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2002-01-29  John Levon  <moz@compsoc.man.ac.uk>

	* start this document
Design for new op_report

1. Why a re-design ?

It's worth asking why a re design is worth it. There are a number of reasons.
The current pp code is in part based on very old crappy code by me. As we have
rounded out our idea of what sort of use cases pp has, several "hack" solutions
have been added. Whilst the code generally works pretty well, there are several
things we would like to do that are made difficult by the current architecture.
For me, the code would be improved by taking a more object-oriented approach.

A redesign would prove advantageous because we now know a lot better what things
we want to do. Things like merge and diff can be built in to the design, rather
than bolt-plated on. Working code can still be used where sensible, but at the
same time we can do things like turning the symbol processing on its head, as
has been discussed before.

Whilst the current code works well, its maintainability is becoming suspect. These
are really problems at the design level. Hence I have started this document in
an attempt to provide a rationale for a new design, what we want to do, and how
we decide to do it.
Is this a radical re-write of everything ? I don't really think so. It is more a
sensible re-organisation of the "meat" code, and the addition of a flexible
architecture for triggering the "meat" code.
2. Design aims

This section will discuss our basic design aims for the pp code.

1) flexibility

We want to be as flexible as possible. For example, the design, the code, and the
interface should allow inspection of an arbitrary number of symbols, images, sessions,
etc. I should be able to do "op_time" on a subset of profiles and have the right

2) convenience

The user wants results not hassle. We should avoid, for example, requiring the user
to specify sample filenames. We should cope with failed bfd_openr's, etc.

3) performance

some of our operations are inherently slow, but this doesn't mean we should ignore

4) readability and clarity

The output should be readable and clear. Where possible, it should be machine-readable
as well. We should not output useless or misleading information (consider current
oprofpp -kl /lib/libc-2.2.2.so).
3. Feature requirements

Image summaries

The user should be able to request summaries of an arbitrary selection of images, with
percentages to match. These should (automatically ?) show attached shared library image
summaries where applicable.
Symbol summaries

The user should be able to request symbol-based summaries for an arbitrary number of
images. Sorting must be possible on a symbol basis. Anonymous symbols must be catered for
and displayed (including symbol-less images). Demangling must be supported in all cases.

Symbol details

The user should be able to request symbol profiles for an arbitrary number of symbols over
any set of images. This should include a raw output for further text processing. It should
include a disassemble option.

File range details

The user should be able to request profiles for an arbitrary interval in image profiles,
along with the usual disassembly options etc.


All operations must be capable of displaying all counters, including a calculated "total count"
across all counters. Any sorting operation must be able to arbitrarily sort by a particular
counter or the total.

Header checks

Headers must be checked and displayed. 

We must have simple support for specifying one or more sessions to operate on.


We must support merging of profiles for a given image. This includes merging profiles which are
not strictly incompatible (e.g. merge counter0 profile with counter1 profile)


The difference between two profiles of an arbitrary number of images should be possible. This
should be done on the symbol level to allow for changes in the image layout. Session diffs should
be possible on a summary and detailed level.

Source generation

We should be able to generate annotated source code and mixed source/asm for any input that makes sense.


We should allow for the arbitrary inclusion/exclusion of both images and symbols in all cases. We should
allow cut-off percentages as well (which do not affect the calculated relative percent).

4. Suggested interface

I think we should have one binary "op_report" that is used for everything.

We should support "./binary", "/bin/binary", and the sample file as we do right now
as identifying an image (share-samples is a special case here). We need arbitrary
inclusion and exclusion lists. Something like :

op_report ... --images ALL --exclude-images /lib/libc-2.2.so,./binary

Note the special case "ALL". We could perhaps support a "KERNEL", a "SHARED", etc.

For the shared-samples case, we need to consider how to deal with this. I think that :

op_report /my/bin

should by default consider its shared libraries. We may need to support a --merge,
or we could do it automatically. 

We can also add an :

	--ignore-images blah

option. This would process the images anyway, but not include their details in the out
put. (to clarify, --exclude-images affects the percentage counts, --ignore-images does not).
We can use the same for symbols.

op_report --symbols ALL --exclude-symbols fgetc --ignore-symbols blah / --ignore-less-than / --exclude-less-than

For sorting purposes, something like :

	--sort reverse,1

		list in reverse order, primarily by counter 1 value

	--sort t 

		sort by total value of counter 0 + counter 1 ...

	--sort i / --sort -s

		Make the primary sort image / symbol based.

For diffing :

op_report --diff -r 0 -r 1 /lib/libc.so

 The difference report for current session and session 1 of the image. Maybe need --merge too.
We want to be able to diff two library images from shared-samples I suppose - how would we go
about this ? maybe :

op_report --diff /bin/ls:/lib/libc.so /bin/make:/lib/libc.so

? Should we make them specifiable like this ?

Listing - without any calculations, what is available ? and simple stats. e.g. 

op_report --list ALL        (ALL is optional)

session3/ [Date XX/XX/2001 XX:XX, finished XX...]
	/lib/libc-2.2.so: X big, symbols found, counter setup was blah blah

I think an interface similar to this is pretty nice - it's simple and clear enough.
Shared samples is probably going to be the most confusing part. 
I saw an interesting thing on source forge for basic single-file monolithic SQL92 code
that doesn't require client/server. Would it be totally insane to populate such a database
like this ? It would allow truly arbitrary requests, and as a by-product would provide
the results caching that would be nice. Alternatively we can hand code a similar thing
just for caching results.

5. OO design

The primary object we have is the image. Every other object is related to one and exactly
one image. (Note I am treating the same symbol in different versions of the same image as
essentially separate, although during the diff we compare them).

	class image {
		string path;
		bfd bfd;
		list<profile> profiles;
Now each image has any number of profiles :

	class profile {
		image & image;
		sample_file file;
		session_nr session;
		container<symbol_profile> symbols;
		counters_t totals;

	class sample_file {
		void * mmap;
		// ... 
	class counters_t {
		ulong total;
		ulong val[OP_MAX_COUNTERS];
	class symbol_profile { 
		bfd_sym & sym;
		string pretty_name, name;
		ulong size;
		vector<counters_t> vals[size];
		counters_t totals;
So the class profile constructor will open and parse the sample file, creating the symbol_profile's
as necessary.

How to represent shared-samples relationship between primary image and shared libs (and kernel profile) ?
How to represent stuff for source annotation ?
The summaries are now simple iterators across images and profiles, that carry exclude info etc. as necessary.

The diff operation means pairing up symbols in two profiles to generate a new thing perhaps class profile_diff

Merging is probably the same operation in reverse.

Sorting operations is just sorting a container of profiles/symbol_profiles by the predicate.