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Getting Started

First Run

  • After Installation, run PRE Workbench by double-clicking the program icon (Windows and macOS) or running the prewb command (Linux).
  • On first run, you'll be asked to choose or create a project directory. Files from this directory will be available to be loaded into the app. PRE Workbench will create a project database file named .pre_workbench in this folder, but nothing else will be touched in the folder. Later on, you can change the directory from the main menu.
  • tbd.

Video Walkthrough

Command Line Interface

Although PRE Workbench is mainly a GUI application, there are some command line arguments to the main application, and there is a separate tool to run parsers directly from the command line.



Just run prewb to start the GUI application.

Pass a directory path to start with this specific project, or run prewb --choose-project to force the project chooser dialog to appear.

If the configuration file got messed up, run prewb --reset-config. Note that this deletes all application-wide configuration. Project-specific configuration will be left alone. To reset these, delete or rename the .pre_workbench file from your project directory.

You can also specify various debug options with --log-level, --log-config and --gc-debug.

usage: prewb [-h] [--reset-config] [--log-level {TRACE,DEBUG,INFO,WARNING,ERROR}] [--log-config FILE] [--plugins-dir DIR] [--gc-debug] [--choose-project] [DIR]

Protocol Reverse Engineering Workbench

positional arguments:
  DIR                   Project directory

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --reset-config        Reset the configuration to defaults
                        Set the log level
  --log-config FILE     Load detailed logging config from file
  --plugins-dir DIR     Load all Python files from this folder as plugins
  --gc-debug            Print debug output from garbage collector
  --choose-project      Force the project directory chooser to appear, instead of opening the last project

On Windows, the prewb command runs the application in GUI mode, preventing command line output. To see the log output, use the prewb_c command which runs in console mode.



usage: prewb_parse [-h] [-P DIR] [-F FILENAME] [-e GRAMMAR] [-d NAME] [-i FILENAME] [-x HEXSTRING] [--json]

Protocol Reverse Engineering Workbench CLI Parser

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -P DIR, --project DIR
                        Grammar definitions from project directory
  -F FILENAME, --grammar-file FILENAME
                        Grammar definitions from text file
  -e GRAMMAR, --grammar-string GRAMMAR
                        Grammar definitions from command line argument
  -d NAME, --definition NAME
                        Name of start grammar definition. Uses first if unspecified
  -i FILENAME, --input-file FILENAME
                        File to parse
  -x HEXSTRING, --input-hex HEXSTRING
                        Hex string to parse
  --json                Print json output


$ prewb_parse -e "_ struct {foo UINT8 bar UINT8}" -x "1122"
    "foo": 17,
    "bar": 34

$ prewb_parse -e "_ repeat UINT8" -x "11223344"


See here.


Converts between the binary XDRmap file format and YAML.


usage: xdrmap [-h] [-m HEXSTR] [-D] [-E] [-i INPUT] [-v]

XDRmap encoder/decoder

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -m HEXSTR, --magic HEXSTR
                        Magic value prefix, encoded as hex string
  -D, --decode          Decodes input from XDRmap to YAML
  -E, --encode          Encodes input from YAML to XDRmap
  -i INPUT, --input INPUT
                        Input file (default: "-" for stdin)
  -v, --verbose         Enable verbose logging to stderr