Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Youtube page and IDE reviews

I had some complex last weeks and switching 2 times the job...

This made me kind of a busy person and definitely distracted for this blog.

But I will make some Youtube clips in the dedicated page with the same name.

So, if it is your cup of tea, please follow and comment on it.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

How to write a logger, or how not to write one...

Loggers are bad, slow. Martin Thomson, a very known performance guy (and he is very skilled), he said: "what you see in a logger, just do the opposite".

I have seen a logger which could not write more than 1000 logs per second. In part, the reason for this slowness, it was that for every log file, a logger would open a file for append, it would write, flush and close.

A simple solution is to batch it and make it async. So, keeping the logging out of the main thread, and using a separate thread to build the logs.

In short, the writing 8 million log entries would take around 9200 ms (.Net x64). If you use .Net Core it would run in around 5750 ms. If using Java, and the same code, the code is a bit over 6 seconds.

But the surprising part is Java 9. It could do all this processing, for Java 9 could do it in less than 2 seconds (around 1.6 seconds).

So in short, if you have a lot of logs, you may consider either Java 9 or .Net Core as a target platform to generate logs quicker, but before using these platforms, make sure that the code is optimized enough upfront.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Fastest small web-server in Java, .Net and Node

There are sometimes small services which run and return very little data. Imagine a service which can return the number of users or a very simple text. This is important in the world of microservices.

So let's say you decided you want to make a service, and you discarded a non-HTTP option (which would exclude a binary protocol over websocket). Great, what next?

So I made some tests over the last days (with some help) and who or what speeds were achieved?

I used ApacheBench against loopback device, and I run against Spring-Boot to have a baseline. Apache Bench would run against Java/Spring Boot (on Windows 10) at around 5000 requests per second.

Using a very low level server using C#, I was running around 10.000 requests per second. Using Java with a raw http handler, the numbers were around 11.000.

Using JS/Node, my numbers are using the latest Node around 6000 req/s if it was using a raw low-level protocol.

Anyway, sometimes things are not so clear, so we tried running on Linux (although on a similar CPU, was not on my machine). Node was returning 12.000 req/s (but the machine had no Java numbers to compare with).

This made me suspicious and I was looking into ApacheBench and I found that AB had higher CPU usage than the server. Rewriting the web-client to be a simpler C# but with a real multithreaded client (ApacheBench works only singlethreaded), I noticed that the numbers got higher and even though the C# server and Java servers were simple raw-http handlers, they achieved on the same machine around 30K RPS on .Net, and 36.000 RPS on Java.

So what did I learn? If you have a simple server, for example for a microservice, I would discard SpringBoot, as Spring seems to be limited to around the speed of Node with Javascript. Use raw-http handlers written in .Net or Java. At least on Windows, a framework like Rapidoid had a very bad behavior, and it could be for many reasons, but it was not faster than Spring by a wide enough margin and .Net was always faster.

What should you choose between .Net and Java? I would say the line in the sand is very easy: if you like Java a lot, or .Net, there is only one choice. But if you like both (or you prefer the best on term of  technology), pick .Net if you have a swarm of microservices (because a simple .Net microservice would use less memory, you can drop more services on the same VM/machine), as in 32 bit mode, the memory usage was around 10 MB (you read right, a web server with just 10MB of RAM usage, and in time of benchmark when many requests were asked, the RAM was never over 25 MB) per process, compared with Java with around 240 MB in Java case. I could say that 20% of higher performance for around 10X of memory is not a nice tradeoff.

Anyway, the code was done in a way that it has very few dependencies, so a "hello world" microservice, using around 30 MB it may not matter so much at startup, if it has to cache around 1 GB of data to respond very quicky. Though be prepared that a Java implementation would work a bit faster but in the same time it will be more taxing in memory.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Delphi 10.1 - an unbiased review

If you are a developer, you may get ads targeting you and recommend to use Delphi or C++ Builder. It happens that if you install C++ Builder (named "Starter Edition") you may not install Delphi Starter or vice-versa.

As my interactions with Delphi, I was liking Pascal language which I've learned in highschool and I kind of like it today. I also used many free editions of Delphi (initially it was packed with Chip Magazine) like Delphi 6 PE (Personal Edition), Delphi Turbo (a slim down version of Delphi 2006). I had also been using a Delphi 2009 and XE3 (licensed for my previous company).

In short, I could say that I could notice a bleak quality around 2009 toolset, and I've been told that Delphi 2006 was similar, but I didn't notice it. XE3 left me a bit disappointing note also, being overly priced and so on.

Let's go back to review. First of all, let's talk performance of the compiler and the generated code. Frankly, it is "good enough" but expect it on the level of .Net (or a GCC -O1 level), and not around Java (which tends to be on level of GCC's second level of optimizations). I am not sure if I break licenses (as many things are concerned), but in general I found the code would be a bit slower in math related code. Even the compiler is generating not that good code, honestly is not that bad, it is though very quick. In fact, is is that quick, that I was kind of really surprised. Of course, I have an SSD, and so on, but really, I cannot notice the build times. (Maybe for the size of project).

What I could also notice, is that, applications do use very little memory, starting with Delphi itself (which is written in a mix of Delphi and C++ languages). Delphi uses at startup for a 'hello world' like desktop application 100 MB! 100! Comparing it with Lazarus, which use a bit less, as is a less featured, it uses in fact 42 MB. Maybe these numbers do not mean much for you, but maybe we should have the VS IDE. Visual Studio uses on my machine 150 MB. The bigger is the project, the memories also grow. I am not here to say that you should evaluate a tool for memory use, but it looks that the toolset got a lot of love lately.

I didn't notice bugs at least based on my limited usage. I notice though some fewer features that I got used with Java IDEs or Visual Studio, but it felt snappy and cool. Especially in refactors area, there are no refactors in the Starter Edition (or if they are, I did not find them). Lazarus has them!

Is it Delphi a good tool? Definitely! Would I recommend to someone? Yes, especially if you have some companies that cannot afford to install runtimes on customer machine, don't want a buggy IDE (I am thinking here about Lazarus, even though also Lazarus did improve there), and you want to get some commercial components and make quick an application.

Would I use it? Definitely not. I will write here all my noticed gripes, but many of them are related with my experience, so don't take them as a Delphi hating person:
- memory management is a lost cause in my view in Delphi: it is overly-verbose (only the phone applications have reference counting).
- there is no sane way to do something like Linq. For me Ruby looks to me very equivalent to Delphi (or Visual Basic), but the things split when lambda expresisons are used. I would love to write something like: lines := FileExtensions.ToLines("input.txt").Where(line=>length(line)>0).ToList();
- there is Lazarus. Even I personally don't think that Lazarus is a clear replacement for Delphi, it is a damn good tool using a very similar language. Excluding you are locked in with a vendor component which you cannot find a replacement to it, and it cannot be recompiled for Lazarus, I see very few reasons why not to report bugs to Lazarus and not to pay.
- even on the IDE side, I found many things nail biting: in JavaFX or WPF, or Gtk#, I know that the components do align with various containers.
- there is .Net or Java: for people that can afford to pack a runtime with their application (or at least to target .Net 4.0 which is supported from Windows 7 till today), even though the memory consumption of your IDE is definitely bigger, there is no point to not use these tools which are very low cost (or even free), and memory is really not a limiting factor for most of development.

In conclusion: if you want a tool with a very readable language, compiled, native, with low memory requirements that can be bundled on customer machines just as one .exe, Delphi should be considered. If you just want though a readable syntax and you would want that your code to run in everything from Windows 7 till today, I would recommend to look into Visual Basic.Net bundled with Visual Studio Community Edition (which is free of charge). If you want 90% of what Delphi offers, but you don't want to pay any license, look into Lazarus-IDE.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Make a JDK9 minimalist distribution for your application

Java or .Net applications applications are small, but there has to be considered the fact that sometimes you would want to distribute the runtime and the application in a bundled package.

So, let's consider you want to make a JavaFX desktop application, here are the steps you should do to have an application:

Phase 1 - Install the necessary applications/frameworks

- Download JDK 8 (from here)
- Download and install Netbeans for JDK 9 (from here) - it will work without the JDK9 installed
- Download JDK 9 from Early Access packages based on your architecture. They bundle JRE and JDK (from here).- Create a new project from NetBeans (pick a simple not-Maven application)
- go to project preferences and add make sure you add as a secondary JDK the JDK 9
- set the project to have both language level and JDK to be configured to Java 9/JDK9

Phase 2 - Build the application against Java 9/JDK 9

- write the application as following:

package javaapplication1;

public class Main {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        System.out.println("Hello JDK9");
- add in the default package (in the root of src folder) the file: and add this code inside:
module javaapplication1 {
    requires java.desktop;

Build and run. It should run nicely.

Phase 3 - make a JDK distribution

- change directory to your project path:
- jlink your Java distribution:
jlink --modulepath "C:\Program Files\Java\jdk-9\jmods" --modulepath "C:\Users\<YOUR_USERNAME>\Documents\NetBeansProjects\JavaApplication1\dist\JavaApplication1.jar" --addmods javaapplication1 javaapplication1.Main --output AppRuntime

By default the Java runtime which is required to run a Java desktop application is: 188 MB (on Windows x64 architecture).

The AppRuntime (it looks to me that it doesn't include my original application, but it excludes most of runtime for a JavaFX application is only 63.4)

- run your application using the minimalist distribution:
"appruntime/bin/java" -cp "dist\JavaApplication1.jar" javaapplication1.Main

If you want to really save space, you can compress your distribution)

jlink --modulepath "C:\Program Files\Java\jdk-9\jmods" --modulepath "C:\Users\<YOUR_USERNAME>\Documents\NetBeansProjects\JavaApplication1\dist\JavaApplication1.jar" --addmods javaapplication1 javaapplication1.Main --compress=2 --output AppRuntime

Now your Java distribution is less than 40 MB!

If you don't use JavaFX (for very simple applications, but just java.base), your distribution can slim down a lot, to be more precise, the Java distribution is around 22 MB as of latest build (with compression). This includes the Java.exe launcher Server environment.

Why is it important? 

The most important reason I see this mode of making a minimalist distribution is for many deploy scenarios where installing of a runtime is a big NO-NO. For example in server environments, locked down Windows environments where is still allowed to run local applications and so on.

It is even more helpful that eventually you can put everything in a zip with no hard configurations.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Performance in Java vs .Net - 2016 edition

The motivation if writing this blog entry started when I commented about my experience with Java and performance and as being published in a .Net forum (in LinkedIn), some people thought that I missed some small or not so small points. Please go to Nota Bene section to see this entry's presumptions.

I found that Java is very often faster than .Net, so how can be this possible, even I work for at least 6 years C#/.Net and I have less experience with Java (even I know it well enough)?

Some reasons why I think this is true:
- .Net has a much weaker compiler. For example, if you have two identical functions, the JVM will likely generate better code. I wrote one identical "optimized" version of calculating prime numbers, taking into account that there is no math which Java can auto-paralelize. The algorithm was to calculate for 100 times the 150.000 prime mumber. (I calculated 100 times to have a clear average)

My computer times are:
.Net: 12719 ms
Java: 11184 ms

 Code for reference (copy-paste it in your IDE and change minimally your code for C#: use Environment.TickCount for taking milliseconds):

This is very likely because that Java has a tiered compiler which have a better register allocator. This code is a lot of math and arrays accesses.

- most common runtime classes seem to be better tunned. At work I have a formatter which is used very often. Replacing "String.format" code with a "hard-coded" formatter, would speed up over 50x the Java Library code. I ported this code to C# (with virtually no modification):
.Net: 3703 ms
Java: 1491 ms

The formatter has less code necessarily, but the code has more conditions to optimize, some casts to be removed and so on. But also, even more, adding few common objects as String show that the GC in Java and working with String types is a bit faster.

- Java tends do do more aggressive inlining: by default, at least in what is public from .Net and Java, it looks like .Net considers as candidate for inlining functions up-to 32 CIL instructions (which have very close semantics with Java bytecode), when Java does have the limit of 55 bytecodes. (the second value I found it on a presentation of Java's JIT, and it was the default for Java 8 timeframe, not sure if any of these values can be changed). This of course it means that on a big enough project more opportunities for inlining are at one place

- Java has quicker by default .Net lambdas: this is true for .Net, not true for Mono (as far as the public presentation goes), but in Java all single method interfaces are compatibles with lambda implementations and if there is only one implementation in one context and it is a small method, it is a candidate for inlining.

- Java does have more optimizations which they run when the code is hot enough. The latest revision of .Net JIT does include some more interesting optimizations, like the option to use SIMD, but Java for now it can do it if code is SIMD-able, automatically. This optimization - of course - requires more time to do analysis, but if it is successful, can do wonders in performance. Similarly, small objects which are allocation in a small enough loop and they do "not escape", are not allocated on heap. Escape Analysis I think it is more viable for a large project with many small intermediate objects

- Java has by default a lot of customization of GC by default: you can choose heaps of gigabytes with no GC call. This can make wonders for some class of applications, and if you are aware how much is allocated per day, you can restart it out of the critical time your application making GC to be not involved.

I could talk many cases when I know that Java has some optimization which .Net doesn't have in particular (because of CHA for instance), but the point can be taken.

So, it looks to me, that the more complex, longer running code is concerned, I can get consistently at least 10% speedup in CPU related tasks, so why developers still consider that .Net is quicker than Java?

I have some options which could make sense:
- They don't compare the same things or on different abstraction levels:
If you compare Dapper (or Massive) SQL minimalist ORMs with full blown Entity Framework, you will likely see a huge loss in performance. Similarly, people do write ArrayList<Integer> (which is stored in Java as a list of object) and they compare with List<int> in .Net (which internally keeps raw intergers in a contiguous array). I wrote in fact a minimalist library which reifies some classes named FlatCollections in Java. I don't recommend using them if you don't care this much about performance, but if you do, you may give it a try
- Java starts slower, so it feels slow. This happens because Java runs initially everything in an interpreter, then compiles the hot code. This is also an important thing to take into account. If you compare full blown applications like Java FX one with a WPF one, the differences feel huge. But the startup lag doesn't make an affirmation about performance, otherwise we would write every program today in MS-DOS not Windows/Linux/MacOS that boots in seconds just with an SSD. I made Fx2C OSS project which reduces JavaFX startup lag, if you are into optimizing the startup time.
- feeling that when developers compare platforms, compare different abstraction levels mistakenly over different platforms. This is a really different point than first. Instead of comparing the most lean, close-to-metal "abstraction", some code would use Java's streams using IntStream (this would not create any dangling types) against Linq with Tuple (the Tuple<> types were defined as Class type, generating a lot of heap pressure and GC). This can be also reversed with List<int> (in .Net) vs ArrayList<Integer> (in Java).

Give feedback and I will be glad to answer to all criticism and corrections.

Nota Bene. Some points about myself:
- I am not paid and I wasn't paid by Microsoft, Oracle and so on. In fact, as a full disclosure, I participated to a Microsoft opened hackathon and I won a small prize (a bluetooth speaker) and if I recall right, I was passing by a Microsoft conference and they gave a "stress ball". I have no animosity against Microsoft per-se, excluding (maybe) that I like free software and opensource. I think that as of today Microsoft works very friendly with OSS community, so nothing to claim here
- I also have no interest in Oracle or any Java vendor (including Google) and as it is concerned, I never receive even a plastic ball-pen or anyhing of this sort
- I have opinions and biases but I try to be honest and direct about them
- I know that no comparison can be made without excluding many other components related with that technology. One of the most important as I see is: licensing. If you have a successful company and you want to scale your software, at least Java tools have higher individual license costs, but virtually zero horizontal costs, when in comparison, Microsoft seem to be a smaller cost per developer but with higher costs if you scale up your software. This is a subject which seems to change (like .Net Core) but as far as I understand, is not a finished software
- technologically, I think that C# is better designed as language, similarly it is the CIL bytecode
- I have around 10 years of working in software industry, covering C++, .Net/C# and kind of little Java (as of my current job).

Code for first example:

public class Program {
    boolean isPrime(int value, int[]divisor, int szDivisor){
        for(int i =0;i<szDivisor; i++){
            int div = divisor[i];
            if(div*div>value) {
                return true;
            if(value%div == 0)
                return false;
        return true;

    int nthPrime(int nth){
            return 2;
        int[] foundPrimes = new int[nth];
        int primeCount = 1;
        foundPrimes[0] = 2;
        int prime = 3;
        while (true){
            if(isPrime(prime, foundPrimes, primeCount)){
                foundPrimes[primeCount] = prime;



        return foundPrimes[primeCount-1];

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        Program p = new Program();
        long start = System.currentTimeMillis();
        for(int i= 0;i<100;i++)
        System.out.println("The prime number is: "+p.nthPrime(150000));
        long end = System.currentTimeMillis()-start;
        System.out.println("Time: "+end + " ms");

Code for 2nd example:
public class TimeFormatter {
    private char[] digits = new char[7];
    private int _cursor;
    public String formattedTime(int currentPackgeTimeStamp) {
        int secondsPassed = currentPackgeTimeStamp / 1000;

        int minutesPassed = secondsPassed / 60;
        int seconds = secondsPassed % 60;
        int decimals = (currentPackgeTimeStamp % 1000) / 100;
        push(minutesPassed / 10);
        push(minutesPassed % 10);
        push(seconds / 10);
        push(seconds % 10);

        return new String(digits);

    private void reset() {
        _cursor = 0;

    private void push(int i) {
        pushChar((char) ('0' + i));

    private void pushChar(char c) {
        digits[_cursor] = c;
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    long start = System.currentTimeMillis();
    int iterations = 100_000_000;
    TimeFormatter timeFormatter = new TimeFormatter();

    int sum = 0;
    for (int i = 0; i < iterations; i++) {
        String t = timeFormatter.formattedTime(125400);
        sum += t.charAt(0);

    long end = System.currentTimeMillis();

    long duration = end - start;
    System.out.println("Duration: " + duration + ", sum: " + sum);

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Flat Collections - May update

Flat Collections was upgraded again in small ways but they are to simplify the design of code generation.

Java does not have equivalent of "struct" keyword and it is really useful sometimes to generate your own arrays of primitives which have typically bigger primitive list of items. These flat collections can be really useful in most of List<Point> kind of scenarios or List<Token> where a token could be a parse information which packs few integers (tokenKind, startPos, endPos).

Also, if there is any Java develop who can help me to review, package this library, write me a note (or contact me via email with "ciprian dot mustiata at".

Follow the code here: