read(). See Lua 5.x ref manual for file:read().

11.9.3.2. file:seek()

Seeks in the File, similar to Lua’s file:seek(). See Lua 5.x ref manual for file:seek().

Returns

The current file cursor position as a number.

11.9.3.3. file:lines()

Lua iterator function for retrieving ASCII File lines, similar to Lua’s file:lines(). See Lua 5.x ref manual for file:lines().

11.9.3.4. file:write()

Writes to the File, similar to Lua’s file:write(). See Lua 5.x ref manual for file:write().

11.9.3.5. file:__tostring()

Generates a string of debug info for the File object

Returns

String of debug information.

11.9.3.6. file.compressed

Mode: Retrieve only.

Whether the File is compressed or not.

See wtap_encaps in init.lua for available types. Set to wtap_encaps.PER_PACKET if packets can have different types, then later set FrameInfo.encap for each packet during read()/seek_read().

11.9.4. FileHandler

A FileHandler object, created by a call to FileHandler.new(arg1, arg2, …). The FileHandler object lets you create a file-format reader, or writer, or both, by setting your own read_open/read or write_open/write functions.

Since: 1.11.3

11.9.4.1. FileHandler.new(name, shortname, description, type)

Creates a new FileHandler

Arguments
name
The name of the file type, for display purposes only. E.g., "Wireshark - pcapng"
shortname
The file type short name, used as a shortcut in various places. E.g., "pcapng". Note: the name cannot already be in use.
description
Descriptive text about this file format, for display purposes only
type
The type of FileHandler, "r"/"w"/"rw" for reader/writer/both, include "m" for magic, "s" for strong heuristic
Returns

The newly created FileHandler object

11.9.4.2. filehandler:__tostring()

Generates a string of debug info for the FileHandler

Returns

String of debug information.

11.9.4.3. filehandler.read_open

Mode: Assign only.

The Lua function to be called when Wireshark opens a file for reading.

When later called by Wireshark, the Lua function will be given:

  1. A File object
  2. A CaptureInfo object

The purpose of the Lua function set to this read_open field is to check if the file Wireshark is opening is of its type, for example by checking for magic numbers or trying to parse records in the file, etc. The more can be verified the better, because Wireshark tries all file readers until it finds one that accepts the file, so accepting an incorrect file prevents other file readers from reading their files.

The called Lua function should return true if the file is its type (it accepts it), false if not. The Lua function must also set the File offset position (using file:seek()) to where it wants it to be for its first read() call.

11.9.4.4. filehandler.read

Mode: Assign only.

The Lua function to be called when Wireshark wants to read a packet from the file.

When later called by Wireshark, the Lua function will be given:

  1. A File object
  2. A CaptureInfo object
  3. A FrameInfo object

The purpose of the Lua function set to this read field is to read the next packet from the file, and setting the parsed/read packet into the frame buffer using FrameInfo.data = foo or FrameInfo:read_data(file, frame.captured_length).

The called Lua function should return the file offset/position number where the packet begins, or false if it hit an error. The file offset will be saved by Wireshark and passed into the set seek_read() Lua function later.

11.9.4.5. filehandler.seek_read

Mode: Assign only.

The Lua function to be called when Wireshark wants to read a packet from the file at the given offset.

When later called by Wireshark, the Lua function will be given:

  1. A File object
  2. A CaptureInfo object
  3. A FrameInfo object
  4. The file offset number previously set by the read() function call

The called Lua function should return true if the read was successful, or false if it hit an error. Since 2.4.0, a number is also acceptable to signal success, this allows for reuse of FileHandler:read:

    local function fh_read(file, capture, frame) ... end
    myfilehandler.read = fh_read

    function myfilehandler.seek_read(file, capture, frame, offset)
        if not file:seek("set", offset) then
            -- Seeking failed, return failure
            return false
        end

        -- Now try to read one frame
        return fh_read(file, capture, frame)
    end

11.9.4.6. filehandler.read_close

Mode: Assign only.

The Lua function to be called when Wireshark wants to close the read file completely.

When later called by Wireshark, the Lua function will be given:

  1. A File object
  2. A CaptureInfo object

It is not necessary to set this field to a Lua function - FileHandler can be registered without doing so - it is available in case there is memory/state to clear in your script when the file is closed.

11.9.4.7. filehandler.seq_read_close

Mode: Assign only.

The Lua function to be called when Wireshark wants to close the sequentially-read file.

When later called by Wireshark, the Lua function will be given:

  1. A File object
  2. A CaptureInfo object

It is not necessary to set this field to a Lua function - FileHandler can be registered without doing so - it is available in case there is memory/state to clear in your script when the file is closed for the sequential reading portion. After this point, there will be no more calls to read(), only seek_read().

11.9.4.8. filehandler.can_write_encap

Mode: Assign only.

The Lua function to be called when Wireshark wants to write a file, by checking if this file writer can handle the wtap packet encapsulation(s).

When later called by Wireshark, the Lua function will be given a Lua number, which matches one of the encapsulations in the Lua wtap_encaps table. This might be the wtap_encap.PER_PACKET number, meaning the capture contains multiple encapsulation types, and the file reader should only return true if it can handle multiple encap types in one file. The function will then be called again, once for each encap type in the file, to make sure it can write each one.

If the Lua file writer can write the given type of encapsulation into a file, then it returns the boolean true, else false.

11.9.4.9. filehandler.write_open

Mode: Assign only.

The Lua function to be called when Wireshark opens a file for writing.

When later called by Wireshark, the Lua function will be given:

  1. A File object
  2. A CaptureInfoConst object

The purpose of the Lua function set to this write_open field is similar to the read_open callback function: to initialize things necessary for writing the capture to a file. For example, if the output file format has a file header, then the file header should be written within this write_open function.

The called Lua function should return true on success, or false if it hit an error.

Also make sure to set the FileHandler.write (and potentially FileHandler.write_finish) functions before returning true from this function.

11.9.4.10. filehandler.write

Mode: Assign only.

The Lua function to be called when Wireshark wants to write a packet to the file.

When later called by Wireshark, the Lua function will be given:

  1. A File object
  2. A CaptureInfoConst object
  3. A FrameInfoConst object of the current frame/packet to be written

The purpose of the Lua function set to this write field is to write the next packet to the file.

The called Lua function should return true on success, or false if it hit an error.

11.9.4.11. filehandler.write_finish

Mode: Assign only.

The Lua function to be called when Wireshark wants to close the written file.

When later called by Wireshark, the Lua function will be given:

  1. A File object
  2. A CaptureInfoConst object

It is not necessary to set this field to a Lua function - FileHandler can be registered without doing so - it is available in case there is memory/state to clear in your script when the file is closed.

11.9.4.12. filehandler.type

Mode: Retrieve only.

The internal file type. This is automatically set with a new number when the FileHandler is registered.

11.9.4.13. filehandler.extensions

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

One or more file extensions that this file type usually uses.

For readers using heuristics to determine file type, Wireshark will try the readers of the file’s extension first, before trying other readers. But ultimately Wireshark tries all file readers for any file extension, until it finds one that accepts the file.

11.9.4.14. filehandler.writing_must_seek

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

True if the ability to seek is required when writing this file format, else false.

This will be checked by Wireshark when writing out to compressed file formats, because seeking is not possible with compressed files. Usually a file writer only needs to be able to seek if it needs to go back in the file to change something, such as a block or file length value earlier in the file.

11.9.4.15. filehandler.writes_name_resolution

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

True if the file format supports name resolution records, else false.

11.9.4.16. filehandler.supported_comment_types

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

Set to the bit-wise OR’ed number representing the type of comments the file writer supports writing, based on the numbers in the wtap_comments table.

11.9.5. FrameInfo

A FrameInfo object, passed into Lua as an argument by FileHandler callback functions (e.g., read, seek_read, etc.).

This object represents frame data and meta-data (data about the frame/packet) for a given read/seek_read/write's frame.

This object’s fields are written-to/set when used by read function callbacks, and read-from/get when used by file write function callbacks. In other words, when the Lua plugin’s FileHandler read/seek_read/etc. functions are invoked, a FrameInfo object will be passed in as one of the arguments, and its fields should be written-to/set based on the frame information read from the file; whereas when the Lua plugin’s FileHandler.write() function is invoked, the FrameInfo object passed in should have its fields read-from/get, to write that frame information to the file.

Since: 1.11.3

11.9.5.1. frameinfo:__tostring()

Generates a string of debug info for the FrameInfo

Returns

String of debug information.

11.9.5.2. frameinfo:read_data(file, length)

Tells Wireshark to read directly from given file into frame data buffer, for length bytes. Returns true if succeeded, else false.

Arguments
file
The File object userdata, provided by Wireshark previously in a reading-based callback.
length
The number of bytes to read from the file at the current cursor position.
Returns

True if succeeded, else returns false along with the error number and string error description.

A Lua string of the frame buffer’s data.

11.9.5.3. frameinfo.time

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The packet timestamp as an NSTime object.

[Note]Note

Set the FileHandler.time_precision to the appropriate wtap_file_tsprec value as well.

11.9.5.4. frameinfo.data

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The data buffer containing the packet.

[Note]Note

This cannot be cleared once set.

11.9.5.5. frameinfo.rec_type

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The record type of the packet frame

See wtap_rec_types in init.lua for values.

11.9.5.6. frameinfo.flags

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The presence flags of the packet frame.

See wtap_presence_flags in init.lua for bit values.

11.9.5.7. frameinfo.captured_length

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The captured packet length, and thus the length of the buffer passed to the FrameInfo.data field.

11.9.5.8. frameinfo.original_length

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The on-the-wire packet length, which may be longer than the captured_length.

11.9.5.9. frameinfo.encap

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

The packet encapsulation type for the frame/packet, if the file supports per-packet types. See wtap_encaps in init.lua for possible packet encapsulation types to use as the value for this field.

11.9.5.10. frameinfo.comment

Mode: Retrieve or assign.

A string comment for the packet, if the wtap_presence_flags.COMMENTS was set in the presence flags; nil if there is no comment.

11.9.6. FrameInfoConst

A constant FrameInfo object, passed into Lua as an argument by the FileHandler write callback function. This has similar attributes/properties as FrameInfo, but the fields can only be read from, not written to.

Since: 1.11.3

11.9.6.1. frameinfoconst:__tostring()

Generates a string of debug info for the FrameInfo

Returns

String of debug information.

11.9.6.2. frameinfoconst:write_data(file, [length])

Tells Wireshark to write directly to given file from the frame data buffer, for length bytes. Returns true if succeeded, else false.

Arguments
file
The File object userdata, provided by Wireshark previously in a writing-based callback.
length (optional)
The number of bytes to write to the file at the current cursor position, or all if not supplied.
Returns

True if succeeded, else returns false along with the error number and string error description.

11.9.6.3. frameinfoconst.time

Mode: Retrieve only.

The packet timestamp as an NSTime object.

11.9.6.4. frameinfoconst.data

Mode: Retrieve only.

The data buffer containing the packet.

11.9.6.5. frameinfoconst.rec_type

Mode: Retrieve only.

The record type of the packet frame - see wtap_presence_flags in init.lua for values.

11.9.6.6. frameinfoconst.flags

Mode: Retrieve only.

The presence flags of the packet frame - see wtap_presence_flags in init.lua for bits.

11.9.6.7. frameinfoconst.captured_length

Mode: Retrieve only.

The captured packet length, and thus the length of the buffer in the FrameInfoConst.data field.

11.9.6.8. frameinfoconst.original_length

Mode: Retrieve only.

The on-the-wire packet length, which may be longer than the captured_length.

11.9.6.9. frameinfoconst.encap

Mode: Retrieve only.

The packet encapsulation type, if the file supports per-packet types.

See wtap_encaps in init.lua for possible packet encapsulation types to use as the value for this field.

11.9.6.10. frameinfoconst.comment

Mode: Retrieve only.

A comment for the packet; nil if there is none.

11.9.7. Global Functions

11.9.7.1. register_filehandler(filehandler)

Register the FileHandler into Wireshark/tshark, so they can read/write this new format. All functions and settings must be complete before calling this registration function. This function cannot be called inside the reading/writing callback functions.

Arguments
filehandler
The FileHandler object to be registered
Returns

the new type number for this file reader/write

11.9.7.2. deregister_filehandler(filehandler)

Deregister the FileHandler from Wireshark/tshark, so it no longer gets used for reading/writing/display. This function cannot be called inside the reading/writing callback functions.

Arguments
filehandler
The FileHandler object to be deregistered