Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Benefits of call stack tree

Call Stack Tree provides 3 wonderful benefits:
  1. One simplified view
  2. Performance Optimization
  3. Accurate Smoke Test

Let’s discuss them in detail in this article.

1. One simplified view

Thread dumps are the snapshot of all threads running in the application at given moment. Thread dump will have hundreds/thousands of application threads. It would be hard to scroll through every single line of the stack trace in every single thread. Call Stack Tree consolidates all the threads stack trace into one single tree and gives you one single view. It makes the thread dumps navigation much simpler and easier. Below is the sample call stack tree generated by

                                            Fig 1: Call stack Tree

You can keep drilling down to see code execution path. Fig 2 shows the drilled down version of a particular branch in the Call Stack Tree diagram.

                                            Fig 2: Drilled down Call Stack Tree

Call Stack Tree shows you the class name, method name, and line of the code that has been executed and the number of threads that have executed the line of code.

                                     Fig 3: A single element from Call Stack Tree

From the above element in the Call Stack Tree, you can identify that call() method in is executed by 9 threads.

2. Performance Optimization

Methods that are executed by the most number of threads make up the critical code path of your application. Call Stack Tree provides you the most executed methods stats of your application. We have observed that less than 5% of methods in your overall application accounts for more than 90% of code execution. Thus, if you can optimize this 5% of methods, you can improve entire application’s performance significantly. It gives you the best ROI.

3. Accurate Smoke Test Suite

When you write smoke tests, you need to make sure to exercise most critical methods of the application. Call Stack tree shows you most executed methods of your application. Thus, Call Stack Tree facilitates you to write highly targeted unit tests to exercise the critical methods and making your application robust for production deployment. This sort of accurate test suite reduces over-all test execution time. It can also reduce the test data setup time in the backend systems. You can also integrate these tests into your CI/CD pipeline as well.

Author bio:

Every single day, millions & millions of people in North America—bank, travel, and commerce—use the applications that Ram Lakshmanan has architected. Ram is an acclaimed speaker in major conferences on scalability, availability, and performance topics. Recently, he has founded a startup, which specializes in troubleshooting performanceproblems.