Tracing and Profiling#

The kw project offers two complimentary functionalities:

  1. Production of tracing reports of kw executions.

  2. Generation of execution profiles using a tracing report for deep analysis.

How to produce tracing reports#

To produce tracing reports for every kw execution, you simply have to install it like this:

./ --install --enable-tracing

By installing kw in this manner, every run of kw produces a directory ${XDG_DATA_HOME}/kw/tracing/<timestamp>, where <timestamp> corresponds to the timestamp of when the run started in the format YYYY-MM-DD_HH-MM-SS. This directory stores CSV files that form the tracing report.

As we can have an execution creating other parallel processes/threads, the aforementioned directory houses a dedicated CSV file for each of these processes/threads following the format <thread_number>.csv, with the main one always being 0.csv.

As an example, an execution that spins three other processes/threads, besides the main one, and that started on October 18 2023 at 14:42:34 would produce the following hierarchy:

                            -- 0.csv
                            -- 1.csv
                            -- 2.csv
                            -- 3.csv

What type of tracing report is produced?#

The objective of the tracing report is to describe the flow of execution considering only functions defined inside the kw project. Below, is an excerpt of the tracing report of an execution:


By the above, we can see that the execution made a first call to include, then (inside the first call) made a second call to include and returned, then made a call to get_valid_signals and returned, then, finally, returned from the first call of include. The numbers at the end of each line are the timestamp of the event in nanoseconds, which allows us to measure the time spent in each stage of the flow of execution.


include and get_valid_signals are functions defined inside the kw project.

How to generate execution profiles#

To generate execution profiles of a tracing report produced by kw, use the script scripts/, like the following:

./scripts/ (--full|--summary) <tracing_report>

<tracing_report> is the path to a tracing report like the one described in the above sections.

The –full and –summary options are the two types of profiles currently supported. The former generates a more visual way to analyze the flow of execution and the latter generates a summary of time spent (in nanoseconds) in each of the functions the execution has passed through.

Using the tracing report excerpt shown in the last section, and considering that it is stored in the path $tracing_report, running:

./scripts/ --full "$tracing_report"

would generate:

--> include
  3.362 milliseconds
  --> include
    4.189 milliseconds
  <-- include
  1.898 milliseconds
  --> get_valid_signals
    8.725 milliseconds
  <-- get_valid_signals
  2.210 milliseconds
<-- include

while running:

./scripts/ --summary "$tracing_report"

would generate: