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GNUe Traffic #116 For 15 May 

Editor: Peter Sullivan

By Peter Sullivan

Table Of Contents


This newsletter mainly covers the the #gnuenterprise IRC channel, with occasional coverage of the three main mailing lists (gnue-announce, gnue and gnue-dev) for the GNU Enterprise project.

1. GNUe status

9 May  Archive Link: "[IRC] 09 May 2006"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Financials (Accounting), Forms, Designer

People: Nick RusnovJason Cater

It was asked how feasible it would be to put a GNUe implementation into production. Nick Rusnov (nickr) noted that "People are using it in production - well components of it" . Jason Cater (jcater) explained "most gnue implementations right now are using the form builder/interface components" . "if you are looking for a complete financials package, then GNUe is not ready for you" as of time of writing. However, "if you were looking for tools to easily build an interface to your own database, then gnue" might be suitable. It was more a framework for business/database application development rather than a shrink-wrapped package of applications as of time of writing.

2. Performance issues with Application Server and XML-RPC

10 May  - 12 May  Archive Link: "[IRC] 10 May 2006"

Summary By Peter Sullivan

Topics: Application Server

People: Malek Hadj-AliReinhard MüllerJohannes Vetter

Malek Hadj-Ali (lekma) reported "after benchmarking a little bit the appserver, i got some ugly results" . The bottleneck appeared to be in the XML-RPC (remote procedure call) code rather than in the application server itself. So Malek had "searched for an alternative to xmlrpc" and "finally found a spec for a binary rpc protocol, that was partly implemented in python" , called hessian. He "re implemented it in python" taking care "to keep the api" the same as for the existing XML-RPC used by GNUe. The "results are: the encoding part is slightly slower than xmlrpc - the decoding is way faster than xmlrpc - so on the overall hessian is faster" . However, Reinhard Müller (reinhard) was still concerned about the loss in performance compared to just running a query directly against the database - "xmlrpc adds an overhead of 20000% - and hessian adds an overhead of 6000% - which both are disgusting numbers :(" .

In any case, "the simple fact that appserver itself (without the rpc protocol) adds 4000 % overhead is not nice" - "what strikes me odd is that I think we did performance tests and they were acceptable" . Johannes Vetter (johannesV) wondered if "maybe the number of records was too low then" , noting that the GNUe Schema Definition (.gsd) format "has shown to be not very well suited for large files" . Malek confirmed that generating the gsd file seemed to be the bottleneck.

Malek sent his sample data and code to Johannes, who ran them himself, and got even more extreme results - just over a second for running a query directly against the database, and almost 18 minutes going via Application Server and XML-RPC. Malek said that he had dug into the code enough to determine that "the for loop in fetch is the killer" , but did not understand the GNUe code internals enough to progress any further. Reinhard said that the data from the database should only be being fetched once and then cached before being processed to XML-RPC - "it might be a good idea to check postgresql logs to see if the sql statements against the db are those that we would expect - acually finding out that a bug somewhere causes a new sql statement to be issued for every record would be an easy eplanation of the bad performance, and should be fixable - but i fear it's not that easy..." . Johannes confirmed from the database logs that only one SQL statement was being generated.

Johannes did some testing with hotshot, a high performance logging profiler for python, and was able to produce some statistics on what parts of the code were taking the most time to run.

The next day, Malek reported "my hessian impl seems to be now faster than xmlrpc in decoding and encoding (after a bit of tuning on unicode)" - also "it generates smaler messages which is good for network" . He confirmed there were no new external dependencies in the code - he had implemented the hessian protocol directly within the existing GNUe code base.

The next day, Reinhard developed further optimisation improvements. Previously, GNUe had been "using the same datasources library for forms and appserver" but this "had a lot of overhead that was only for forms - like tracking dirty records, caching, etc" . For Application Server, these sorts of issues were "anyway done in appserver itself" . So he had written a more 'raw' ResultSet function, removing this overhead, which Application Server could then use directly. He added "as a side effect, it should also greatly reduce the memory footprint" .

Also, he wondered if these optimisations "might also be interesting for reports, as AFAICT reports should also be able to work without that overhead" - except possibly "the missing master/detail ability might be a problem..." .

However, this was still "only a part of the performance loss in appserver" , which was still significantly slower than accessing the data directly using the psycopg database driver. Although GNUe Application Server was already faster, as of time of writing, than some other, slower, database drivers!

Reinhard said he would change Application Server's data access code to use "the new ResultSet.raw() function" he had written. He also made various other optimisations, not all of which yielded the expected results - "python profiling is full of surprises - changing a single" assignment statement into a simpler form "increased overall appserver performance by > 5%" !







Sharon And Joy

Kernel Traffic is grateful to be developed on a computer donated by Professor Greg Benson and Professor Allan Cruse in the Department of Computer Science at the University of San Francisco. This is the same department that invented FlashMob Computing. Kernel Traffic is hosted by the generous folks at All pages on this site are copyright their original authors, and distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2.0.