Many languages provide top-level mechanisms for organization that make writing large systems easier. These have explicit syntactic forms for expressing which components of a module are to be exported and which components are to be imported from other modules. It may also be possible to refer to the module itself as a first-class value in a program.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss common user expectations for cross-references in programs that use modules. The representation of a module itself is not in this document’s scope.

Simple imports

The second line makes the module named fmt available in scope as fmt. The exact semantics of what the local fmt is can differ depending on the language. In some languages, fmt is simply a local variable that points to the (first-class) module object; in others, it is part of a special category of identifiers that cannot be rebound. Users generally prefer to see any use of fmt ref the node representing the module’s definition instead of the definition of the local alias, which may not even have a sensible syntactic location to anchor to:

import (
//- @"\"fmt\"" ref/imports FmtModule
//- @fmt ref FmtModule

With these edges, users who attempt to navigate from the module’s use site will be brought to the definition of fmt, not to the definition of the local alias. In the same way, users investigating cross-references from the module’s definition will see every use of that module in the database (up to re-exporting and vexing control-flow), not just the places where it’s been imported. In addition, other information (like documentation) will be available at every use site.

Some languages allow particular values to be imported into local scope. These should be handled in the same way as module definitions:

//- @value ref/imports Value
//- @"'./module'" ref/imports Module
import {value} from './module';
//- @value ref Value

Imports with renaming

It’s sometimes possible (or is even required) to choose a different name for the local binding created by an import from the target definition’s. In this case, the local name does have a sensible syntactic location and is semantically relevant to the programmer. A use site of the local name refers to the local alias, which in turn aliases the module (or value) being imported.

//- @"'./module'" ref/imports Module
//- @defaultExport defines/binding DefaultExport
//- DefaultExport aliases DefaultExportDef
//- DefaultExport.subkind import
import defaultExport from './module';
//- @"'./module'" ref/imports Module
//- @mod_imp defines/binding ModImp
//- ModImp aliases Module
//- ModImp.subkind import
import * as mod_imp from './module';
//- @"'./module'" ref/imports Module
//- @value ref/imports Value
//- @renamedValue defines/binding RenamedValue
//- RenamedValue aliases Value
//- RenamedValue.subkind import
import {value as renamedValue} from './module';
//- @defaultExport ref DefaultExport
//- @mod_imp ref ModImp;
//- @renamedValue ref RenamedValue

Imports that do not create local bindings

Languages like TypeScript allow modules to be imported strictly for their side-effects. In this case, only a ref/imports edge should be placed at the import site:

//- @"'./module'" ref/imports Module
import './module';
//- @"\"lib/math\"" ref/imports MathModule
import (
  _ "lib/math"

Re-exporting and rebinding

If a module re-exports a definition (renaming it or not) that it previously imported, that re-export site should be considered to be the definition of that name.

If a program rebinds an imported name, indexers may treat the new name as a different variable:

//- @"'./module'" ref/imports Module
//- @module defines/binding DefaultOne
//- DefaultOne aliases DefaultOneDef
import module from './module';
//- @module ref DefaultOne;
//- @"'./debug/module'" ref/imports DebugModule
//- @module defines/binding DefaultTwo
//- DefaultTwo aliases DefaultTwoDef
import module from './debug/module';
//- @module ref DefaultTwo
//- ! { @module ref DefaultOne };

It may not be possible to determine that an import is changing, or to determine the value it’s being changed to. In this case, indexers can treat import names like ordinary variables:

//- @"'./module'" ref/imports Module
//- @module defines/binding ModuleImport
//- ModuleImport.subkind import
//- ModuleImport aliases Module
import module from './module';
//- @module ref ModuleImport
if (random()) module = otherModule;
//- @module ref ModuleImport;


Downstream consumers of the graph should tolerate overlapping references. Variables defined by imports should have subkind import. Consumers may choose to prioritize showing documentation or definitions of non-import nodes over import nodes.