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The Art of Unix Programming
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Unix Programming - Combining Tools with Emacs - Emacs and Profiling

Emacs and Profiling

Surprise...this is perhaps the only phase of the development cycle in which Emacs front-ending does not offer substantial help. Profiling is an intrinsically batchy operation — instrument your program, run it, view the statistics, speed-tune the code with an editor, repeat. There isn't much room for Emacs leverage in the profiling-specific parts of this cycle.

Nevertheless, there's a good tutorial reason for us to think about Emacs and profiling. If you found yourself analyzing a lot of profiling reports, it might pay you to write a mode in which a mouse click or keystroke on a profile report line visited the source of the relevant function. This actually would be fairly easy to do using the Emacs ‘tags’ code. In fact, by the time you read this, some other reader may already have written such a mode and contributed it to the public Emacs code base.

The real point here is again a philosophical one. Don't drudge — drudging wastes your time and productivity! If you find yourself spending a lot of time on the low-level mechanical parts of development, step back. Apply the Unix philosophy. Use your toolkit to automate or semi-automate the task.

Then give back something in return for all you've inherited, by posting your solution as open-source software to the Internet. Help liberate your fellow programmers from drudgery, too.


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The Art of Unix Programming
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