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Put an End to Mind Melt“Quick, grab something cold!” you scream as you begin to comprehend the kind of article you’ve stumbled upon.

“What’s going on?”

You hesitate; incredulous your coworker fails to comprehend the gravity of the situation. “It’s an article on JustTrace. We must activate brain freeze before our minds melt!”

Hey, don’t worry, and put away your ice cream. The doctor is in, and I’m here to prevent profiling tool mind melt.1

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Okay, I’m exaggerating: not about the brain freeze cure, but about JustTrace being out of sight (like section headers).

Do you know how you can tell when one of your prized Knuth books is missing from the shelf? You’ve not paid attention to it in years, but you know it’s there waiting for you. Well, it was waiting for you until your coworker decided to “borrow” it. You immediately know it’s missing because something didn’t feel right, and your subconscious pinged you, alerting you to a change in your environment.

Your book was never out of sight. In fact, you proudly placed it in plain sight. It was out of your way, unobtrusive, and right where you needed it to be (until your sneaky coworker took it).

Unobtrusive, FTW!

One of our products, JustCode, is the unobtrusive choice in productivity tools. That may be a little confusing, but it’s quite simple to explain: we designed JustCode to feel like a natural part of Visual Studio. Some tools have practically created their own religion. JustCode is more like elves to Visual Studio’s Santa Claus, and no one caught their mom kissing one of Santa’s elves.


Tool cultists sometimes leave unconstructive, even offensive, comments on my posts. Feeding them leads only to conversation desecration.

For JustTrace Q1 2013, we decided on the same approach. We cut and trimmed and hewed and hemmed until Visual Studio had a brand new friend. Check out the result below.

The menu is still there; you’re going to need the Send Feedback option to tell us how much you love the new JustTrace. For the most part, you can ignore that menu until you need to look at previous snapshots. Instead, look at the two options in the middle of the toolbar.

To enable the Performance Profiler or Memory Profiler for an application run, simply click the identically named option. The button then highlights, activating the profiler of your choice. Run the application, and JustTrace will collect data for the snapshot. The snapshot views are as you remember them but with a few enhancements.

This is exactly how it should work. There is no need to fumble through menus and click through dialog boxes; it just works.

About the Other Buttons

I promised I would avoid giving you mind melt. If you fear this terrible condition, please use the default JustTrace settings and continue to the next section of this article. You may already be suffering from mind melt if this is the second time reading this passage. I wrote next section, not previous section.

The Performance Profiler enables the first four buttons to the right of the profiler buttons, and these options change the manner in which the Performance Profiler behaves.

Disabled at Start – This button disables the profiler on startup, preventing it from collecting data until you enable the profiler.

Profile Child Processes – Does your application spawn multiple processes? Do you need to profile them? If you answered yes to both these questions, select this option.

Use Tracing Profiler - The Tracing Profiler has better accuracy but lower performance. Generally, it’s best to leave this on.

Filter Internals – Do you work for Microsoft? Do you need to profile the .NET Framework? Then you should turn this off. Almost everyone else should leave it on.

The next button to the right is specific to the Memory Profiler.

Collect Allocation Call Stacks – This gives you call trees in a Memory Snapshot! This is great stuff, but you should leave this off unless needed as it has a huge impact on the profiled application’s performance.

The final two buttons work with both profilers.

Restart IIS – This may be hard to swallow, but it restarts IIS. More specifically, with this option highlighted, JustTrace restarts IIS before launching your application.

Profile Silverlight – If you select this, JustTrace will profile Silverlight instead of the web site hosting it. It’s absolutely scandalous!

Take a Deep Breath

JustTrace used to be in your face with mouse clicks and dialogs, and at first, something might appear to be missing. Don’t worry; your coworker didn’t steal your JustTrace. Instead, JustTrace is fitting in.


If the JustTrace menu is gone and the buttons I wrote about are missing, your coworker did steal your JustTrace.

Congratulations on making it this far. The mind melt rate of this article is a low 3%, which accounts for the readers’ family members who made their way here from a Facebook like.2

As you can see, we’ve tried hard to cure our users of mind melt. Welcome to JustTrace Mind Mint, the refreshing .NET profiler with two, minty profiler flavors!

JustTrace Mind Mint

1 I am not a doctor.
2 This number is fictitious.
* The awesome but creepy image used in this article was derived from Paint Whirlpool by Patrick Hoesly under the Creative Commons Attribution License.
* I created the mint leaf and warning images using vector tools in Adobe Photoshop CS6

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About the Author

Chris Eargle

is a Microsoft C# MVP with over a decade of experience designing and developing enterprise applications, and he runs the local .NET User Group: the Columbia Enterprise Developers Guild. He is a frequent guest of conferences and community events promoting best practices and new technologies. Chris is a native Carolinian; his family settled the Dutch Form region of South Carolina in 1752. He currently resides in Columbia with his wife, Binyue, his dog, Laika, and his three cats: Meeko, Tigger, and Sookie. Amazingly, they all get along... except for Meeko, who is by no means meek.


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