Introducing Windows 7 for Developers in VB.NET

Encoding QR Code JIS X 0510 in VB.NET Introducing Windows 7 for Developers

356 Introducing Windows 7 for Developers
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user plugs in his new $10 USB mouse, every time a user opens a game a friend sent in an email message every time one of these things happens, the particular version of Windows running on the system loses control over the performance and reliability of the machine. This is why it takes a joint effort from you, fellow developers, to maintain a stable, reliable, fast, and efficient system for years to come, across multiple releases of Windows. This chapter deals with some ways to instrument your applications and the system as a whole and diagnose performance and correctness problems that prevent your users from performing their day-to-day tasks. Along with examining troubleshooting and diagnostics tools, we ll take a look at underlying improvements to background processing and power management on Windows, to see how our applications can cooperate with the system to deliver a better user experience.
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Instrumentation and Diagnostics
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Windows features a multitude of mechanisms that can assist you with the daunting task of diagnosing system-wide performance problems and troubleshoot hard-to-reproduce bugs. You already know that there s an amazing ecosystem for developers on Windows but the reason there are so many troubleshooting tools and approaches is that the developers of Windows use them every day to ensure that the operating system we re all using is fast and reliable. Even if you don t intend to use these tools right now to troubleshoot, monitor, or instrument your applications, you should plan your development accordingly so that maintenance programmers, system administrators, and support personnel can take advantage of the troubleshooting features Windows has to offer when your application is deployed in the field. The subsequent sections will show you how to accomplish some of these tasks. There are several topics that this chapter doesn t spell out, but don t despair fortunately, there is a vast amount of documentation and online material that can guide you through these features of Windows.
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Note You might notice that some, if not most, of the features discussed in this section are not new to Windows 7. This might be surprising considering the title of the book and the fact that lots of interesting material was cut to leave room for this humble chapter. However, this reflects the authors deep conviction that understanding of instrumentation, monitoring, diagnostics, and troubleshooting tools and techniques is vital for any Windows developer, and especially so on Windows 7.
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Performance Counters
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Performance counters are a simple yet very powerful mechanism that has been part of Windows for more than 15 years. They provide monitoring information that can give you
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Rediscover the Fundamentals: It s All About Performance
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insight about the system s performance as a whole, as well as the health of a particular component in a specific application. Performance counters, like many other diagnostic mechanisms in Windows, are exposed by system components but can be enhanced by individual frameworks or applications. The architecture of the performance-counter mechanism is roughly the following. Objects that you categorize as classes or types are called performance objects or performance counter categories. Within each category you find performance counters these are the properties or fields of a class. Finally, like every class, there might be more than one instance of a performance object and that s a performance counter instance. Here are some examples of useful performance counters: Processor % User Time, % Privileged Time (instances for each logical processor) Avg. Disk Queue Length (instances for each physical disk) # Bytes in All Heaps (instances for each managed application)
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Physical Disk
.NET CLR Memory TCPv4
Connections Active (singleton)
Windows ships with dozens of performance counter categories, and external frameworks augment this set with their own diagnostic information. For example, ASP.NET features its own performance counters, Microsoft SQL Server has its own, and even individual applications might have performance counters for diagnostic and monitoring purposes. The most obvious limitation of performance counters is that the information you can provide through this mechanism is restricted to numeric types only. For example, you can easily report the number of users logged on to your server, the percent of connections that were dropped, and even the rate of a physical event occurring. However, you can t render a report containing strings or other complex data types, and the maximum nesting of the report is limited to the category instance counter hierarchy. Despite these limitations, performance counters are an extremely popular and useful mechanism, primarily because the means to consume performance information ships with Windows and doesn t require any additional installation which is extremely useful when diagnosing problems in the field. The Performance Monitor utility (perfmon, also accessible from the Administrative Tools area of the Control Panel) is your primary tool to work with performance counters. By adding performance counters to the main view, you can use the Line, Histogram, or Report views to see the data flowing live onto the screen, and then you can configure the sampling time interval for the counters of interest.
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