MISS_HIT 0.9.43-dev Tracing Tool
MISS_HIT includes a simple tool (mh_trace), that can be used to extract tracing tags for code and tests. The output is in the LOBSTER format.

User manual


Tracing your code and tests to your requirements and specification is a common activity when developing to safety standards (such as ISO 26262 or DO-178C). While you definitely should not be using MATLAB for this, it is not my place to judge; and so we have a tool to support this activity. mh_trace can extract tags put in code, tests, and Simulink models and generate a LOBSTER trace files that a different tool (such as LOBSTER) can use to generate a traceability report.
The MATLAB language already includes some features (TestTags) to help you annotate tests; consider this example (taken from the MathWorks website):
classdef (TestTags = {'FeatureB'}) ...
        ExampleTagClassTest < matlab.unittest.TestCase
    methods (Test)
        function testF (testCase)
            % test code
    methods (Test, TestTags = {'FeatureC','System'})
        function testG (testCase)
            % test code
    methods (Test, TestTags = {'System','FeatureA'})
        function testH (testCase)
            % test code
Running mh_trace will generate two lobster files (by default mh_imp_trace.lobster for code and models, and mh_act_trace.lobster for tests) that shows which tags affect any given function. Here shown is a snippet for the testG function:
      "framework": "MATLAB",
      "just_down": [],
      "just_global": [],
      "just_up": [],
      "kind": "Test",
      "location": {
        "column": 17,
        "file": "ExampleTagClassTest.m",
        "kind": "file",
        "line": 11
      "name": "ExampleTagClassTest::testG",
      "refs": [
        "req FeatureB",
        "req FeatureC",
        "req System"
      "status": null,
      "tag": "matlab ExampleTagClassTest::testG"

Annotating code

While TestTags can be used to annotate tests, it cannot be used to annotate code. To trace code, MISS_HIT supports a special pragma:
%| pragma Tag("potato-req-1");
You can also give more than one tag in a single Tag pragma:
%| pragma Tag("potato-req-1", "kitten-req-42");
Pragma tag applies to all items scoped logically under the entity that is tagged. For example placing the Tag pragma in a class definition will affect all methods; placing it in a function will also affect all nested functions; and placing it in a compilation unit will affect all functions or methods in that compilation unit.
Note: this pragma can also be used to tag tests. There is no difference between using this pragma and adding a TestTags property to tests.

Annotating models

With text annotations

Simply place an annotation anywhere in your block. If the text contains a line that starts with lobster-trace: then it is interpreted as a tracing tag.
Example showing usage of annotations for tracing
You may place as many of these annotations as you wish, and any formatting (a feature of more recent Simulink releases) is ignored.

With area annotations

You may also use area annotations. Note however that the grouping is irrelevant, the traceable item that these tags relate to are the enclosing system or sub-system; similar to a text annotation.
Example showing usage of area annotations for tracing
The point of these is to make it easier for the human to see what is going on in larger systems. If you want a more fine-grained tracing you still need to chop up your larger system into several smaller sub-systems; similar to a large spaghetti MATLAB function.

With block properties

Another option is to use block properties, using lobster-trace: foo.bar just like above.
Example showing usage of block properties for tracing
If the block is sub-system, then the tracing tags apply to the sub-system (i.e. you would get the same behaviour if you enter the sub-system and place the annotation there). If the block is not a sub-system (e.g. a in-port or an adder, etc.) then the annotation will apply to the system or sub-system containing the block (i.e. you would get the same behaviour if you just put a annotation somewhere in the system containing the block).

Excluding code

Most projects have some code for e.g. setting up the workspace or build scripts. This code is not part of the delivery and so should not make it into the requirements traceability report; it can be excluded using the No_Tracing pragma:
%| pragma No_Tracing;
This pragma has identical scoping rules as pragma Tag, and completely removes the affected functions from the json output. If you place it at the top of a file, it excludes all functions in that compilation unit. If a function is affected by both Tags and a No_Tracing pragma then the No_Tracing pragma takes precedence.

Command-line interface

--out-imp FILE

By default we produce a file called mh_imp_trace.lobster for code and models. With this option you can change the filename.

--out-act FILE

By default we produce a file called mh_act_trace.lobster for tests. With this option you can change the filename.


By default we produce list all blocks in a Simulink model or library, with this option we only include the ones that have at least one tag.


If this option is set, then a Simulink sub-system that does not have its own tags will inherit the tags from its enclosing system. Once new tags are encountered, they will be used. Note that this option does not affect embedded MATLAB blocks.


The tool will only extract tags from the files that MISS_HIT normally processes. So if you have your unit tests excluded from MISS_HIT then you will get no tracing. You could use the common --ignore-config option to work around this; or even better: don not exclude your unit tests.