# vim: ts=2 sw=2 sts=0 noexpandtab:
# $Id: HACKING 313 2008-07-12 11:41:52Z tim.bunce $


We encourage hacking Devel::NYTProf!

The current offial release can be obtained from CPAN

You can grab the head of the latest trunk code from the Google Code repository, see

Please work with the latest code from the repository - see above.

Small patches can be uploaded via the issue tracker at

For larger changes please talk to us first via the mailing list at

When developing, please ensure that no new compiler warnings are output.

You MUST write test cases for your changes. All tests that are dropped into the
"t" folder will be executed. (Remember to add them to MANIFEST.)  The testing system is
customized for this module because profilers are not that easy to test.
The system still uses Test::Harness and Test::More, so it should behave just
like any other perl modules 'make test'.

Writing tests is easy!

1) Design a perl script that will trigger the new behavior/feature that you
   want to test. Name the file 't/test##-description.p'

2) Create an empty 'reference' file for the test.
   Name the file 't/test##-description.rdt'
   When the test is run you'll get an error and a diff and you'll
   find a t/test##-description.rdt.new file waiting for you.
   If, and only if, the contents of that file are correct, then rename
   it to t/test##-description.rdt and you're done!
   Of course working out if the contents are correct can be
   non-trivial, but at least you don't have to write the file :)

3) Create a corresponding CSV output file if appropriate.
   You can use the same trick of creating an empty file, but this
   time with a .x suffix: t/test##-description.x
	 You still need to verify the .x.new file of course!

Note:  While writing a test, it is helpful to be able to run it directly, 
			without the test harness.  This allows you to view more output stdout and 
			stderr.  Fortunately, its easy to do:

			perl -Mblib -MDevel::NYTProf t/test01.p

			The output will be in the ./nytprof.out file.
			You can then also run the csv manually:

			perl -Mblib bin/nytprofcsv

			The final file will be in ./nytprof/test01.p.csv

Remember, testing is VERY VERY important!  Within a day or two of releasing
code, the CPAN testers will test the release on pretty much every major platform
you can think of.  A failed test report is much easier to fix than a runtime
error like "bash: segmentation fault: core dumped"

Releases are generated with 'make metafile', and then fed through tar+gz.
You shouldn't ever check-in the distribution directory, any temporary files
(including Makefile.old) or change the $VERSION numbers. We'll do this for you.

Google Code:

Google Devel Group (must subscribe here):

NYTimes Open Code Blog:

TODO (unsorted)

Fix Reader
- not document methods with a leading underscore
- to have consistent_naming_style notMixedCamelCase (fixed?)
- to be fully OO (ie not document non-OO interfaces)
- to be subclassable
- to provide a subclass to manage generating CSV
- to provide a subclass to manage generating HTML
Then rework bin/ntyprof* to use the new subclasses
Ideally end up with a single nytprof command.

Add (very) basic nytprofhtml test (ie it runs and produces output)

Rework option parsing so options can be implemented in perl, accessed from
perl, and stored in data file.

Write tests for new functionality.

Write up change notes

Write, clean-up documentation

Currently the cost of calling the sub goes to the caller (good)
but the cost of copying the result goes to the method (poor).
Overriding pp_leavesub may allow more accurate measurements by avoiding return
value processing overheads accumulating on last statement in sub.

Similarly, the cost of retesting the loop condition is accounted
for by the last statement executed each time round the loop.
Overriding relevant ops may enable better accounting.

Add way for program being profiled to switch output to a new profile file.
Perhaps via enable_profile($optional_new_filename)
See http://search.cpan.org/dist/Devel-Profile/ for use case.

Add @INC to data file so reports can be made more readable by removing
(possibly very long) library paths where appropriate.

Add time to begin and end pid markers in data file.

Add marker with timestamp for phases BEGIN, CHECK, INIT, END
(could combine with pid marker)

Add size and mtime of fid to data file.

Intercept all opcodes that may fork and run perl code in the child
	ie fork, open, entersub (ie xs), others?
	and fflush before executing the op (so fpurge isn't strictly required)
  and reinit_if_forked() afterwards
	add option to force reinit_if_forked check per stmt just-in-case

Add way to merge profile data. Merging could be done in perl.

Add constants to Data.pm for the array indexes

Add method to remove data (like sub_fid_lines) relating to specific files
so that the .rdt tests aren't affected by variations between versions of library modules.

Support profiling programs which use threads:
	- move all relevant globals into a structure
	- add lock around output to file

Add functions to read & write strings to the profile data file that uses an
integer length prefix.  Replace all current newline-terminated strings with the
new code, so we're safe from embedded newlines and can also store multi-line strings.

Support optionally generating a compressed data file (using popen("zip -c > $file"))

Support optionally saving eval strings (from @{"_<$filename"}, see perldoc perldebguts)
Should always save the first eval string at each distinct eval (fid:line)
and require an option to save them all (which could make the data file very large).

Add % of total time to index page
Remove bottom stats.

Use clock_gettime(CLOCK_MONOTONIC) if available, else clock_gettime(CLOCK_REALTIME).
Those calls are cheaper than gettimeofday and can give nanosecond resolution.

nytprofhtml: output list of subs as a table and include timings aggregated from
the line ranges. (Won't be accurate for overlapping subs, such as anonymous
subs, but those can be detetected and a note added.)

The whole reporting framework needs a rewrite to use a single 'thin' command
line and classes for the Model (lines, files, subs), View (html, csv etc),
and Controller (composing views to form reports).

Add timing to sub calls by using save stack to trigger end of timing measurement?

Add resolution of __ANON__ sub names (eg imported 'constants') where possible.

Trim leading @INC portion from filename in __ANON__[/very/long/path/...]
in report output. (Keep full path in link/tooltip/title as it may be ambiguous when shortened).

Explain what's shown in html reports, ie say it's elapsed realtime.

Use 'Statements' or 'Stmts' instead of Calls in reports.

Only warn "No file line range data for sub' once per sub.
Add hint that it may be XS.
Could also note fact that it is XS in pp_entersub_profiler

Currently the line of only last BEGIN (or 'use') in the file are recorded.
Rename Foo::BEGIN subs to Foo::BEGIN[file:line]
(which matches the style used for Foo::__AUTO__[file:line])
Probably need to record or output the line range when the BEGIN 'sub' is entered.

Record $AUTOLOAD when AUTOLOAD() called
Perhaps as ...::AUTOLOAD[$AUTOLOAD]

Refactor this HACKING file!

Add docs for new options

Add docs for use_db_sub and explain pros & cons. Especially that opcode
redirection can't profile code that was loaded before NYTProf because
it only affects code that is *compiled* after it takes effect.
(Unless we want to traverse the existing compiled code and edit the ops in place :-)

Would be good if DB::DB sub wasn't defined when use_db_sub is false
so the profiler could be used to profile debuggers etc.

Add file format backwards compatibility tests.

Add tests for evals in regex: s/.../ ...perl code... /e

Add tests for -block and -sub csv reports.

Add tests with various kinds of blocks (if, do, etc) and loops.

Add links to -$level html reports to ease switching between them.

Set options via import so perl -d:NYTProf=... works. Very handy. May need
alternative option syntax. Also perl gives special meaning to 't' option
(threads) so we should reserve the same for eventual thread support.

Add help option which would print a summary of the options and exit

Add mechanism to specify options inside the .p file, such as

Add mechanism to specify inside the .p file that NYTProf
should not be loaded via the command line. That's needed to test
behaviors in environments where perl is init'd first. Such as mod_perl.
Then we can test things like not having the sub line range for some subs.

NYTProf.xs takes two time measurements per statement in order to hide the
overheads and avoid 'noise' in the results due to stdio flushing at
unpredictable moments. The subroutine inclusive timing currently has no way to
compensate for the same overheads. That can be fixed  as follows... The
statement profile code could measure the overhead time (by subtracting the two
times it takes) and accumulate it into a global. When a sub is entered
the inclusive timing code can take a copy of the current cumulative overhead.
When the subroutine exits the code can subtract the difference between the
original cumulative overhead and the current one.

Talking that further, the same approach may be able to provide *exclusive*
subroutine times. That would make NYTProf an even better sub-level profiler
and, when line-level profiling is disabled, the fastest profiler by far.

Add way to tell if were returning from the outermost scope, ie we're
in mod_perl and we're exiting a handler back to mod_perl. So any wait time
before the next statement shouldn't be counted.
Otherwise a some return, typically from a DESTROY, gets all the time spent
waiting for the next request. Which is inappropriate and confusing.

Add top-n statements to file reports between sub table and line table.

Pure css tooltips, with a :before or :after with content:, may let us add help notes to the
counts column to describe what the count is actually a count of, without
bloating the html.
The tricky/clever/new idea is that by nesting a span inside another and using
the :before or :after on the inner one the text of the popup can reside in css
and not html. Mind you, I've not seen anyone do this so I may be crazy :)

The data file includes the information mapping a line-level live to the
corresponding block-level and sub-level lines. This should be added to the data
structure. It would enable a much richer visualization of which lines have
contributed to the 'rolled up' counts. That's especially tricky to work out
with the block level view.

Following on from that I have a totally crazy idea that the browsers css engine
could be used to highlight the corresponding rollup line when hovering over a
source line, and/or the opposite. Needs lots of thought, but it's an interesting idea.

test14 depends on the AutoLoad module looking like version 5.60, the
version included with Perl 5.8.8.  Perl 5.8.9 and Perl 5.10.0 have
a more recent version.  Users can also now update AutoLoader from CPAN.
We need to skip test14 if using a different version of AutoLoader, and
make the tests a bit smarter with differing AutoLoader versions.  Steve
is looking into this.

Investigate and fix "Unable to determine line number" cases. Here's one:
$ NYTPROF=begin=1:blocks=1:trace=1 perl  -d:NYTProf -Mstrict -e 1
New fid  1 (after  0:1   ): -e /Users/timbo/perl/mods/nytprof-trunk/-e
New fid  2 (after  1:3   ): /usr/local/perl58-i/lib/5.8.6/strict.pm 
at 3: EVAL in different file (-e, /usr/local/perl58-i/lib/5.8.6/strict.pm) at /usr/local/perl58-i/lib/5.8.6/strict.pm line 3.
at 5: EVAL in different file (-e, /usr/local/perl58-i/lib/5.8.6/strict.pm) at /usr/local/perl58-i/lib/5.8.6/strict.pm line 5.
at 25: EVAL in different file (-e, /usr/local/perl58-i/lib/5.8.6/strict.pm) at /usr/local/perl58-i/lib/5.8.6/strict.pm line 25.
at 37: EVAL in different file (-e, /usr/local/perl58-i/lib/5.8.6/strict.pm) at /usr/local/perl58-i/lib/5.8.6/strict.pm line 37.
Unable to determine line number in -e.
Unable to determine line number in -e.

Add way for use to ask for pid to be embedded into the data file name
so that using PERL5OPT=-d:NYTProf and running multiple scripts
won't overwrite the same profile file each time. (Could also add way to embed
basename($0) into the filename)

Add option to disable statement based profiling, so you're left with subroutine
inclusive timing. That's *really* fast and would be handy for a quick check on
performance of a large application. It's also generates no i/o till the end
so may be useful for long running apps that would otherwise generate a huge data file.

Add tooltip to sub names where we can't provide a link because the sub is in XS.

Add a 'permalink' icon (eg infinity symbol) to the right of lines defining subs
to make it easer to email/IM links to particular places in the code.

Change from tracing via warn() to use our own function that, at least initially,
calls warn() while temporarily disabling the __WARN__ hook.

Profile and optimize report generation

Add title/tooltip to inclusive times (ie subroutine times) showing the percentage
of the total runtime it represents.