Memory Cities: Visualizing Heap Memory Evolution Using the Software City Metaphor
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
2020 Working Conference on Software Visualization (VISSOFT)
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
Tool support is essential to help developers in understanding the memory behavior of complex software systems. Anomalies such as memory leaks can dramatically impact application performance and can even lead to crashes. Unfortunately, most memory analysis tools lack advanced visualizations (especially of the memory evolution over time) that could facilitate developers in analyzing suspicious memory behavior.In this paper, we present Memory Cities, a technique to visualize an application?s heap memory evolution over time using the software city metaphor. While this metaphor is typically used to visualize static artifacts of a software system such as class hierarchies, we use it to visualize the dynamic memory behavior of an application. In our approach, heap objects can be grouped by multiple properties such as their types or their allocation sites. The resulting object groups are visualized as buildings arranged in districts, where the size of a building corresponds to the number of heap objects or bytes it represents. Continuously updating the city over time creates the immersive feeling of an evolving city. This can be used to detect and analyze memory leaks, i.e., to search for suspicious growth behavior. Memory cities further utilize various visual attributes to ease this task. For example, they highlight strongly growing buildings using color, while making less suspicious buildings semi-transparent.We implemented memory cities as a standalone application developed in Unity, with a JSON-based interface to ensure easy data import from external tools. We show how memory cites can use data provided by AntTracks, a trace-based memory monitoring tool, and present case studies on different applications to demonstrate the tool?s applicability and feasibility.