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ruby-prof 0.4.1-2
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= ruby-prof

== Overview

ruby-prof is a fast code profiler for Ruby.  Its features include:

* Speed - it is a C extension and therefore many times faster than the standard Ruby profiler.
* Flat Profiles - similar to the reports generated by the standard Ruby profiler
* Graph profiles - similar to GProf, these show how long a method runs, which methods call it and which methods it calls.
* Threads - supports profiling multiple threads simultaneously
* Recursive calls - supports profiling recursive method calls
* Reports - can generate both text and cross-referenced html reports
* Output - can output to standard out or to a file


== Requirements

ruby-prof requires Ruby 1.8.2 or higher.

If you are running Linux or Unix you'll need a C compiler so the extension
can be compiled when it is installed.

If you are running Windows, then install the Windows specific RubyGem which
includes an already built extension.


== Install

ruby-prof is provided as a RubyGem.  To install:

<tt>gem install ruby-prof</tt>

If you are running Windows, make sure to install the Win32 RubyGem which 
includes a pre-built binary.

== Usage

There are three ways of running ruby-prof.

=== ruby-prof executable

The first is to use ruby-prof to run the Ruby program
you want to profile.  For more information refer to
the ruby-prof documentation[link:files/bin/ruby-prof.html].

=== ruby-prof API

The second way is to use the ruby-prof API to profile
particular segments of code.  

  require 'ruby-prof'
  
  # Profile the code
  RubyProf.start
  ...
  [code to profile]
  ...
  result = RubyProf.stop
  
  # Print a flat profile to text
  printer = RubyProf::TextPrinter.new(result)
  printer.print(STDOUT, 0)
	
Alternatively, you can use a block to tell ruby-prof what
to profile:

  require 'ruby-prof'
  
  # Profile the code
  result = RubyProf.profile do
    ...
    [code to profile]
    ...
  end
  
  # Print a graph profile to text
  printer = RubyProf::GraphPrinter.new(result)
  printer.print(STDOUT, 0)

  
=== require unprof

The third way of using ruby-prof is by requiring unprof.rb:

	require 'unprof'

This will start profiling immediately and will output the results
using a flat profile report.

This method is provided for backwards compatibility.  Using
{ruby-prof}[link:files/bin/ruby-prof.html] provides more flexibility.
  

== Reports

ruby-prof can generate flat profile and graph profile reports.

Flat profiles show the overall time spent in each method.  They
are a good of quickly identifying which methods take the most time.
An example of a flat profile and an explanation can be found in
{examples/flat.txt}[link:files/examples/flat_txt.html].

Graph profiles also show the overall time spent in each method.
In addition, they also show which methods call the current
method and which methods its calls.  Thus they are good for
understanding how methods gets called and provide insight into
the flow of your program.  Graph profiles can be generated
in text and html.  Since the html is cross-referenced it is
easier to work with.  An example text graph profile
is located at {examples/graph.txt}[link:files/examples/graph_txt.html] while
an example html graph file is located at 
{examples/graph.html}[link:files/examples/graph_html.html].

Reports are created by printers.  The current printers include:
* RubyProf::FlatPrinter - Creates a flat report in text format
* RubyProf::GraphPrinter - Creates a call graph report in text format
* RubyProf::GraphHtmlPrinter - Creates a call graph report in HTML (separate files per thread)

To use a printer:

  result = RubyProf.end
  printer = RubyProf::GraphPrinter.new(result)
  printer.print(STDOUT, 0)

The first parameter is any writable IO object such as STDOUT or a file.
The second parameter, which has a default value of 0, specifies 
the minimum percentage a method must take to be printed.  For more
information please see the documentation for the different printers.


== Timing Data

Depending on the mode and platform, ruby-prof can measure time in 
three ways - process time, wall time and cpu time.

Process time measures the time used by a process between any two moments.
It is unaffected by other processes concurrently running 
on the system. Note that Windows does not support measuring process
times - therefore, all measurements on Windows use wall time.

Wall time measures the real-world time elapsed between any two moments.
If there are other processes concurrently running on the system
that use significant CPU or disk time during a profiling run
then the reported results will be too large.

CPU time uses the CPU clock counter to measure time.  The returned
values are dependent on the correctly setting the CPU's frequency.
This mode is only supported on Pentium or PowerPC platforms.

To set the clock_mode:

	RubyProf.clock_mode = RubyProf::PROCESS_TIME
	RubyProf.clock_mode = RubyProf::WALL_TIME
	RubyProf.clock_mode = RubyProf::CPU_TIME

This default value is PROCESS_TIME.

You may also specify the clock_mode by using the RUBY_PROF_CLOCK_MODE
environment variable:

	export RUBY_PROF_CLOCK_MODE=process
	export RUBY_PROF_CLOCK_MODE=wall
	export RUBY_PROF_CLOCK_MODE=cpu
	
Note that these values have changed since ruby-prof-0.3.0.	

On Linux, process time is measured using the clock method provided 
by the C runtime library. Note that the clock method does not
report time spent in the kernel or child processes and therefore
does not measure time spent in methods such as Kernel.sleep method.
If you need to measure these values, then use wall time.  Wall time
is measured using the gettimeofday kernel method.

On Windows, timings are always wall times.  If you set the clock 
mode to PROCESS_TIME, then timing are read using the clock method
provided by the C runtime library.  Note though, these values are
wall times on Windows and not process times like on Linux.
Wall time is measured using the GetLocalTime API.

On both platforms, cpu time is measured using the RDTSC assembly
function provided by the Pentium and PowerPC platforms. CPU time
is dependent on the cpu's frequency.  On Linux, ruby-prof attempts 
to read this value from "/proc/cpuinfo."  On Windows, you must
specify the clock frequency.  This can be done using the
RUBY_PROF_CPU_FREQUENCY environment variable:

	export RUBY_PROF_CPU_FREQUENCY=<value>
	
You can also directly set the cpu frequency by calling:

	RubyProf.cpu_frequency = <value> 


== Recursive Calls

Recursive calls occur when method A calls method A and cycles
occur when method A calls method B calls method C calls method A.
ruby-prof can detect recursive calls any cycle calls, but does not
currently report these in its output.

However, the self time values for recursive calls should always 
be accurate.  It is also believed that the total times are
accurate, but these should be carefully analyzed to verify their veracity.

== Performance

Significant effort has been put into reducing ruby-prof's overhead
as much as possible.  Our tests show that the overhead associated
with profiling code varies considerably with the code being
profiled.  On the low end overhead is around 10% while on the
high end its can around 80%.

== Windows Binary

The Windows binary is built with the latest version of MinGW.


== License

See LICENSE for license information.