Changes in Xense Profiler for DFC version 1.1

August 22, 2008 at 12:04 pm | Posted in D6, Performance, Xense Profiler | Leave a comment
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An updated set of release notes have now been released to the website. In amongst a number of smaller cosmetic changes are some work I have been doing on making the profiler less sensitive to the specific tracing properties used to generate the trace.

One of the great virtues of the DMCL trace was the simplicity of invocation. There are only 2 different properties trace_level and trace_name with the latter being optional and defaulting to api.log. These could be set specifically in the dmcl.ini file or specified using and api call (e.g. trace,c,10,mytrace.log would start a level 10 trace to mytrace.log).

However the DFC trace has a lot of different options many of which have very significant implications for the formatting and content of the trace file. Suffice to say this makes reliable parsing of the dfc trace a challenge. To manage this complexity we took the decision to mandate the setting of certain parameters when generating the trace. Whilst this makes the development task easier it is not very user-centric. There is a risk that users will generate traces ‘incorrectly’ and then find that the profiler either doesn’t produce any results or even worse produces erroneous results.

The latest version, Xense Profiler for DFC v1.1, removes the requirement to have the dfc.tracing.include_rpcs flag set correctly; the profiler will correctly process files whatever the setting of include_rpcs used to generate the trace. There still some restrictions on the trace properties that can be used to generate the trace file – the details are in the release notes.

Future versions will aim to further remove these restrictions, in addition we will probably include a catalogue of trace formats that we can test against and at least warn the user if an incorrect trace format is being used.

Xense Profiler for DFC beta 2

August 7, 2008 at 8:56 pm | Posted in D6, Performance, Xense Profiler | 1 Comment
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The first beta for Xense Profiler for DFC finished 31st July but we have decided to extend the program for another 3 months. If you are an existing beta group member you should have received an email containing a new licence key and a link to the updated beta (if you didn’t get the email let us know). If you haven’t already signed up for the beta then you can do so here.

When we sent out the renewal emails to the existing beta group members we also asked for some feedback. I’ll repeat the questions here as we would really like to here from anyone who has used (or tried to use) the software; any feedback helps us improve the product:

Beta Questionnaire

  1. Was it easy to download and install the software?
  2. Was the license process easy to follow and complete? How could it be improved?
  3. Did the software work first time or was there configuration that you had to perform?
  4. Was the invocation of the software and the command line syntax intuitive and easy to understand?
  5. DFC tracing has a confusing array of options and the intial beta required certain tracing parameters to be set. Was this clear or did this cause you problems? Did you resolve any problems or did you leave it as ‘requiring too much of my time’?
  6. Did the HTML reports display adequately on your browser? If not what browser and os were you using?
  7. Was the meaning and interpretation of the various reports clear? Would it be useful if the documentation could cover the theory and approach to tuning? Would motivational examples help your tuning work and the use of the software?
  8. The Xense Profiler for Documentum 5 systems includes a CSV output facility that allows the raw trace data to be converted to CSV for import into (for example) Excel. Would such a feature be useful in the Xense Profiler for DFC?
  9. If we could change or improve one thing about Xense Profiler for DFC what would it be?

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