[erlang-questions] Erlang tracing

Michael L Martin mmartin4242@REDACTED
Mon Sep 21 20:58:31 CEST 2015

I recently tried tracing, and really couldn't figure out how to make it 
work for my needs. What I would like to be able
to do is to turn tracing on for particular modules/functions in my top 
level app.erl module, rather than attach to a running
application and starting tracing there. If that's already possible, I 
couldn't find a way to do it. It would also be very, very
helpful to see from where the function was called - I think someone else 
has already requested that.


On 09/21/2015 03:52 AM, Lukas Larsson wrote:
> Hello everyone.
> As you may know, one of the OTP teams focus areas for the coming year 
> is make tracing better. At the moment we are gathering ideas and 
> attempting to put together a vision of what we would like to have, 
> before deciding what we can make.
> I'm pretty sure that many of you have much more experience with using 
> Erlang tracing while developing and in production than I do, which is 
> we would love to have your input as to what you would like to change 
> about tracing.
> To set the scope of the discussion, when I say tracing I include; 
> erlang tracing, dtrace/systemtap, trace outputs (stdout/file/IP), 
> filtering through match specs, sequence tracing, tool integration 
> (dbg, fprof, redbug, recon to mention some) and probably more.
> To start the discussion, here are a few of my ideas in no particular 
> order:
>   * Allow multiple tracers. Today only one port/process can be the 
> receiver of trace data.
>   * Create a couple of scalable high throughput tracing output 
> backends with different overflow mechanics. Today all tracing is 
> funneled through one bottleneck and has no overflow handling at all.
>   * Expose vm probes (today dtrace probes) to the erlang tracer.
>   * Better integration of dtrace/lttngt/systemtap into the erlang trace.
>   * Allow the erlang tracer to be an Erlang callback module. Today 
> only ports/processes are allowed.
>   * Optimize trace output to file/ip. Maybe use something like the 
> Common Trace Format 
> (http://git.efficios.com/?p=ctf.git;a=blob_plain;f=common-trace-format-specification.md;hb=master), 
> instead of the term_to_binary that we have today.
>   * Write much much better documentation for dbg :)
> We are looking for feedback from both beginners as well as seasoned 
> veterans to make erlang tracing the best it can be. So if you have any 
> thoughts or ideas, join the discussion to make Erlang tracing better 
> for you and everyone else.
> Thanks in advance,
> Lukas
> Erlang/OTP team
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