ptraced - ProAKT Trace Analyser
ProAKT tracefiles are known to be somewhat cryptic for staff new to the product. This is intentionally: the tracefiles are meant for 3rd level support staff and programmers that know exactly what to check for. Developers on the ProAKT team are free to add freeform traces for any purpose they see fit (pending peer review). This will not change in the future: traces are there to help programmers resolve hard issues in production, and not meant to provide 1st or 2nd level support staff with a big picture of what is going on - for that purposes, the regular journals (system journal, transaction journal) exist and should be used.
But sometimes you need to dig deeper. Sometimes 2nd level support wants to develop a basic understanding of what is going on, based on the traces. And before ptraced, the only real tool available for that was Notepad, which isn't very helpful.
So, we started writing this product that is basically a Scintilla-based text editor with addons relating to analysing and understanding ProAKT trace files.
Download and Installation
You can download the installer here. After downloading, just start the setup and let it guide you through the installation process - everything should be pretty self-explanatory.
Background: Understanding ProAKT traces
ProAKT tracefiles are plaintext files that come with a minimal structure: every trace entry comes with a header, and a body. Example:
[27.04.2016 11:38.19,108 13272 12200 INFO PASERVER.EXE] MainEventLoop() got signaled
The header is everything enclosed in square brackets. Here, the header is:
[27.04.2016 11:38.19,108 13272 12200 INFO PASERVER.EXE]
By default, it has the following layout
[DD.MM.YYYY HH:MM.SS,MMM THREADID PROCESSID LEVEL COMPONENT] For example, here the component is PASERVER.EXE and the level is (the very generic) INFO
The body is everything after the header up to including the next one. In our example it is:
MainEventLoop() got signaled
How tracefiles looks in ptraced
When you open a tracefile in ptraced, it might look something like this:
On the right side of the main window, you can see the actual tracefile content
- Headers are highlighted in blue, bodies are black. If the block has the level ERROR, it is highlighted in red.
- Line numbers are included to make it easier to refer to an entry
- You can add bookmarks (here, there is one on line 55) for entries that you want to come back to later in your analysis
On the left side, you can see four sections used to break down the tracefile
- The Module section lists all modules that occur in the tracefile. The % column shows you how much of the tracefile relates to a particular component.
- The Level section provides a filter for the LEVEL item in the header.
- The Thread section can be used to look at isolated threads.
- The Process section can be used to look at only one process (in case your tracefile has more than one)
In the above example you can see that there is a component CDMDUMMY (the simulated ATS device). If you want to see only trace entries relating to this component, untick all other items and keep only it. The result will be this:
On the right side also there is an additional window for "Smart Bookmarks". When ptraced reads a tracefile, it tries to identify special points of interest (in our example, PASERVER events and transactions) to allow you to quickly navigate between them. You can turn the window on/off with the F7 key or the View/Smart Bookmarks menu.
- At its heart, ptraced is a text editor. So you can do things you would expect from a text editor, like ... editing text! doing copy and paste, searching for text (Strg+F) and going places (Strg+G).
- You can drag & drop trace files to the ptraced main window to open them.
- You can use Ctrl+Mousewheel to change the font size in the editor
License and Support
ptraced is made available under the terms of the Simplified BSD License.
The product is made available free of charge, but without any support provided. For support and/or feature requests, please contact our sales team.
- Version 0.5.0 - released May 1st, 2016, this is the first public release of ptraced