A poor man's Common Lisp profiler (08 Mar 2016)

In 2009, I parted with the CoCreate Modeling development team, but I still pay the occasional visit to SolidDesigner customer forums: First, it is heart-warming to find the product still in widespread use, and second, customer questions give me a great excuse to dabble in Lisp again - such as the question by forum member AlexG who was working on code which essentially was an early nucleus of a code profiler for Lisp.

Alex's original code used quite some Lisp magic, including the little-known symbol-function which I elaborated about long time ago. But the code did not quite work yet. I gladly took the challenge. and ended up with a few lines of Lisp code which could profile (almost) any Lisp function in the system. The technique I used was to wrap the original function definition in a lambda closure. That closure is then installed using symbol-function.

(in-package :clausbrod.de)
(export '(profile-function unprofile-function list-profiling-results))

(let ((profile-hashtable (make-hash-table))) (defun profile-function(func) "Instrument function for profiling"

;; check if symbol-plist already contains profiler flag (unless (get func :profile-original-symbol-function) (let ((original-symbol-function (symbol-function func))) (when original-symbol-function (setf (get func :profile-original-symbol-function) original-symbol-function) ;; mark as profiled

;; install profiler code (setf (symbol-function func) (lambda(&rest r) (let ((start-time (f2::seconds-since-1970))) (unwind-protect (if r (apply original-symbol-function r) (funcall original-symbol-function)) (let ((execution-time (- (f2::seconds-since-1970) start-time)) (accum (gethash func profile-hashtable))) (if accum (setf (gethash func profile-hashtable) (+ accum execution-time)) (setf (gethash func profile-hashtable) execution-time)) (format *standard-output* "~%Execution time for ~S: ~,10F~%" func execution-time)))))) ))))

(defun unprofile-function(func) "Remove profiling instrumentation for function" (let ((original-symbol-function (get func :profile-original-symbol-function))) (when (remprop func :profile-original-symbol-function) (setf (symbol-function func) original-symbol-function))))

(defun list-profiling-results() "List profiling results in order of decreasing accumulated execution times" (format *standard-output* "~%Accumulated execution times:~%") (let (table-as-list) (maphash (lambda(k v) (push (cons k v) table-as-list)) profile-hashtable) (dolist (pair (sort table-as-list #'> :key #'cdr)) (format *standard-output* "~S: ~,10F~%" (car pair) (cdr pair))))) )

(f2::win-open-console-window) (setf si::*enter-break-handler* t) (use-fast-links nil)

There are other profilers out there for Common Lisp, but it is not always straightforward to make them work in CoCreate Modeling which implements a subset of CLtL1 only. So who knows, maybe someone out there will actually find this useful! big grin

To profile a function:

  (clausbrod.de:profile-function 'my-function)

Now execute my-function at your heart's content. Every time the function is called, the profiler measures its execution time. When the test session is completed, accumulated execution times can be listed as follows:


And here is how to profile all functions in a given Lisp package:

  (do-external-symbols (s (find-package "FOO"))
    (when (function s)
      (clausbrod.de:profile-function s)))

My implementation differs almost entirely from Alex' version, which allows me to call it my own, but of course I owe thanks to Alex for starting the discussion in the forum and posting his original inspirational code!

The code is now available as a Github project, see https://github.com/clausb/lisp-profiler. There is even a simple GUI dialog on top of the low-level profiling code:


The version of the code shown above uses a SolidDesigner-specific way of getting the current time in high precision. The improved version in the Github project should work in other Lisp dialects as well. Fingers crossed.

CoCreate Modeling: Changing the current directory during startup (02 Nov 2015)

Way back in 2003, I posted an article called CoCreate Modeling alarm clock: Beep whenever a long-running command terminates. Besides reminding me of my age (sigh), the article served a useful purpose this week, as it illustrates a technique required to solve a problem which came up in a forum discussion the other day.

In the article, I showed how to subscribe to events in CoCreate Modeling (aka "PTC Creo Elements/Direct Modeling") for fun and profit. It turns out that this technique can also be applied to solve the following problem: In customization code which is loaded into CoCreate Modeling during startup, you want to set the user's default working directory to some default value specific to your environment or team.

You'd think that this should be trivial, as the current directory can be set using the IKIT's sd-set-current-working-directory API. But when you call this function during startup (i.e. from code in sd_customize, or in code loaded from there), you may find that other customization code or even CoCreate Modeling itself changes the current directory after your code runs. This is because CoCreate Modeling remembers the directory which was current before the user closed the last session. When you restart the application, it will try to "wake up" in precisely that working directory.

To override this behavior, here's a simple trick:

  • In sd_customize (or, preferably, in code loaded from there), register an event handler for the SD-INTERACTIVE-EVENT.
  • This event will be fired when startup has completed and the application becomes interactive.
  • In the event handler:
    • Set the current working directory as you see fit
    • Unregister from the event (we want one-shot behavior here)

And here is what event handler code like this would look like:

(in-package :de.clausbrod)
(use-package :oli)

(defun interactive-event-handler(&rest r)
  (sd-set-current-working-directory (user-homedir-pathname))
  (sd-unsubscribe-event *SD-INTERACTIVE-EVENT* 'interactive-event-handler))

(sd-subscribe-event *SD-INTERACTIVE-EVENT* 'interactive-event-handler)

This particular event handler sets the current working directory to the user's home directory, but this is of course just an example for a reasonable default.

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