ANTS Profiler Adds VS2005, .NET 3.0 Support

Red Gate Software Ltd.'s ANTS Profiler version 3 enables speedier performance by exposing slow .NET code.

Sometimes your Web applications and databases have been optimized, but performance is still slow. Performance profiling tools can help identify the bottlenecks.

Red Gate Software Ltd. shipped the latest version of its ANTS Profiler in mid-March. ANTS 3.0 is designed for .NET developers or testers who need to figure out performance bottlenecks. It lets developers choose which code to profile (all .NET methods including .NET Framework assemblies, methods compiled with debugging information or custom filters).

When the app is in use, ANTS records how long it takes methods or lines of code to execute, and their frequency. When the profiling is finished, the tool identifies problem code by providing a summary of key metrics -- 10 slowest lines of code, 10 slowest methods. Developers can drill down for relevant performance information, for example, clicking on a slow line of code to see the source code and timings.

A Memory profiler lets developers find out how an app is using memory. ANTS supports all .NET languages and most .NET apps (Windows, ASP.NET, COM+), according to the company.

Version 3.0 adds a "Fast Mode" for performance profiling that records only method-level timings, for less overhead when profiling complex enterprise apps. A new application programming interface (API) lets users insert code to better control snapshots. This version also adds Visual Studio (VS) 2005 and 2003 integration. Developers can work from an ANTS menu and toolbar within VS and automatically add project settings to the ANTS Profiler wizard. They can also access options on the context menu when editing source code, and set up custom filters for faster profiling.

Minimal Limitations
The goal throughout development was to make sure that ANTS works on anything .NET. "We've tested the new version with all of the new .NET 3.0 features such as WPF, WCF, WF and XAML," says Richard Mitchell, lead developer. "I think we got there in the end. There is a limitation with the XAML/XBAP profiling in that we can't currently provide line-level timings because they run in a sandbox, but that's the only issue we've come across.

"We've also had a little play with the new features of C# 3.0," says Mitchell, "and although we're not supporting it officially, it seems to work nicely, which is very gratifying."

The standard version of ANTS Profiler 3.0 is $295. The Pro version, which includes the Memory profiler, "Fast Mode" and new API is $495. Red Gate, based in Cambridge, U.K. is a Visual Studio Industry Partner.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards is the editor of and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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