dotTrace 2017.3 Help

Working with dotTrace Command-Line Profiler

Sometimes it is necessary to automate the process of gathering performance snapshots, for example, if you want to make profiling a part of your continuous integration builds (e.g., this can be a build step that performs profiling of your integration tests). For this purpose, dotTrace comes bundled with a couple of command-line tools (located in the dotTrace installation directory):

  • ConsoleProfiler.exe - profiles applications and takes performance snapshots according to the settings specified in a configuration file.
  • Reporter.exe - analyzes a snapshot or compares a pair of snapshots and generates an XML report with performance data.

The tools are also distributed in a separate zip archive* and as a NuGet package. Note that the tools are free of charge and do not require any license keys.

In this section:

Profiling Application Using the ConsoleProfiler.exe Tool

1. (Optional) Creating profiling configuration file

Profiling configuration (profiling target, profiling method, and so on) for the ConsoleProfiler.exe tool can be provided in two ways:

  • Using an XML configuration file.
  • Using ConsoleProfiler.exe command-line options.

If you choose to provide the configuration via the XML file, you can use the Configuration2Xml32.exe (and the 64-bit version Configuration2Xml64.exe) tool to simplify file creation. This tool allows you to create the XML configuration file using the familiar UI of the dotTrace Home window.

To create or modify a configuration file using Configuration2Xml:

  1. Run the Configuration2Xml32.exe or Configuration2Xml64.exe tool which is located in the dotTrace installation directory.
  2. To create a new profiling configuration, select the Create New Config menu.
    To modify an existing profiling configuration, select Open Config.
  3. Specify profiling options as you normally do in the dotTrace Home window.
  4. Click Save and specify the file name and path for the configuration file.
  5. Click Save.

2. Running profiling session

After the configuration file is created, you can start profiling.

To profile an application using the command-line tool:

  • Do one of the following:
    • If you provide profiling configuration in an XML file, run the following command in the command line:
      ConsoleProfiler.exe xmlfile <path_to_config> --save-to=<path_to_snapshot>
      where
      <path_to_config> - path to the XML configuration file.
      <path_to_snapshot> - path to the resulting snapshot file. Note that you can specify either the full path (including the snapshot file name) or only the path to the directory (without the file name). In the latter case, the snapshot file will get a random name.

      For example:

      ConsoleProfiler.exe xmlfile config.xml --save-to=c:\Snapshots\snapshot.dtp
    • If you choose to provide profiling configuration using the command-line options, run ConsoleProfiler.exe with the options you need. For example, to profile some standalone application App.exe using the sampling profiling type:
      ConsoleProfiler.exe start --save-to=c:\Snapshots\snapshot.dtp --profiling-type=Sampling c:\MyApp\App.exe
      To see the full list of available options, run the tool without any arguments:
      ConsoleProfiler.exe

After the profiled application finishes working, the ConsoleProfiler.exe tool will automatically save a performance snapshot.

ConsoleProfiler.exe Exit Code

By default, if tool finishes its work successfully, its exit code is 0. This may be not very convenient in some cases. For example, when you run the tool on the CI server you may need to get the exit code of the profiled application (e.g., a unit test runner). To make ConsoleProfiler.exe return the exit code of the profiling target, use the --propagate-exit-code argument.

For example:

ConsoleProfiler.exe xmlfile config.xml --save-to=snapshot.dtp --propagate-exit-code

Generating Performance Report Using the Reporter.exe Tool

The Reporter.exe tool can work in two modes:

  • Getting performance data for particular methods.
    The resulting XML report gets data on execution time and number of calls for particular methods.
  • Comparing snapshots.
    The resulting XML report gets data on differences in execution time and number of calls for particular methods. This mode can be especially useful for comparing performance data you get in a latest build against some reference snapshot.

Regardless of the mode you choose, you should specify method names that should be added to the report.

1. Specifying methods for the report

The list of methods that must be added into a report is defined by an XML pattern file.

To create a pattern file:

  1. In an editor of your choice, create a blank XML file.
  2. Write the list of methods that must be added to the report as shown in the example below.
    <Patterns> <Pattern PrintCallstacks = "MethodNameOnly">Method1</Pattern> <Pattern>Method2</Pattern> </Patterns>
    where
    • Method1 and Method2 - names of the methods you want to get the performance data for.
    • PrintCallstacks - optional attribute that allows including call stack data in reports (an example of such a report is shown below). There are two available values for PrintCallstacks:
      • Full - fully qualified method names will be shown in the call stack.
      • MethodNameOnly - only method names (without namespace and class names) will be shown in the call stack.
  3. Save the file.

2a. Generating a performance report

To generate a performance report:

  • In the command line, run the following command:
    Reporter.exe report <path_to_snapshot> --pattern=<path_to_pattern> --save-to=<path_to_report>
    where
    <path_to_snapshot> - path to the source snapshot file.
    <path_to_pattern> - path to the XML pattern file which contains names of the methods added to the report.
    <path_to_report> - path to the resulting report file.

For example:

Reporter.exe report c:\Snapshots\snapshot.dtp --pattern=pattern.xml --save-to=c:\Reports\report.xml

Report Example

<Report> <Info> <Snapshot IndexFile="C:\snapshot1.dtp" Executable="C:\Temp\ConsoleAppTest.exe" CommandLine="C:\Temp\ConsoleAppTest.exe" /> </Info> <Function FQN="Tests.Method1" TotalTime="500" OwnTime="100" Calls="1" /> <Function FQN="Tests.Method2" TotalTime="400" OwnTime="200" Calls="10" /> </Report>

where
FQN - full method name.
TotalTime - execution time of the method's call subtree.
OwnTime - method's own execution time.
Calls - number of calls.

If a PrintCallstacks attribute was specified for a particular Pattern in an XML pattern file, the report will contain additional call stack data. For example, <Pattern PrintCallstacks = "MethodNameOnly"> was specified for some GetFileNames function. In this case, the corresponding Function node in the resulting report will contain an additional Instance subnode with a call stack:

<Function Id="0x0020000C" FQN="MyApplication.MainWindow.GetFileNames" TotalTime="12520" OwnTime="0" Calls="1740" Instances="1"> <Instance CallStack="Main/Run/Run/RunInternal/RunDispatcher/PushFrame/PushFrameImpl/OnClick/RaiseEvent/RaiseEventImpl/InvokeHandlersImpl/InvokeHandler/btnSelectFiles_Click/GetFileNames" TotalTime="12520" OwnTime="0" Calls="1740" /> </Function>

2b. Generating a report on snapshots differences

To compare two snapshots and generate report on differences:

  • In the command line, run the following command:
    Reporter.exe compare <path_to_snapshot1> <path_to_snapshot2> --pattern=<path_to_pattern> --save-to=<path_to_report>
    where
    <path_to_snapshot1> - path to the reference snapshot file.
    <path_to_snapshot2> - path to the second snapshot file.
    <path_to_pattern> - path to the XML pattern file which contains names of the methods added to the report.
    <path_to_report> - path to the resulting report file.

For example:

Reporter.exe compare c:\Snapshots\base_snapshot.dtp c:\Snapshots\snapshot.dtp --pattern=pattern.xml --save-to=c:\Reports\report.xml

The resulting report file is similar to the one you get in the "reporting" mode with the only difference: all fields will contain not the absolute time or number of calls values but their delta between the snapshots. Depending on the delta sign, the values will start with either + or - prefix.

Last modified: 20 November 2017

See Also