Compact strings in the CLR

In the CLR strings are stored as a sequence of UTF-16 code units, i.e. an array of char items. So if we have the string ‘testing’, in memory it looks like this:

Subverting .NET Type Safety with 'System.Runtime.CompilerServices.Unsafe'

In which we use System.Runtime.CompilerServices.Unsafe a generic API (“type-safe” but still “unsafe”) and mess with the C# Type System!

Analysing .NET Memory Dumps with CLR MD

If you’ve ever spent time debugging .NET memory dumps in WinDBG you will be familiar with the commands shown below, which aren’t always the most straight-forward to work with!

Analysing Optimisations in the Wire Serialiser

Recently Roger Johansson wrote a post titled Wire – Writing one of the fastest .NET serializers, describing the optimisation that were implemented to make Wire as fast as possible. He also followed up that post with a set of benchmarks, showing how Wire compared to other .NET serialisers:

Preventing .NET Garbage Collections with the TryStartNoGCRegion API

Pauses are a known problem in runtimes that have a Garbage Collector (GC), such as Java or .NET. GC Pauses can last several milliseconds, during which your application is blocked or suspended. One way you can alleviate the pauses is to modify your code so that it doesn’t allocate, i.e. so the GC has nothing to do. But this can require lots of work and you really have to understand the runtime as many allocation are hidden.

GC Pauses and Safe Points

GC pauses are a popular topic, if you do a google search, you’ll see lots of articles explaining how to measure and more importantly how to reduce them. This issue is that in most runtimes that have a GC, allocating objects is a quick operation, but at some point in time the GC will need to clean up all the garbage and to do this is has to pause the entire runtime (except if you happen to be using Azul’s pauseless GC for Java).

How the dotnet CLI tooling runs your code

Just over a week ago the official 1.0 release of .NET Core was announced, the release includes:

the .NET Core runtime, libraries and tools and the ASP.NET Core libraries.

Visualising the .NET Garbage Collector

As part of an ongoing attempt to learn more about how a real-life Garbage Collector (GC) works (see part 1) and after being inspired by Julia Evans’ excellent post gzip + poetry = awesome I spent a some time writing a tool to enable a live visualisation of the .NET GC in action.

Strings and the CLR - a Special Relationship

Strings and the Common Language Runtime (CLR) have a special relationship, but it’s a bit different (and way less political) than the UK <-> US special relationship that is often talked about.

Adventures in Benchmarking - Performance Golf

Recently Nick Craver one of the developers at Stack Overflow has been tweeting snippets of code from their source, the other week the following code was posted: