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From "Rick Walker" <...@nildram.co.uk>
Subject Re: [GSoC2008] Write a graphical front-end for Harmony memory management
Date Sat, 12 Apr 2008 10:53:28 GMT
Hi PatrĂ­cia,

In my proposal, I elected just to integrate GCSpy with Harmony - I had
a chat with Richard Jones at Kent, who's responsible for GCSpy and has
a similar GSoC project running for JikesRVM, and discussed exactly how
far he thought I could get with it over the GSoC period. The
conclusions we came to from that discussion was that integrating
GCSpy, writing drivers for each GC, and then updating GCSpy itself to
include the latest changes made to the architecture
(http://pubs.doc.ic.ac.uk/GCspy/ has some information on that) was
possible. It's likely that the latter part would benefit from
communication with the JikesRVM project, to make sure that the GCSpy
servers (C++ for Harmony, Java for JikesRVM) are consistent.

Richard also stressed that it's very important that GCSpy have
negligible performance impact when the visualizer's not connected, and
suggested ways I could benchmark to check that this is the case.
I think that it's realistic to integrate GCSpy and test it properly
over the GSoC period, and I wrote up my proposal based on that, from a
deliverable-oriented perspective. While I'd definitely be interested
in longer-term involvement with Harmony if this summer goes to plan, I
felt that this was a sensible way to approach GSoC.

I didn't, then, look too deeply at writing Eclipse plugins, though I
did have a brief scan of the Rich Client Platform documentation. The
proposal I looked at from Jikes:
http://jira.codehaus.org/browse/RVM-388
discusses the possibility of adding GCSpy-style visualization to Tuning Fork:
http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/tuningfork
http://domino.watson.ibm.com/comm/research_projects.nsf/pages/metronome.tenedor.html
(has a link to their research paper on it too). You could extend
tuning fork to support GCSpy-style visualizations as a plugin. The
only problem is that while I think Tuning Fork's going to be released
as OSS, it isn't at the moment.

Perhaps a split of integrating GCSpy with Harmony vs developing a
better client as an eclipse plug in could work? I'm sure there are
other interesting ways of visualizing GC trace output, so there's
enough depth on that side too.

Rick

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