I just downloaded ANTS Profiler 7.4 to check how fast it is and how deep I can analyze the startup of Visual Studio 2012. The Pro version which is useful does cost 445€ which is ok. To measure a complex system I decided to simply profile VS2012 (Update 1) on my older Intel 6600 2,4GHz with 3 GB RAM and a 32 bit Windows 7. Ants Profiler is really easy to use. So lets try it out.
The Ants Profiler does want to start the profiled application by its own which seems to be rather common. I did choose Method Level timing of all managed methods. In the configuration menu I did want to get all call stacks to get full details. Once this is configured you are ready to go.
After that you can select the Method Grid to view Wall Clock Time in ms. I hate percentages which are on by default because I do want to look where absolute time is spent and not something else.
From the Method Grid I can drill down to see where time is spent in a nice and I can look at the decompiled methods where the time is spent.
This does really look nice. But did you see the size of the scroll bar in the method grid? Although I wanted all call stacks I do get only about 4 pages of methods to drill down. From the scroll bar count I would guess that the profiler does show me about 150 methods for the complete VS startup.
Update: I did miss to uncheck the checkbox Hide Insignificant methods. Sorry about that one. After that I do get a reasonable method list. Yes I am aware that I can attach to a process later but then I do get only sampled call stacks and not full details like
with tracing which is much better.
This is nonsense. I will never find a bottleneck in VS when I am presented only a fraction of the methods that were actually executed. I have also tried in the configuration window to also profile the extremely trivial functions but there was no noticeable difference. It seems that the Ants Profiler does filter away way too many details to be useful for bigger systems.
If you want to optimize a CPU bound operation inside NUnit then Ants Profiler is with its line level timings a very nice tool to work with. But for bigger stuff it is certainly not usable. I also do not like that I must start the profiled application from the profiler UI. This makes it hard to profile processes which are started by some other process.
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