|By Charlie Arehart||
|October 22, 2002 12:00 AM EDT||
Last month I introduced a precompile "batch" file that allowed you to manually compile CFMX templates, saving the penalty paid by the first user to browse a CFMX template after it was created or edited.
But there will be curious folks (and bit-twiddlers) among you who will want to know more - maybe lots more. How much time is this really saving? If it's compiled to disk, how and when does CFMX read it into memory to execute it? What's the cost of that? What happens with CFINCLUDEd files? Where does the compiled code go? Can I look at it? Can I just delete the generated class files instead? How do I determine which class file was generated for which CF template? Can I distribute the compiled code on other servers without the source code?
I'll address these questions and more in this conclusion.
Evaluating the Execution Time
Before going on, it may be helpful to explain something about determining the impact in terms of execution (and other startup) times for running a template. It will be very helpful to turn on the "Report Execution Times" option in the ColdFusion Administrator settings for "Debugging Settings". This will produce a display (see Table 1) at the bottom of a page when executed in a browser.
As in previous releases, you will only see this debugging information if the Administrator has enabled it. Also, if any IP addresses are listed in the "Debugging IP Addresses" page of the Administrator, then you will only see it if you are in that list. If there are no values in that list, all who execute CF templates on the server will see this info. Finally, if you still don't see this information, be sure that your template (or the application.cfm that is called before it) does not have <CFSETTING ShowDebugOutput="no">.
This particular example shows a file called test.cfm, which included a file called test.html, and also had an application.cfm that was called. It also shows a separate value for "startup, parsing, compiling, loading, & shutdown". We'll get to that in a moment. Keep an eye on this set of timing information when trying to evaluate the impact of various choices and settings.
Compilation Doesn't Eliminate All the Waits
So, after reading my previous article you now know how to precompile a template. You've paid the cost of compiling the code to its underlying Java byte code and now it should execute without any parsing/compiling delay (assuming it's not been edited). What if you restart the server? Will the first user really experience no further delay? Not exactly.
You may recall that I said that CFMX writes the compiled code to disk. Did you wonder how it gets from disk into memory, for CFMX to execute? I mentioned at the outset of the previous article that even in ColdFusion 5 and before, the first execution of a template after a server restart would cause CF to interpret the template into "pcode" and then load that into a "template cache". The code was then executed from memory all day, rather than being read from disk (unless the cache filled, in which case the least recently used template would be flushed from the cache). This was a useful solution for making code run as quickly as possible when executed.
CFMX faces the same dilemma. While the compilation of code to a Java class file eliminates the interpretation step the first time the code is executed after each restart, the fact remains that the compiled code needs to be read from disk and loaded into ColdFusion's memory - in that same template cache that existed in previous releases.
The precompile batch file from the previous release does not perform this "load" of the compiled code into CFMX's template cache, so you can't save that time. Similarly, when the server has just been restarted, it will need to be "loaded" into memory. It's just the first user to run the code after restart (or a compile or precompile) that experiences that load time. So be aware that precompiling won't eliminate the entire wait. There's still the time needed to load the code into the template cache the first time it's executed after restart.
Also, be careful in evaluating the impact of these steps. If you watch the precompile.bat file process, you may notice that compiling even a single template seems to take longer than if you simply let CF compile it automatically. The compiler process in the precompile.bat file has some load time itself on the first template it compiles. If only one template is precompiled, you see that time reflected in the time it takes to compile. If multiple files are precompiled at once, you see each individual template taking less time than if it was compiled alone.
Handling Included Files
In my example above I included a test.html file, but what if I had included a cfm file? Do you wonder if there might be an effect on compilation if code in the included file changes? Would you expect ColdFusion to have to recompile the including template?
It does not. Precompiling the including file after the included file has changed isn't necessary. Indeed, if you look at the compile time reported by the precompile tool it will be reported as 0ms. This reiterates the point that CFINCLUDE is a runtime directive, not a compile time one. Many misconstrue that. (Further proof is demonstrated by the fact that the value of the TEMPLATE attribute naming a file in CFINCLUDE can in fact be a variable. It's clearly a runtime directive.)
What's the difference? Say you have a template that includes another and that included file changes often during the day. You will notice a delay in loading the file. But it would have been true in CF 5 and before. Compilation isn't the cause, and precompilation is not the answer. You just need to get CF to reexecute the template so that it runs the CFINCLUDE to detect that changed file and load it into memory. Again, it's a runtime issue.
I've done this and watched the time reported in the debug output on the first execution of the calling template (after the included file has changed). In one example it went from 1000 ms (reported as execution time for the calling template) to 0ms from then on. Note that this change is in the runtime of the template, not its compile time. So it's not really a compilation issue.
What can you do, especially if some automated process is causing updates to the included file? You could add to that automated process (or create another) that simply executes the calling page once after the included file has changed. This could be kicked off via CFSCHEDULE or CFHTTP. The point isn't to save the resulting output in any way (which is an option with these tags), but merely to cause execution of (or in other words to "touch") the calling page so that it does what it needs to do to interpret the change in the included file.
Where Does the Compilation Go?
I also mentioned in the previous article that CFMX compiles your cfm (and cfc) templates into .class files, which are Java byte code files. If you're curious, the files are written to (and executed from) the cfclasses subdirectory of [cfusionmx]\wwwroot\WEB-INF\ directory where CFMX is installed. This occurs whether you are using another Web server or have located your file outside the default wwwroot location. CFMX compiles and runs the code from this cfclasses directory, regardless of the location of the source file.
This is the reason why in the previous article we needed to specify the -webinf directive in the batch file, to tell it to place compiled code there. If it's not placed there, it won't run in CFMX.
Be warned, though, that the file names for these class files may not be at all apparent. A CF template named Setsession.cfm might lead to a class file named cfsetsession2ecfm1011928409.class.
All templates from all directories end up in this one cfclasses subdirectory. They're not stored here in any subdirectories related to their original location. Instead, CF includes a hash of the directory name in that set of numbers after the file name. Keep that in mind when trying to associate a given class file with its original cfm template. The hashing process is a bit convoluted. (See my blog entry of Oct. 5 for more details, at cfmxplus.blogspot.com.)
Perhaps the easiest way to detect which class file goes with which source file is to simply edit the file and then execute (or precompile) it. Look in the cfclasses directory for the most recently created class file. Assuming your server is not too busy with many compilations taking place, it should be pretty easy to associate the classname with the CF source code name.
Saving Java Source Code Produced by CFMX
So that's where the compiled source code goes. But what about seeing the actual uncompiled Java source code that your CF template is converted into? Normally it's of no concern to CF developers what CFMX is doing under the covers in converting our CFML to Java.
For the ardently curious among you, did you know that you can ask CFMX to save the Java code it creates, in source form? You can. It's an undocumented feature, and while I've had no trouble doing it, I must warn that this is something you do at your own risk. Neither I, nor SYS-CON, nor Macromedia accept responsibility for your trying this.
The setting can only be enabled by someone with administrative control of the server, and the setting is also server-wide. It will add a slight additional time to the compile process, so it's not something you'd want to turn on in production. It probably ought not be left on in development either.
You need to edit the file web.xml in the [cfusionmx]\wwwroot\WEB-INF directory. There, if you're familiar with XML files, you'll find a parameter called "coldfusion.compiler.saveJava". Change its value from false to true. Save the file. Restart the server.
Now, whenever a new or recently edited file is compiled (whether automatically by CFMX or by our precompile.bat file), CFMX will also create a ".java" file along with the ".class" file. This ".java" file will be found in that same [cfusionmx]\wwwroot\WEB-INF\cfclasses\ directory as the ".class" files (and will be subject to that same issue of the curious file naming mentioned above).
The Idea of Deleting the Generated Class Files
Some have proposed that instead of precompiling their code they'd just as soon delete the underlying Java class file that was created when it was last compiled. That may seem like overkill, but there are times when it might be worth trying. Just note that, as the previous sections discussed, finding the class file that's associated with a given source template can be challenging. While some may simply delete all the class files, that's certainly overkill.
Don't forget that in the previous article I mentioned there is a -f directive you can pass to the compile process (by modifying the precompile.bat file). That will force a recompile of a file even if CF doesn't think it's necessary. Sometimes that solves the same problem that deleting the class file would solve.
The Dream of Distributing Compiled Code Without Source
Finally, all this talk of creating compiled Java code has excited some. They wonder if they might finally be able to distribute the compiled code without the associated source files. From an intellectual property protection standpoint, this makes sense. Being able to do so is important to those who sell ColdFusion applications. They want their clients to be able to use the code, without them (or their competitors) seeing the actual source code.
Unfortunately, this is not going to happen with the current release of CFMX (if at all). Macromedia has designed the process so that the source code must be present for the file to be loaded. That's an interesting key point. Some were excited by a demo by Ben Forta at last year's DevCon where he was able to delete a source code file and the template continued to run. Some have even noticed that that can still work. Not always, though. Only if the trusted cache setting is enabled.
With what you know from our previous discussion of loading templates and using the trusted cache setting, you may be able to figure out what's happening. If you run a CF template, it's loaded into memory (after being compiled if it changed). Once it's in memory, that's where CF runs it from. And if the trusted cache setting is enabled, then CFMX no longer looks to the source code file to determine if it's changed. Indeed, it also doesn't look to see if it's been deleted.
But if you restart the server, then CF will try to load the template from disk and even with the trusted cache enabled, the first time the template is run, it will look to see if the CF source template has changed since it was last compiled to disk. Only if they disabled that would we be able to truly distribute the source code.
Macromedia folks have further asserted that they won't enable that feature because it's inappropriate to assume that code compiled on one machine would necessarily work on another machine. It's important to note that your ColdFusion code is more than just the underlying Java byte code it's been compiled into. There are libraries that come with CFMX that are called when your code is run. You would at least need to distribute those as well. Whether Macromedia will address this problem for commercial solution developers is still unclear.
The process of compiling and understanding the compilation process for CFMX templates is something that's not well documented. I don't even want to claim to fully understand it. I've encountered some things in preparing this article that still confound me, and since it's undocumented, maybe we can't expect to fully understand it. I just hope that the information shared here will help you, and that it may also motivate Macromedia to decide what aspects of the process they want to make more public.
You could argue that an Admin interface would be a useful addition in doing the compilation process. Perhaps someone has already started working on that. I welcome comments, questions, and concerns you may have about this compilation process. Feel free to e-mail me or post comments below the online version of this article at the www.sys-con.com site.
Trusted Cache Still Applies
I mentioned in the previous article that ColdFusion automatically detects any new or newly edited templates and then automatically compiles them (in CFMX, or interprets them in CF 5 and before). It does this by checking to see if a CF template about to be executed is new or newly updated. And it does this before each invocation of a template, by every user.
That's a rather costly operation, but it's the cost of being able to freely make code changes and see them reflected immediately. If your production environment is designed so that you don't make changes to your code except on a scheduled basis (perhaps overnight), you should enable the "Trusted Cache" setting in the ColdFusion Administrator.
By enabling "Trusted Cache", you're telling ColdFusion that once it loads a program into memory, it should no longer check to see if its underlying source code template has been updated. This will remain in effect until the server is restarted. Sadly, disabling it and re-enabling it does not cause the template cache to be flushed.
One thing that has changed about the "trusted cache" is the specification of its size. Prior to CFMX, the size setting (on the same page in the Administrator) was set in bytes, and it was difficult to calculate an accurate size. Now, the setting is the total number of templates to cache, rather than their size. It still defaults to 1,024.
|Sven 11/14/02 04:59:00 AM EST|
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Feb. 24, 2017 07:30 AM EST Reads: 1,835
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Feb. 24, 2017 06:15 AM EST Reads: 5,459
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, director/senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Feb. 24, 2017 04:00 AM EST Reads: 3,802
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
Feb. 24, 2017 03:00 AM EST Reads: 1,827
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Feb. 24, 2017 02:15 AM EST Reads: 13,206
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Ca...
Feb. 24, 2017 01:45 AM EST Reads: 9,545
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
Feb. 24, 2017 01:00 AM EST Reads: 1,903
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, introduced the technologies required for implementing these idea...
Feb. 23, 2017 11:30 PM EST Reads: 6,311
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Feb. 23, 2017 11:00 PM EST Reads: 7,025
Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, represent...
Feb. 23, 2017 10:00 PM EST Reads: 4,622
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
Feb. 23, 2017 09:15 PM EST Reads: 1,539
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Feb. 23, 2017 08:45 PM EST Reads: 1,310
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Feb. 23, 2017 08:30 PM EST Reads: 1,466
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
Feb. 23, 2017 07:45 PM EST Reads: 3,411
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Now has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
Feb. 23, 2017 06:45 PM EST Reads: 1,466
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
Feb. 23, 2017 06:30 PM EST Reads: 6,306
SYS-CON Events announced today that WineSOFT will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Based in Seoul and Irvine, WineSOFT is an innovative software house focusing on internet infrastructure solutions. The venture started as a bootstrap start-up in 2010 by focusing on making the internet faster and more powerful. WineSOFT’s knowledge is based on the expertise of TCP/IP, VPN, SSL, peer-to-peer, mob...
Feb. 23, 2017 06:30 PM EST Reads: 1,732
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
Feb. 23, 2017 06:00 PM EST Reads: 13,077
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, discussed the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports.
Feb. 23, 2017 06:00 PM EST Reads: 1,526
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Feb. 23, 2017 05:45 PM EST Reads: 1,240