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Digging into a few callbacks and how you can obtain more information about an event

gabbersepp profile image Josef Biehler ・5 min read

Net-Profiler (5 Part Series)

1) Create a .NET profiler with the Profiling API - Start of an unexpected journey 2) How does a .NET profiler work? 3) How to debug a .NET profiler 4) Digging into a few callbacks and how you can obtain more information about an event 5) Trace 'function enter/leave' events with a .NET profiler + detect StackOverflow. Assembler code included!

A few callbacks explained

Until now we setup a simple profiler that is capable of logging every exception. Do you remember the output? It was just exception thrown, which may be useful but surely it will be much more useful if the exception name would be printed.

If you looked at several callback methods, you may have noticed, that often you get only an id. E.g. a FunctionId or a ClassId and such things. This makes sense as passing more information to the callbacks will increase the overall CPU & RAM load. On the other hand, you have to call a few methods to get more information. Unfortunately it is often not very obviously what kind of method you have to use. At least I found it a bit confusing. But maybe the whole process is documented somewhere in the .NET documentation 😄

To make your life easier, I will show you some use cases. I will not write too much about it. I mean, I'm only calling some functions in a very stupid manner. So if you have questions, please ask and I'll try to answer them.

ExceptionThrown callback

Let's take the example project from the last lesson. There we implemented the ExceptionThrown callback. As parameter you only get an ObjectID. Wouldn't it be nice if we could print the name of the exception? Let's do this.

Utils

I create an own class for the methods that retrieve more information about an event. Let's call it Utils. You should be aware that I will not write the most performant code and you may encounter a lot of things that could be improved. But be sure that all of this has been done for easier understanding.

Get class name by object ID

To get more information about an event, utilize the instance of type ICorProfilerInfo.

bool Utils::GetClassNameByObjectId(ObjectID objectId, char* output, ULONG outputLength) {
  ClassID classId;
  iCorProfilerInfo->GetClassFromObject(objectId, &classId);
  return this->GetClassNameByClassId(classId, output, outputLength);
}

bool Utils::GetClassNameByClassId(ClassID classId, char* output, ULONG outputLength) {
  ModuleID moduleId;
  mdTypeDef typeDefToken;
  IMetaDataImport* metadata;
  wchar_t* className = new wchar_t[outputLength];
  ULONG read = 0;

  HRESULT hresult = iCorProfilerInfo->GetClassIDInfo(classId, &moduleId, &typeDefToken);

  if (hresult < 0 || moduleId == 0) {
    return false;
  }

  hresult = iCorProfilerInfo->GetModuleMetaData(moduleId, ofRead, IID_IMetaDataImport, (IUnknown**)&metadata);
  hresult = metadata->GetTypeDefProps(typeDefToken, className, outputLength, &read, NULL, NULL);
  metadata->Release();

  memset(output, 0, outputLength);
  wcstombs(output, className, outputLength);
  delete[] className;
  return true;
}

The callback needs to call the utility class:

HRESULT __stdcall ProfilerCallback::ExceptionThrown(ObjectID thrownObjectID)
{
  char* className = new char[100];
  utils->GetClassNameByObjectId(thrownObjectID, className, 100);
  cout << "\t\nfrom profiler: exception thrown: " << className << "\r\n";
  delete[] className;
  return S_OK;
}

And this is the output:

ObjectAllocated callback

We can use the newly created utility method to print every allocated object. Set following flags: COR_PRF_MONITOR_OBJECT_ALLOCATED | COR_PRF_ENABLE_OBJECT_ALLOCATED.

And implement the callback:

HRESULT __stdcall ProfilerCallback::ObjectAllocated(ObjectID objectID, ClassID classID)
{
  char* className = new char[1000];
  if (utils->GetClassNameByClassId(classID, className, 1000)) {
    cout << "\t\nfrom profiler: class allocated: " << className << "\r\n";
  }
  delete[] className;
  return S_OK;
}

Retrieving stacktraces

Let's say you want to observe all allocations of type CatBowlEmptyException and print out the stacktrace so you know where this happened. Fortunately the Profiler API provides you the ICorProfilerInfo2::DoStackSnapshot method which requests a stacktrace of the current thread (or of another one, but I won't cover this here). It awaits a pointer to a function that is called for every frame in the stacktrace. The requesting and the providing of the frames are synchronous which means, the next line after DoStackSnapshot is executed after the last frame was reported.

Activate

You must use the flag COR_PRF_ENABLE_STACK_SNAPSHOT to be able to request snapshots:

 iCorProfilerInfo->SetEventMask(.... | COR_PRF_ENABLE_STACK_SNAPSHOT);

Signature of DoStackSnapshot

DoStackSnapshot( 
ThreadID thread,
StackSnapshotCallback *callback,
ULONG32 infoFlags,
void *clientData,
BYTE context[  ],
ULONG32 contextSize)
  • thread: You can pass 0 which means you want to retrieve the stacktrace of the current thread.
  • callback: See the discussion below
  • infoFlags: Indicates whether a context containing the CPU state should be passed to the callback. In our simple example we don't care, so use COR_PRF_SNAPSHOT_DEFAULT here
  • clientData: This is a pointer to anything you want to pass to the callback. You can use 0 if you don't want to pass anything.
  • context: 0 if you want to retrieve the stacktrace of the current thread
  • contextSize: also 0

Signature of the Callback

DoStackSnapshotCallback(
    FunctionID funcId,
    UINT_PTR ip,
    COR_PRF_FRAME_INFO frameInfo,
    ULONG32 contextSize,
    BYTE context[],
    void* clientData
)
  • funcId: The FunctionId which can be used to get the function name. It is 0 if the current frame is an unmanaged function call. For this blog post I skip that frame in those cases.
  • ip: Instruction pointer
  • frameInfo: To be honest, I have no idea what data resists in that struct and I have not found any definition of that struct.
  • contextSize, context: both will be null because we don't request them for this blog post
  • clientData: exactly that thing you could pass in DoStackSnapshot.

Getting the function name based on the FunctionID

Add a new function to Utils.cpp:

bool Utils::GetFunctionNameById(FunctionID functionId, char* output, ULONG outputLength) {
  IMetaDataImport* metadata;
  mdMethodDef methodToken;
  mdTypeDef typeDefToken;
  wchar_t* functionName = new wchar_t[1000];
  ULONG wcbCount;
  memset(functionName, 0, 1000);
  iCorProfilerInfo->GetTokenAndMetaDataFromFunction(functionId, IID_IMetaDataImport, (IUnknown**)&metadata, &methodToken);
  metadata->GetMethodProps(methodToken, &typeDefToken, functionName, 1000, &wcbCount, NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL, NULL);
  wcstombs(output, functionName, outputLength);
  metadata->Release();
  delete[] functionName;
  return true;
}

I assumed that the last parameters of GetMethodProps are all optional. At least this compiles and runs without errors :-)

Gimme the code - ObjectAllocated

We slightly adjust the ObjectAllocated callback:

HRESULT __stdcall ProfilerCallback::ObjectAllocated(ObjectID objectID, ClassID classID)
{
  char* className = new char[1000];

  if (utils->GetClassNameByClassId(classID, className, 1000)) {
    cout << "\t\nfrom profiler: class allocated: " << className << "\r\n";

    if (strcmp(className, "TestApp.CatBowlEmptyException") == 0) {
      char* stack = new char[1000];
      memset(stack, 0, 1000);
      SnapshotClientData clientData;
      clientData.pUtils = utils;
      clientData.stacktrace = stack;

      iCorProfilerInfo->DoStackSnapshot(NULL, &DoStackSnapshotCallback, COR_PRF_SNAPSHOT_DEFAULT, &clientData, 0, 0);
      cout << "stack:\r\n" << stack;

      delete[] stack;
    }   
  }

  delete[] className;
  return S_OK;
}

SnapshotClientData is a struct created by me to transport the Utils object and a pointer to the stack char array:

struct SnapshotClientData {
  Utils* pUtils;
  char* stacktrace;
};

Gimme the code - DoStackSnapshotCallback

HRESULT __stdcall DoStackSnapshotCallback(
  FunctionID funcId,
  UINT_PTR ip,
  COR_PRF_FRAME_INFO frameInfo,
  ULONG32 contextSize,
  BYTE context[],
  void* clientData
) {
  if (funcId == 0) {
    return S_OK;
  }

  SnapshotClientData* snapshotClientData = (SnapshotClientData*)clientData;
  char* output = snapshotClientData->stacktrace + strlen(snapshotClientData->stacktrace);
  output[0] = '\r';
  output[1] = '\n';
  output += 2;
  snapshotClientData->pUtils->GetFunctionNameById(funcId, output, 1000);

  return S_OK;
}

I manipulated the pointer output to append the next frame to output plus a new line. Not sure if this is considered to be best practice in C++ 😅

Please note that I added the callback not to the ProfilerCallback class because I did not succeed in passing a pointer to a member function into DoStackSnapshot.

Outcome

Given a weird and senseless program with some nested calls I get this output:

Summary

I showed you some use cases and how you can handle them. I hope you got a little insight into the process of event handling. In one of the next article we are taking a look at FunctionEnter and FunctionLeave stuff. But be aware to see some ASM code 😄 Also I try to retrieve the line number from a stack frame. We'll see if that works.

Additional Links

DoStackSnapshot


Found a typo?

As I am not a native English speaker, it is very likely that you will find an error. In this case, feel free to create a pull request here: https://github.com/gabbersepp/dev.to-posts . Also please open a PR for all other kind of errors.

Do not worry about merge conflicts. I will resolve them on my own.

Net-Profiler (5 Part Series)

1) Create a .NET profiler with the Profiling API - Start of an unexpected journey 2) How does a .NET profiler work? 3) How to debug a .NET profiler 4) Digging into a few callbacks and how you can obtain more information about an event 5) Trace 'function enter/leave' events with a .NET profiler + detect StackOverflow. Assembler code included!

Posted on May 15 by:

gabbersepp profile

Josef Biehler

@gabbersepp

I am a tall (1,95m) coding & drawing enthusiast that likes all type of coding and drawing cartoons. I like to work (coding & drawing) on the go with my surface #cypress #js #csharp

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