DAVEtools is a Java package that can be used to operate on DAVE-ML models; these are XML files with a custom grammar specific to the exchange of dynamic model data, such as flight simulation physics models (see The package is intended for command-line use as there is no GUI, but the ModelSweeper tool does use a graphical interface.

use a graphical interface.

Key features of DAVEtools:

  • NASA open-source code written in Java

  • Validates checkcases within a DAVE-ML models

  • Obtains information about a DAVE-ML model

  • Allows use of DAVE-ML models from within Matlab®

  • Converts a DAVE-ML model into a Simulink® model, with a validation script

  • Plots a 3-D response surface for any output, based on any two inputs in a DAVE-ML model


DAVEtools includes three products in one DAVEtools.jar file

DAVEtools.jar contains:

Parses a DAVE-ML file (running any embedded verification tests) and creates a Model object representing the model defined in the DAVE-ML source file. Also can be used to provide information about the model and set inputs/get outputs from the model. This class can be called from within the Mathworks Matlab® environment to allow use of a DAVE-ML model within the Matlab workspace. A demo script is available here.


Generates a Matlab® script that, when executed in Mathwork’s Simulink® environment, creates a Simulink realization of the provided DAVE-ML model. It also creates and runs a verification script, if the DAVE-ML model included checkcases.


Generates an OTIS4 input deck (.dat) and scenario file (.inl)


Generates appropriate POST II table (.pos2) and model (.f) files.


Provides a GUI-based tool to inspect the outputs of the DAVE-ML model by plotting a 3D response surface of any output with respect to a range of values for any two inputs (while holding other inputs at nominal values).

Catalogs: Parsing/validating against a local copy of DAVEfunc.dtd

One of the less attractive features of working with XML files is dealing with the appropriate Document Type Definition (DTD) or XML Schema Definition (XSD) files, which provide various XML utilities the rules of grammar for that type of XML file.

DAVE-ML makes exclusive use of the older DTD schema for several reasons which are out-of-scope of this document. However, DTD rules are powerful enough to provide adequate validation of a DAVE-ML file.

These rules are in the DAVEfunc.dtd, available for download from this page. This file should be placed somewhere convenient for you; you might consider putting it in a central XML/DTD directory on your computer. Unfortunately, there is no clear consensus on where to place such local copies, and there are several competing mechanisms available to notify XML-based parsers (such as used by DAVEtool) where to find appropriate files. The one we recommend is XML Catalogs.

If you don’t want to download the DTD and set up a catalog file, DAVEtools will use information found in the DAVE-ML model file (such as F106.dml) to try to fetch the latest DTD over the network at run-time. This is much slower than having a local copy of the DTD but it avoids having to manually download newer copies as the DAVE-ML specification evolves. If you don’t have a network connection, the DAVEtools will still work but should advise you that the model was successfully parsed without validation.

If you do want to do local validation, after downloading DAVEfunc.dtd somewhere convenient, you will also want to download the tarball mathml2.tgz MathML2 DTD set from The mathml2.dtd has several related parts which need to be stored in a particular directory structure (shown later).

Next, you need to define an XML catalog file which will tell DAVEtools where to find a local copy of these DTDs.

In the example catalog.xml file listing below, it is assumed that the DTDs have been stored in a schemas subdirectory under the working directory:

Example catalog.xml file
<?xml version="1.0"?>
<!-- commented out to prevent network access
     !DOCTYPE catalog PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD Entity Resolution XML Catalog V1.0//EN"
<catalog xmlns="urn:oasis:names:tc:entity:xmlns:xml:catalog">
  <group prefer="public" xml:base="schemas">
        publicId="-//AIAA//DTD for Flight Dynamic Models - Functions 2.0//EN"



Continuing with this example, the working directory contents should be something like what is shown below. The working directory contains a model file, F106_aero.dml and the catalog.xml file, and a schemas subdirectory, which is expanded below to show its contents. Note that all the files in schemas/mathml2 were extracted from the mathml2.tgz tarball:

Example working directory structure


Shown below are typical use cases for DAVEtools in working with any DAVE-ML model. The examples all use the aerodynamics model of the HL-20 lifting body, a concept vehicle studied in the 1980s and 1990s by NASA as a ‘space taxi.’ This open-source aero model has been realized in DAVE-ML and is available on the examples page). This database was used in an approach and landing simulation as described in NASA TM 107580.

Command aliases

For the following examples (and for general daily use) it is helpful to define these aliases in your .cshrc or .bashrc file:

alias dave="java -cp path_to/DAVEtools.jar gov.nasa.daveml.dave.DAVE"
alias dave2sl="java -cp path_to/DAVEtools.jar gov.nasa.daveml.dave2sl.DAVE2SL"
alias dave2post="java -cp path_to/DAVEtools.jar gov.nasa.daveml.dave2post.DAVE2POST"
alias dave2otis="java -cp path_to/DAVEtools.jar gov.nasa.daveml.dave2otis.DAVE2OTIS"
alias sweep="java -cp path_to/DAVEtools.jar gov.nasa.daveml.sweeper.ModelSweeperUI"

Simple help

$ dave -h
Usage: java DAVE [options] DAVE-ML_document

  where options is one or more of the following:

    --version      (-v)    print version number and exit
    --count        (-c)    count number of elements
    --debug        (-d)    generate debugging information
    --eval         (-e)    do prompted model I/O evaluation
    --list         (-l)    output text description to optional output file
    --internal     (-i)    show intermediate results in calcs and checkcases
    --no-checkcase (-x)    ignore failing checkcases

Verify and count elements in a DAVE-ML file

(the example HL-20 aero model is available here).

$ dave -c HL20_aero.dml
Verified 25 of 25 embedded checkcases.
File parsing statistics:
          Number of variable definitions: 361
        Number of breakpoint definitions: 8
     Number of gridded table definitions: 72
          Number of function definitions: 241
        Number of check-case definitions: 25

              Parsing took 3.383 seconds.

Implementation statistics:
 Number of function interpolation tables: 169
               Number of breakpoint sets: 8
                   Number of data points: 6247

                  Number of signal lines: 741
                        Number of blocks: 751
                        Number of inputs: 16
                       Number of outputs: 10

From a command line, the HL-20 aero model creation, verification and data setup scripts are generated with dave2sl:

$ dave2sl HL20_aero.dml
Parsing input file...
Parsing successful.
Running verification of internal model...
Verified 25 of 25 embedded checkcases.
Creating MATLAB/Simulink representation...
Simulink model written.
Checkcase data found, generating verification script...
Verification script written.
Wrote both model creation and model setup scripts for HL20_aero.

This creates three files:

  • HL20_aero_setup.m - loads data into the Matlab® workspace in an HL20_aero_data structure

  • HL20_aero_verify.m - a script that verifies the resulting Simulink® model

  • HL20_aero_create.m - a script that builds the HL20_aero Simulink® model

Invoking the HL20_aero_create.m script at a Matlab® prompt yields

                            < M A T L A B (R) >
                  Copyright 1984-2010 The MathWorks, Inc.
                Version (R2010b) 64-bit (maci64)
                              August 16, 2010

  To get started, type one of these: helpwin, helpdesk, or demo.
  For product information, visit

>> HL20_aero_create
Running 25 verification cases for HL20_aero:
 Case 1 passed...
 Case 2 passed...
 Case 3 passed...
 Case 4 passed...
 Case 5 passed...
 Case 6 passed...
 Case 7 passed...
 Case 8 passed...
 Case 9 passed...
 Case 10 passed...
 Case 11 passed...
 Case 12 passed...
 Case 13 passed...
 Case 14 passed...
 Case 15 passed...
 Case 16 passed...
 Case 17 passed...
 Case 18 passed...
 Case 19 passed...
 Case 20 passed...
 Case 21 passed...
 Case 22 passed...
 Case 23 passed...
 Case 24 passed...
 Case 25 passed...

All cases passed: model "HL20_aero" verified.

"HL20_aero" model verified and saved.

This results in a Simulink® model, which can be inserted into other Simulink diagrams. The underlying details are a bit messy, but functional.

HL-20 Simulink block diagram

Exercising a DAVE-ML model with Matlab®

Even if Simulink® is not licensed, the DAVE-ML model can still be used through Matlab® .m scripting. An example script is here. Shown below is an example of the demo script in action.

>> dave_demo
                     angleOfAttack (       deg):      0.0000e+00
                   angleOfSideslip (       deg):      0.0000e+00
                              mach (        nd):      0.0000e+00
              bodyAngularRate_Roll (     rad_s):      0.0000e+00
             bodyAngularRate_Pitch (     rad_s):      0.0000e+00
               bodyAngularRate_Yaw (     rad_s):      0.0000e+00
                      trueAirspeed (       f_s):      0.0000e+00
                  heightOfCgWrtRwy (         f):      0.0000e+00
       upperLeftBodyFlapDeflection (       deg):      0.0000e+00
      upperRightBodyFlapDeflection (       deg):      0.0000e+00
       lowerLeftBodyFlapDeflection (       deg):      0.0000e+00
      lowerRightBodyFlapDeflection (       deg):      0.0000e+00
            leftWingFlapDeflection (       deg):      0.0000e+00
           rightWingFlapDeflection (       deg):      0.0000e+00
                  rudderDeflection (       deg):      0.0000e+00
              landingGearExtension (       deg):      0.0000e+00
                referenceWingChord (         f):      2.8240e+01
                 referenceWingSpan (         f):      1.3890e+01
                 referenceWingArea (        f2):      2.8645e+02
                vrsPositionOfMrc_X (   fracMAC):      5.4000e-01
            totalCoefficientOfLift (        nd):     -5.2619e-02
            totalCoefficientOfDrag (        nd):      5.3106e-02
   aeroBodyMomentCoefficient_Pitch (        nd):      1.5010e-02
        aeroBodyForceCoefficient_Y (        nd):      0.0000e+00
     aeroBodyMomentCoefficient_Yaw (        nd):      0.0000e+00
    aeroBodyMomentCoefficient_Roll (        nd):      0.0000e+00

See all the dirty details

Again using the HL-20 aero model the -d flag gives a blow-by-blow as the model is realized and then exercised with checkcases.

Caution the -d option will generate a LONG, LONG listing!
$ dave -d HL20_aero.dml
Loaded 'HL20_aero.dml' successfully,
validating against 'file:/Users/bjax/xml/DTDs/DAVE-ML-2.0/DAVEfunc.dtd.'
Root element has '' default namespace.

Parsing 361 variable definitions

Adding signal 'angleOfAttack' to model.
Adding signal 'angleOfSideslip' to model.
Adding signal 'mach' to model.
Adding signal 'bodyAngularRate_Roll' to model.
Adding signal 'bodyAngularRate_Pitch' to model.
Adding signal 'bodyAngularRate_Yaw' to model.
Adding signal 'trueAirspeed' to model.
Adding signal 'heightOfCgWrtRwy' to model.
Adding signal 'upperLeftBodyFlapDeflection' to model.
Adding signal 'upperRightBodyFlapDeflection' to model.
Adding signal 'lowerLeftBodyFlapDeflection' to model.
Adding signal 'lowerRightBodyFlapDeflection' to model.
Adding signal 'leftWingFlapDeflection' to model.
Adding signal 'rightWingFlapDeflection' to model.
Adding signal 'rudderDeflection' to model.

  .  about 100000 lines removed

Method update() called for output block 'aeroBodyMomentCoefficient_Pitch'
 Input value is 0.015009600000000001

Method update() called for summing block 'plus_444'
 Input #0 value is 0.0
 Input #1 value is -0.0
 Input #2 value is 0.0
 Input #3 value is -0.0
 Input #4 value is 0.0
 Input #5 value is -0.0
 Input #6 value is 0.0
 Input #7 value is -0.0
 Input #8 value is -0.0
 Input #9 value is 0.0

Method update() called for output block 'aeroBodyForceCoefficient_Y'
 Input value is 0.0

Method update() called for output block 'aeroBodyMomentCoefficient_Yaw'
 Input value is 0.0

Method update() called for output block 'aeroBodyMomentCoefficient_Roll'
 Input value is 0.0
Verified 25 of 25 embedded checkcases.


Both of these tools are invoked similar to DAVE2SL:

$ dave2post HL20_aero.dml

will generate two POST-II input files: HL20_aero.pos2 will contain data tables in POST-II format, and HL20_aero.f will contain an aero model snippet in Fortran, suitable for inclusion in POST-II.

$ dave2otis HL20_aero.dml

likewise generates two OTIS4 input files: HL20_aero.dat will contain data tables in OTIS4 format, and HL20_aero.inl is the input file for OTIS4 operation (six-dof). Some manual editing of this file will be needed before execution by OTIS4, including setting the type of simulation (2DOF, 3DOF, etc) and setting the necessary initial state values.

Using ModelSweeper

The ModelSweeper tool can be used to examine the response surface of a DAVE-ML output signal as a function of two inputs.

$ sweep

will bring up a GUI that allows one to select the input model and examine the response surface for a particular input, as shown below.

HL-20 pitch moment vs alpha and right wing flap deflection


The latest version can be downloaded from the NASA open-source website, .

Changes since V 0.8.1

V 0.9.7

Added support for simple logic (not, and, or) operations; added "ignore checkcase" (-x) option, reduced spacing of blocks to fit in larger models in single Simulink model.

V 0.9.6

Changed to use newer PreLookup and Interpolation_n-D blocks; corrected most if, while statements in source to use braces; changed exception handling to deal with syntax errors at a lower level; changed order of import statements to make NetBeans happy; deprecated Block.getDests() and Block.getSource() in favor of getDestBlocks() and getSourceBlocks() to remove ambiguity of whether a reference to a Signal or a Block was being retrieved; maybe fixed vertical alignment of top-level subsystem?

V 0.9.5

Changed behavior of -i flag to DAVE; in addition to creating an XML snippet with internal values for any checkcase successfully passed, will spit out useful intermediate values if used with the -e (evaluate) flag. Also fixed a bug in creation of N-d tables with dimensions greater than 4.

V 0.9.4

Added new utilities: DAVE2POST, to generate POST-II input decks and code sections; and DAVE2OTIS, to generate OTIS4 input decks. Added FORTRAN and C code snippet writers, to support these. Added selectionFlag to Block and selectOutput(), getSelectedBlocks() to Model. Tweaked tests to run under Windows XP. Upgraded for use with NetBeans 7.1.1 and Java SE 1.6. Fixed incompatibility with Matlab/Simulink 2011b. Bug fix for inequality comparison operator in Simulink block.

V 0.9.3

Added tally of checkcases to DAVE’s statistics summary (when used with the -c option). Added support for UML diagram generation (with two open-source packages) for DAVEtools development. Separated this change log from the readme file. Fixed some annoyances related to missing DTDs and/or network being unavailable. Added support for MathML max, min, ceiling, and floor elements.

V 0.9.2

Corrected bug in DAVE that didn’t recognize use of binary minus in MathML2 calculations; fixed bug whereby anonymous tables shared the same matlab setup data; corrected sense of return codes from DAVE and DAVE2SL. Improved integration test framework. Corrected bug in ModelSweeper that caused program to crash if no checkcases were defined.

V 0.9.1

Added support for minValue and maxValue attributes of variableDef as allowed in DAVE-ML 2.0 RC 4; fixed error reporting in creation script generation (aborts were returning exit status 0 but now report 1).

V 0.9.0

Changed to support the default DAVE-ML namespace (xmlns); added entity refs to make Eclipse IDE happy; changed for using build subdirectories to bin to make Eclipse convention; fleshed out ant build.xml file to rely less on makefiles (but a makefile is still needed to run the app_tests of DAVE2SL). Corrected the inability of dave to parse MathML piecewise elements with more than one piece. Distribution format switched to zip from tar to be more PC friendly. Build system switched to Ant from Make (but some hybrid make functionality exists, to some version of make is still required). Source code management system now uses git instead of Subversion. Now producing a single DAVEtools.jar that includes all products for convenience, including dave, dave2sl, modelsweeper, xerces and jdom .jar file contents. Slightly different syntax used to invoke DAVE2SL (default jar entry point) and DAVE.