Better Trace Format

What is BTF?

The Better Trace Format is a simple text-based format. It is intended to ease the exchange of traces between measurement tools, simulators and analysis tools. Its simple structure based on columns and separators allows the implementation of own scripts as well as the import into MS Excel and other spreadsheet programs. This format, nowadays known as BTF, is used not only by INCHRON, but also by other tools.


History of BTF

The Better Trace Format was defined in 2009 upon customer request. Since then, the format has been changed only slightly by others and renamed “Best Trace Format”. It was also selected as a trace format by the ITEA2 project AMALTHEA and was released by the Eclipse Auto IWG. We are very happy about the late success of the BTF specification. 

Use Cases with the INCHRON Tool-Suite

The INCHRON Tool-Suite supports BTF as an exchange vehicle with other tools, both for the import and the export of trace data.


The import of BTF traces is done with the generic CSV importer of the INCHRON Tool-Suite. Due to the amount of different tools which are used in practice as a source of traces the importer is very flexible and permissive.
During the import the BTF trace is converted into INCHRON’s internal trace format. Once this is done, the user can perform the same analysis as if the trace had been generated by chronSIM, and using chronVIEW, navigating through the data is very fast, even with large traces with a large number of processes and events.


The INCHRON Tool-Suite offers two different mechanisms to convert a simulation trace into a BTF trace. The first is obviously a standalone program which converts the INCHRON trace into its BTF representation.

In addition, the batch mode of chronSIM has an option to directly output a BTF trace instead of an INCHRON trace. It is triggered by: Batch -o -:btf <other options> project.ipr.

Since BTF traces are line-oriented, the output can be forwarded to other tools via redirects or pipes. We recommend this mode to all customers who run their own analysis scripts and do not need to archive the simulation results immediately. Of course, all simulations are repeatable, just specify a seed for the random generators by using the option -S <32bit seed>.