Chime Webcast

Today, a webcast of Chime made the "This Week..." section at the top of the Solaris Developer Center page. It also appeared at the top of the Solaris Developer Web/Video casts, and you can view the webcast here (22 min 28 sec).

The demo covers many features of Chime, a visualization tool for DTrace, including a recent feature that lets you generate displays dynamically from the command line using -n, -s, -x, and -Z options of the dtrace(1M) command and save them with the -w option. Saved displays can be further improved using a wizard.

Some comments on the demo:
  • Screen space was pretty constrained because of what fits in the viewer. I did the best I could.
  • The total row seen in the "Interrupt Statistics" display is even better than what I showed because it never scrolls out of view. I forgot to demonstrate that by changing the height of the window.
  • Alert viewers may notice a few minor bugs that I fixed in version 1.4.22 (08 Feb 2007) shortly after the demo. Also, the tooltips that occasionally appear over list items have been improved so that they appear only when needed, when the item does not fit completely in the view pane. (Tooltips over table data in Chime have always had this optimized behavior.)
If you're patient and watch to the end, you'll see the only example currently in existence of how to enable drilldown in displays you create. Drilldown depends on program placeholders, which you'll see in the "Set DTrace Program" step of the wizard. Regarding the syntax of these placeholders (more completely described here), I decided to err on the side of excessively wacky in order to avoid any conflict with D syntax. Chime expands these placeholders before the program is compiled by DTrace. As demonstrated, there are right-click menu items to simplify the task of inserting these placeholders in your program. The decision tree in the "Add Drilldown Support" screen can be as complex as you want to better answer questions prompted by the display.

Well, enough fussing from me. I hope you enjoy the webcast! :-)
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