Using the NetBeans Profiler in Java

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To profile the SnowStorm application with the NetBeans profiler, select SnowStorm in the Run toolbar and then click the Profile button (See Figure 4-11 for the location of this button) The first time you do this, you will be prompted for permission to link the profiler to the projectApprove this, and then the Profile dialog, shown in Figure 4-23, will open Profiling always makes an application run more slowly because the process involves adding extra code to the functions and classes being monitored, which is executed as functions are called and as they returnThe profiler allows you to choose which parts of your application to profileThe less you profile, the lower the overhead will beThe Filter field in the Profiler window lets you choose which classes should be profiled By default, this will be only the classes in your project, and this is usually the best initial choice If necessary, you can rerun the profiling session with additional classes selected If you need even more profiling, you can define a filter that selects exactly the packages or the individual classes that are to be profiledThe Overhead indicator at the bottom of the Profile dialog indicates approximately how intrusive the selected level of profiling will be For the purposes of this example, accept the default that is, profile only your own project s classes and do not add any additional filtering
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Figure 4-23
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The NetBeans Profile dialog
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Having decided how much to profile, you next need to choose whether to examine your application s CPU utilization or its memory consumptionThis choice is made in the panel on the left side of the Profile dialogWe ll cover these two options separately The sections that follow cover only a small part of what can be done with the profiler I recommend that you read the documentation included with the IDE to find out more about this extremely powerful tool CPU Profiling To select CPU profiling, click anywhere in the CPU block in the Profile dialog, and then click Run Before NetBeans starts your application, it may need to perform a calibration operationWhen this is complete, your application will be run under the control of the profilerYou can interact with the profiler through the Profiler view, which is opened automatically and is shown in Figure 4-24 You can get a real-time view of the profiler s results by clicking the Live Results buttonThis shows which functions are consuming the greatest amount of CPU timeYou can see a snapshot of the results for the SnowStorm application in Figure 4-25 As you can see, the application is spending almost all of its time (97% of it) in the moveSnow() and addNewSnow() functionsThis is not really surprising, because the application is all about animating snowflakesThe percentages shown are the amount of time spent in each method, as a proportion of the time for which the application is runningThis does not mean that these functions are consuming 97% of your computer s available CPU time! To get a feel for exactly how much time it might be using, click the Thread button in the Profiler viewYou will be prompted to enable thread monitoring and then the thread-
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Profiling the SnowStorm Application
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Figure 4-24
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The NetBeans Profiler view
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Figure 4-25
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Live CPU profiling results
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monitoring pane, shown in Figure 4-26, will openAllow the application to run for a while so that enough profiling points are collected
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Figure 4-26
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The thread-monitoring pane
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JavaFX code runs entirely in the thread labeled AWT-EventQueue-0The background color (yellow onscreen) indicates the period of time for which this thread has been monitoredThe times at which the thread is actually running application code are indicated by green and red linesAs Figure 4-26 shows, there are comparatively few of these, because the code in the profiled functions runs so quickly that it hardly registersThis tells us that this application does not have a problem with CPU resource consumptionYou will notice that some threads have a continuous green line, which would appear to indicate that they are always running In fact, this is not the case It happens because the thread is executing native code (for example, blocked while reading a socket) and therefore appears to the profiler to be running As well as viewing live results, you can take a snapshot of performance data by clicking the Take Snapshot button Each snapshot appears as a tab in the editor area of the main windowYou can flick between tabs to compare snapshots or you can save a snapshot to a file so that it can be loaded back and analyzed later, using the Save buttons shown at the top left of Figure 4-27 Memory Profiling You can use the memory-profiling feature of the NetBeans profiler to investigate memory leaksThe SnowStorm application doesn t have any memory leaks, but it would if we had forgotten to remove a snowflake from the snowflakes sequence after it had reached the bottom of the sceneTo give ourselves a memory leak to look it, comment out line 126 of the file SnowStormfx, like this:
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124 125 if (snowflakecenterY >= sceneheight) { delete snowflake from scenecontent;
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