Geeks With Blogs
Simon Cooper Peering into the depths of .NET

So, one of our profilers has a problem. Red Gate produces two .NET profilers - ANTS Performance Profiler (APP) and ANTS Memory Profiler (AMP). Both products help .NET developers solve problems they are virtually guaranteed to encounter at some point in their careers - slow code, and high memory usage, respectively.

Everyone understands slow code - the symptoms are very obvious (an operation takes 2 hours when it should take 10 seconds), you know when you've solved it (the same operation now takes 15 seconds), and everyone understands how you can use a profiler like APP to help solve your particular problem. High memory usage is a much more subtle and misunderstood concept.

How can .NET have memory leaks?

The garbage collector, and how the CLR uses and frees memory, is one of the most misunderstood concepts in .NET. There's hundreds of blog posts out there covering various aspects of the GC and .NET memory, some of them helpful, some of them confusing, and some of them are just plain wrong. There's a lot of misconceptions out there. And, if you have got an application that uses far too much memory, it can be hard to wade through all the contradictory information available to even get an idea as to what's going on, let alone trying to solve it.

That's where a memory profiler, like AMP, comes into play. Unfortunately, that's not the end of the issue. .NET memory management is a large, complicated, and misunderstood problem. Even armed with a profiler, you need to understand what .NET is doing with your objects, how it processes them, and how it frees them, to be able to use the profiler effectively to solve your particular problem.

And that's what's wrong with AMP - even with all the thought, designs, UX sessions, and research we've put into AMP itself, some users simply don't have the knowledge required to be able to understand what AMP is telling them about how their application uses memory, and so they have problems understanding & solving their memory problem.

Ricky Leeks

This is where Ricky Leeks comes in. Created by one of the many...colourful...people in Red Gate, he headlines and promotes several tutorials, pages, and articles all with information on how .NET memory management actually works, with the goal to help educate developers on .NET memory management. And educating us all on how far you can push various vegetable-based puns. This, in turn, not only helps them understand and solve any memory issues they may be having, but helps them proactively code against such memory issues in their existing code.

Ricky's latest outing is an interview on .NET Rocks, providing information on the Top 5 .NET Memory Management Gotchas, along with information on a free ebook on .NET Memory Management. Don't worry, there's loads more vegetable-based jokes where those came from...

Cross posted from Simple Talk. Posted on Friday, May 4, 2012 3:30 PM | Back to top

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