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Debugging and Profiling with Eclipse, Jetty, and Tomcat

I like to run my web container from the command line rather than from the IDE

 

Tab nameProperty nameProperty valueDescription
-NameTomcat (Pluto:8080)Can be any name you want to give it. Mine says what and where
ConnectProjecthl-wwwThis is your project name
ConnectConnection TypeStandard - Socket AttachConnect over a socket
ConnectConnection Properties : Hostpluto.healthline.comDNS name of the host, could be an IP address (I think)
ConnectConnection Properties : Port8787Same port as specified in address above
ConnectAllow termination of remote VMNoThis is really your choice, I just don't want it.
SourceSource Lookup PathSelect your projectThis is so you can see the sources as you debug
SourceSource Lookup PathSelect any other source jars you haveThis is so you can see the sources as you debug
CommonDisplay in Favorites MenuYesThis adds the config as a bookmark under the debug icon.

Deploy your app to the Tomcat container and restart Tomcat. In Eclipse, switch to the Debug perspective and a breakpoint in in your code (say a controller you want to call). In Eclipse's Debug perspective, [Alt]-[Shift]-B allows you to set (or unset) breakpoints at particular points in your code. Open up a browser and point to the page you want to debug. Bringing the page up will activate the debugger in Eclipse and you will see the code where you set the breakpoint being highlighted, with the top right corner containing the variables to be inspected. You can use [F6] through [F8] keys to step over, into and out of breakpoints. You probably know how to take it from here.

Remote Debugging with the Maven-Jetty plugin

Information for this comes from Dan Allen's blog post Remote Debugging with Jetty. Unlike Tomcat, this time you have to set the debugging parameters within MAVEN_OPTS since Maven runs its classworlds Launcher instead of Java. The MAVEN_OPTS need to be set in your configuration (either in your ~/.bash_profile or in a shell script that calls the mvn jetty6:run command). As before, if you already have other stuff in your MAVEN_OPTS, the stuff below needs to go after that.

export MAVEN_OPTS="-Xdebug -Xnoagent -Djava.compiler=NONE \
  -Xrunjdwp:transport=dt_socket,address=8781,server=y,suspend=n"

You also need to disable the Jetty maxIdleTime interval by setting it to 0. This is done in the pom.xml file like so:

<project ...>
  ...
  <build>
    <plugins>
      <plugin>
        <groupId>org.mortbay.jetty</groupId>
        <artifactId>maven-jetty6-plugin</artifactId>
        <configuration>
          <scanIntervalSeconds>10</scanIntervalSeconds>
          <connectors>
            <connector implementation=
"org.mortbay.jetty.nio.BlockingChannelConnector"> <port>8081</port> <maxIdleTime>0</maxIdleTime> </connector> </connectors> </configuration> <dependencies> <dependency> <groupId>org.apache.geronimo.specs</groupId> <artifactId>geronimo-j2ee_1.4_spec</artifactId> <version>1.0</version> <scope>provided</scope> </dependency> </dependencies> </plugin> </plugins> </build> </project>

On the Eclipse side, the setup is identical to the Tomcat setup described above. Simply change the name (mine is called Jetty (Pluto:8081)) and the port number of the listener to what you set it to in MAVEN_OPTS (mine is 8781).

Profiling

Recently, I needed to profile a web application I wrote. It was taking 4-8 seconds to serve a single page on a production class machine, compared to an expectation of about 40-80 milliseconds. Response times on my much less powerful development box, while not 40-80ms, were tolerable. My initial reaction was to put StopWatch calls within the handleRequest() method of the Controller, timing the blocks which I thought could do with improvement. That detected some places where it was spending more time than I thought it should, so I fixed those, but the pages were still dog slow on production. Moreover, it seemed that response times were degrading under load, and load on the database machines was spiking so as to make them almost unusable. What I needed was a profiler, but I did not know how to set one up, much less know how to run it and interpret the results.

However, good things sometimes happen to bad programmers, and our local performance guru was kind enough to set up a profiling instance on his Netbeans IDE (he is an IDEA user, but he uses Netbeans for its awesome profiling tool) and run a profile for me. It did identify several more hotspots in the code that could be optimized, and I fixed them. The performance did improve somewhat as a result, but we were still seeing spikes on the database machines.

The problem turned out to be contention for the same database resource with another web application, which I figured out by just thinking through it and looking through the code. However, the profiler output helped me weed out the unnecessary stuff quickly. So although the best way to find performance problems is still, in my opinion, just trolling through code coupled with an understanding of the program flow, a profiler makes the process much faster, because it has already told you what you are not looking for.

While I now know (thanks to the same guy who helped me out with the performance numbers before) how to do profiling with the Netbeans IDE, I wanted to do this from within Eclipse using the TPTP plugin, so what follows is my setup for doing that.

More Stories By Sujit Pal

Sujit Pal is a programmer who occasionally dabbles in technical management at Healthline Networks, Inc. - primary product, a taxonomy-driven health search engine. Healthline also builds web-based health tools and generates and hosts medical and health content on its site. His programming language of choice is Java, with Spring for web development and IoC, and Lucene for building the search engine. His scripting language of choice is Python. He loves solving problems and exploring different possibilities with open source tools and frameworks.

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