Updated 2011-06-03 02:50:16 by RLE

George Peter Staplin: I had a recent need to track the memory usage of an application using my code. I found it daunting to stare at top and other tools, so I wrote a graphing tool with Tcl/Tk. It uses ps to monitor the resident set size, and the virtual size of an application. Peak values for RSS or VSZ are displayed in a larger font, in orange color. It's easy to jump to the peaks too. Thus far it has been very useful in my quest to optimize memory usage patterns, and has aided in the elimination of leaks.

Example usage:

$ monitor_memory_graph-3.tcl 9332 50

(50 is the scaling factor for the graph. Different applications may need a different scaling factor to make a graph that pleases you.)

Change History

2006.07.20 Revision 3:

I changed vsz= to vsize= after Will Dye pointed out that it fails in Linux with vsz. I didn't realize that vsz was an alias for vsize in NetBSD until now.


I fixed a bug with the exec of ps in Linux. It seems that the Linux or GNU ps doesn't accept -o vsize=,rss=. So I've fixed that. The code is also available here: http://megapkg.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/tools/monitor_memory_graph-3.tcl
 #!/usr/bin/env tclkit8.5
 package require Tk
 set ::cursor(x) 1 
 set ::rsspeak 0
 set ::rsspeaktext ""
 set ::vszpeak 0
 set ::vszpeaktext ""
 set ::follow_graph 1
 proc draw.value {win value height id peak_ptr peaktext_ptr} {
  global cursor scale
  upvar $peak_ptr peak
  upvar $peaktext_ptr peaktext
  set lasty [lindex [$win coords $id] end]
  # 800 is a good height for the graph offset
  set y [expr {800 - ($value / double($scale))}]
  $win coords $id [concat [$win coords $id] [list $cursor(x) $y]]
  # Test if this value is greater than the previous peak.
  if {$value > $peak} {
   set peak $value
   # Change the previous peak's color
   if {"" ne $peaktext} {
    $win itemconfigure $peaktext -fill white -font {fixed 10}
   set peaktext [$win create text $cursor(x) $y -text $value \
     -fill orange -font {fixed 14}]
  } else {
   $win create text $cursor(x) $y -text $value -fill white -font {fixed 10}
 proc update.stats {win pid} {
  global cursor
  if {[catch {exec ps -p $pid -o vsize= -o rss=} res]} {
   return -code error $res
  foreach {vsz rss} [string trim $res] break
  global rsspeak rsspeaktext
  set height [winfo height $win]
  draw.value $win $rss $height $::rssid rsspeak rsspeaktext
  incr cursor(x) 50 
  global vszpeak vszpeaktext
  draw.value $win $vsz $height $::vszid vszpeak vszpeaktext
  incr cursor(x) 50
  $win config -scrollregion [$win bbox all]
  if {$::follow_graph} {
   $win xview moveto 1.0
  after 1000 [list update.stats $win $pid]
 proc view.tag {win tag} {
  foreach {x1 y1 x2 y2} [$win bbox all] break
  foreach {tx1 ty1 _ _} [$win bbox $tag] break
  $win xview moveto [expr {$tx1 / double($x2)}]
  $win yview moveto [expr {$ty1 / double($y2)}]
 proc main {argc argv} {
  if {2 != $argc} {
   puts stderr "syntax is: [info script] pid scale"
   return 1
  frame .controls
  pack [checkbutton .controls.follow -text "Follow Graph" -variable ::follow_graph] -side left
  pack [button .controls.rssPeak -text "Jump to RSS Peak" -command {
   set ::follow_graph 0
   view.tag .graph.c $::rsspeaktext
  }] -side left
  pack [button .controls.vsz -text "Jump to VSZ Peak" -command {
   set ::follow_graph 0
   view.tag .graph.c $::vszpeaktext
  }] -side left
  pack .controls -fill x
  frame .graph
  canvas .graph.c \
    -xscrollcommand {.graph.xscroll set} \
    -yscrollcommand {.graph.yscroll set} \
    -bg black
  scrollbar .graph.xscroll -command {.graph.c xview} -orient horizontal
  scrollbar .graph.yscroll -command {.graph.c yview}
  pack .graph -fill both -expand 1
  grid .graph.c -row 0 -column 0 -sticky nesw
  grid .graph.xscroll -row 1 -column 0 -sticky we
  grid .graph.yscroll -row 0 -column 1 -sticky ns
  grid columnconfigure .graph 0 -weight 100
  grid rowconfigure .graph 0 -weight 100 
  set ::vszid [.graph.c create line 0 0 1 1 -fill red]
  set ::rssid [.graph.c create line 0 0 1 1 -fill green]
  set ::scale [lindex $argv 1]
  update idletasks
  after idle [list update.stats .graph.c [lindex $argv 0]]
 main $::argc $::argv