By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2007-11-26 Print this article Print

: Profiling the Cloud"> Livshits said developers also can take an application and partition it into stubs and run simple benchmarks to determine the profile of users. These profiles will help determine which versions of an application to show to users. Moreover, although the issue of performance profiling is important to developers, the end-to-end capability of Rotunda is what sets it apart. "With this end-to-end capability you get a much clearer picture than if you had to do it [profile] on each individual tier," Livshits said.
Another idea Livshits has for Rotunda is profiling in a data-driven fashion, he said, such as the GNU Profiler, also known as gprof, and the Eclipse profiler.
"In Web applications, the normal way to look at things is by data flow," Livshits said. "If you follow data instead of control flow you get a much more streamlined picture. And with a three-tier Web app its all about the data -- youd be producing a picture much more inline with what an architect would be looking at." Although Rotunda is a relatively short-lived project—Livshits started it in May—it quickly caught the attention of Meijer and the Volta team, which helped the effort gain some attention in the Microsoft product groups, namely developer division folks. The effort grew out of Livshits work on another Microsoft Research project known as Ajax View. The goal of the Ajax View project is to improve developers visibility into and control over their Web applications behaviors on users desktops, according to an overview of the project on the MSR site. "The Ajax View approach is to insert a server-side proxy (or Web server plug-in) in-between the Web server machines and the end-users browser," the MSR overview said. "This proxy captures the Web applications JavaScript code as it is being sent to a browser and rewrites the code to insert extra instrumentation code. The injected instrumentation code runs with the rest of the Web application inside the end-users browser and can capture performance, call graph, application state and user interaction information, providing visibility directly into the last hop of the users experience." However, Ajax View "is a very general platform," Livshits said. "After working on it I decided to focus on performance and that led me to Rotunda." Rotunda is but another in Microsofts and Livshits efforts to slay the "three headed dragon: reliability, performance and security," Livshits said. He said challenges in these areas are being addressed over time. For instance, buffer overruns were "the cause of the 90s" in the bug world. "Now theyre less common because better languages have been adopted" and other related issues. "We want to get to the point where we can enable secure-by-construction software," Livshits said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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