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Bottleneck - a tool for finding code bottlenecks in C#

, 14 May 2002
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A simple tool that can be used to time how long different parts of your code take to execute, and where bottlenecks occur

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Overview

Currently, I have been working on speeding up my C# screensaver, and I thought that it would be useful to know if my assumptions about where my code was taking it's time were in fact correct. So I wrote this little tool. Along the way I got to play with some new stuff, like the hash map, file access and some control stuff I had not done yet. Hopefully I'll find something to interest you as well.

Strategy

Basically, the way this code will work is to create a class which encapsulates a hash table between a string and an instance of a class that holds data about our function. The hash table and the functions provided will be static - we don't want more than one instance of our code running. The class will have a start and stop method, which apart from making sure there is no crossover, or invalid calls, will essentially just maintain timers in the class objects to keep track of the time spent in each function we trace. A global timer will tell us how long the code ran for to find out what percentage of running time was in functions we were tracing.

Code reuse in C#

In order to build the main object, I created a new project, and chose the class library option. This builds a dll file which can be added to another project by choosing Project | Add Reference from the menu. Then it's a case of browsing to the dll file, and it will be copied into your local directory. Note so long as you are using it, you need to distribute this dll with your program. In this case, it's more of a debugging tool, so I'd expect you'd remove it when testing was done.

A small problem.

I found while writing this tool that if I call DateTime.Now(), run a small function and then call it again, DateTime2 - DateTime1 gives a negative value. I had to check for this, and log a time of 1 millisecond instead.

Output to disk

The report class has a method which uses a StreamWriter to write the report out as a text file. If you're not familiar with writing text files in C#, you might find it useful to examine.

Using the Code

A second project is provided which shows how to use the tool. First you need to add the supplied dll, and then simply call CodeTimer.CodeTime.Start(FunctionName); and CodeTimer.CodeTime.Stop(FunctionName); on either end of the function you want to time, and be careful not to time a function which calls another function being timed. Currently the calls do not nest, and the tool detects this and crashes. The CodeTimer.CodeTime.Report(); call can be triggered by the program, or set up to come up when the class is destroyed, giving a report at the end of a run.

Summary

This article has been low on detail simply because I expect people to get more out of the tool than the code, which is not that involved. Having explained how it is set up, hopefully if there's something that interests you, it will be clear in the code. Otherwise, I hope the tool itself is of use to you.

License

This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here

About the Author

Christian Graus
Software Developer (Senior)
Australia Australia
Programming computers ( self taught ) since about 1984 when I bought my first Apple ][. Was working on a GUI library to interface Win32 to Python, and writing graphics filters in my spare time, and then building n-tiered apps using asp, atl and asp.net in my job at Dytech. After 4 years there, I've started working from home, at first for Code Project and now for a vet telemedicine company. I owned part of a company that sells client education software in the vet market, but we sold that and I worked for the owners for five years before leaving to get away from the travel, and spend more time with my family. I now work for a company here in Hobart, doing all sorts of Microsoft based stuff in C++ and C#, with a lot of T-SQL in the mix.

Comments and Discussions

 
GeneralHandy PinmemberScalpel29-Dec-03 23:31 
GeneralDevPartner Profiler PinmemberMichael J. Carter6-Aug-02 7:49 
GeneralRe: DevPartner Profiler PinmemberChristian Graus6-Aug-02 13:23 
GeneralGood Article Christian PinmemberNick Parker15-May-02 1:18 
GeneralRe: Good Article Christian PinmemberChristian Graus15-May-02 17:20 
GeneralI found this usefull too... PinmemberDaniel Turini14-May-02 22:37 
GeneralRe: I found this usefull too... PinmemberChristian Graus15-May-02 17:21 

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