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Call Tree as Icicle Chart

The Icicle chart is a graphical representation of the stack trace responsible for creating a selected object set.

As well as in Call Tree, calls are shown starting from the first call in the stack descending to the one that directly created the object set. Each call is shown as a horizontal bar which length depends on the size of objects allocated in the call's subtree. The more memory was allocated in the underlying subtree, the longer the bar. It's obvious that over the subtree, function calls (bars) can only reduce in size giving the subtree a look of an icicle.

Use the Icicle chart to get an overview of the stack trace in just one glance. Without digging into the stack trace, you can quickly determine what function in the subtree allocates most of memory.

Example

Consider the example below for better understanding of the Icicle chart.

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As you can see, to analyze the Call Tree, you have to expand all subtrees in the stack and interpret the numbers in the Bytes and Bytes in subtree columns. In contrast, just a glance at the Icicle chart allows you to determine main memory generator in the stack - the "green icicle". A click on a function you're interested in will show you the corresponding stack trace (on the right).
The Allocated in function value shows how much memory was allocated directly in the selected function.
The Allocated in subtree value shows the amount of memory allocated in the selected function and all underlying functions in the subtree.

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How the Icicle Chart Is Painted

Here are the rules of how dotMemory paints bars (functions) on the Icicle chart:

  • Allocated memory
    The more memory is allocated by a function, the larger the color value of the corresponding icicle bar. Thus, functions that do not create objects by themselves look pale. Vice versa, functions that allocate memory look darker.
    icicles_5
  • Branching
    Each new call subtree (when a function calls two more other functions) in the stack is painted with a new color.
    icicles_4
  • System namespace
    To help you distinguish system calls from other ones, all functions from the System namespace are painted in less saturated color. Consider the example below: The ThemeCatalogRegistrarBase class doesn't belong to the System namespace.
    icicles_6
  • Functions with almost no allocations
    For the sake of simplicity, when a number (more than five) of subsequent calls do not allocate memory*, dotMemory groups them into one bar. Typically, these are system calls that are of no interest for the analysis. In the stack trace, such groups of calls are shown as Folded items and the corresponding bars are painted with the horizontal line pattern.
    To expand the bars, use the middle click.
    icicles_7

Zooming In and Out

If you want to take a more detailed look at a certain call subtree, you can change the scale of the Icicle chart.
To zoom in on a call, use Shift+click on the corresponding bar. The bar will take the entire width of the chart.
To zoom back out, double-click or use Shift+click on a call that is located higher in the stack (as it is represented with a longer bar).

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What Can I Analyze Next?

As well as in Call Tree, you can select the following subjects for further analysis:

  • Objects allocated in the current function instance
    To select objects allocated by the exact call (function instance) for analysis, double-click on the corresponding bar. Another way to do it is to right-click on the bar and choose Open objects allocated by this instance of the function. After this, the Created in [function_name] subject will be added to the Analysis Path and certain objects will be displayed in the Type List view.

  • Objects allocated in the function subtree
    To select objects allocated by the exact call (function instance) and all its underlying calls for analysis, right-click on the corresponding bar and choose Open objects allocated by all functions in this subtree. After this, the Created in subtree of [function_name] subject will be added to Analysis path and certain objects will be displayed in the Type List view.

  • Objects allocated in all instances of the function
    To select objects allocated by all instances of a function for analysis, right-click on the corresponding bar and choose Open objects allocated by all instances of the function. After this, the Created by [Function_name] subject will be added to the Analysis Path and certain objects will be displayed in the Type List view.
Last modified: 19 August 2016