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12.5 Profiling Your awk Programs

You may produce execution traces of your awk programs. This is done by passing the option --profile to gawk. When gawk has finished running, it creates a profile of your program in a file named awkprof.out. Because it is profiling, it also executes up to 45% slower than gawk normally does.

As shown in the following example, the --profile option can be used to change the name of the file where gawk will write the profile:

gawk --profile=myprog.prof -f myprog.awk data1 data2

In the above example, gawk places the profile in myprog.prof instead of in awkprof.out.

Here is a sample session showing a simple awk program, its input data, and the results from running gawk with the --profile option. First, the awk program:

BEGIN { print "First BEGIN rule" }

END { print "First END rule" }

/foo/ {
    print "matched /foo/, gosh"
    for (i = 1; i <= 3; i++)
        sing()
}

{
    if (/foo/)
        print "if is true"
    else
        print "else is true"
}

BEGIN { print "Second BEGIN rule" }

END { print "Second END rule" }

function sing(    dummy)
{
    print "I gotta be me!"
}

Following is the input data:

foo
bar
baz
foo
junk

Here is the awkprof.out that results from running the gawk profiler on this program and data. (This example also illustrates that awk programmers sometimes get up very early in the morning to work.)

    # gawk profile, created Thu Feb 27 05:16:21 2014

    # BEGIN block(s)

    BEGIN {
 1          print "First BEGIN rule"
    }

    BEGIN {
 1          print "Second BEGIN rule"
    }

    # Rule(s)

 5  /foo/ { # 2
 2          print "matched /foo/, gosh"
 6          for (i = 1; i <= 3; i++) {
 6                  sing()
            }
    }

 5  {
 5          if (/foo/) { # 2
 2                  print "if is true"
 3          } else {
 3                  print "else is true"
            }
    }

    # END block(s)

    END {
 1          print "First END rule"
    }

    END {
 1          print "Second END rule"
    }


    # Functions, listed alphabetically

 6  function sing(dummy)
    {
 6          print "I gotta be me!"
    }

This example illustrates many of the basic features of profiling output. They are as follows:

The profiled version of your program may not look exactly like what you typed when you wrote it. This is because gawk creates the profiled version by “pretty printing” its internal representation of the program. The advantage to this is that gawk can produce a standard representation. The disadvantage is that all source-code comments are lost. Also, things such as:

/foo/

come out as:

/foo/   {
    print $0
}

which is correct, but possibly surprising.

Besides creating profiles when a program has completed, gawk can produce a profile while it is running. This is useful if your awk program goes into an infinite loop and you want to see what has been executed. To use this feature, run gawk with the --profile option in the background:

$ gawk --profile -f myprog &
[1] 13992

The shell prints a job number and process ID number; in this case, 13992. Use the kill command to send the USR1 signal to gawk:

$ kill -USR1 13992

As usual, the profiled version of the program is written to awkprof.out, or to a different file if one specified with the --profile option.

Along with the regular profile, as shown earlier, the profile includes a trace of any active functions:

# Function Call Stack:

#   3. baz
#   2. bar
#   1. foo
# -- main --

You may send gawk the USR1 signal as many times as you like. Each time, the profile and function call trace are appended to the output profile file.

If you use the HUP signal instead of the USR1 signal, gawk produces the profile and the function call trace and then exits.

When gawk runs on MS-Windows systems, it uses the INT and QUIT signals for producing the profile and, in the case of the INT signal, gawk exits. This is because these systems don’t support the kill command, so the only signals you can deliver to a program are those generated by the keyboard. The INT signal is generated by the Ctrl-C or Ctrl-BREAK key, while the QUIT signal is generated by the Ctrl-\ key.

Finally, gawk also accepts another option, --pretty-print. When called this way, gawk “pretty prints” the program into awkprof.out, without any execution counts.

NOTE: The --pretty-print option still runs your program. This will change in the next major release.


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