[xwiki-devs] Investigation: Page Load Time

Ludovic Dubost ludovic at xwiki.com
Sun Mar 6 09:41:22 UTC 2011

Le 06/03/11 04:18, Sergiu Dumitriu a écrit :
> On 03/06/2011 12:37 AM, Ludovic Dubost wrote:
>> Interesting I did some simple instrumentation of #template and for the
>> page Sandbox.WebHome we get:
>> (results here
>> http://dev.xwiki.org/xwiki/bin/view/Design/PageLoadTimeReport30SnapShot1)
>> Time frequentlyUsedDocs.vm: 3
>> Time deprecatedVars.vm: 1
>> Time xwikivars.vm: 11
>> Time layoutExtraVars.vm: 1
>> Time layoutvars.vm: 7
>> Time colorThemeInit.vm: 2
>> Time stylesheets.vm: 5
>> Time analytics.vm: 0
>> Time javascript.vm: 9
>> Time htmlheader.vm: 36
>> Time menuview.vm: 19
>> Time global.vm: 3
>> Time header.vm: 4
>> Time startpage.vm: 78
>> Time contentmenu.vm: 6
>> Time frequentlyUsedDocs.vm: 1
>> Time deprecatedVars.vm: 1
>> Time xwikivars.vm: 7
>> Time hierarchy.vm: 25
>> Time titlevars.vm: 2
>> Time shortcuts.vm: 2
>> Time contentview.vm: 37
>> Time frequentlyUsedDocs.vm: 1
>> Time deprecatedVars.vm: 1
>> Time xwikivars.vm: 7
>> Time documentTags.vm: 12
>> Time frequentlyUsedDocs.vm: 1
>> Time deprecatedVars.vm: 1
>> Time xwikivars.vm: 9
>> Time commentsinline.vm: 12
>> Time docextra.vm: 15
>> Time leftpanels.vm: 1
>> Time rightpanels.vm: 50
>> Time footer.vm: 2
>> Time htmlfooter.vm: 0
>> Time endpage.vm: 54
>> Time view.vm: 216
>> in Firebug the page loads in 10ms more than view.vm
>> As we can see:
>> - the panels (quick links and recent changes) cost 50ms ->  25%
>> - startpage cost 78ms ->  30%
>> - breadcrumb cost 25ms ->  12%
>> - some templates are repeated (on repeat is dur to AJAX, the other not)
>> - we have 37 templates called
>> If we implement caching in panels, breadcrumb and part of the start page
>> we could win 33% of the general time of the skin.
>> If we win 1ms per template run, we can win 15% of the general time of
>> the skin.
>> The results on the home page (2 to 3 seconds), show that we ought to
>> look at dynamic code of course as the main slow-down. A panel with a
>> list of changes or of categories is way more costly than the whole skin.
>> The dashboard page is even more costly.
>> A long Syntax 2.0 page is also quite costly.
>> So implementing caches on all this is a good way to keep performance good.
> I think this is not the right approach. Caching always introduces
> surprises. Image we cache the "recently viewed" panel. The user views
> some documents, but that panel doesn't show them, but insists on
> displaying things from 5 minutes ago. Buggy feature...
> Imagine we cache the homepage, and I go and create a new "product", and
> go to the homepage and don't see it there. What do I do? Panic? Say it's
> a bug and call the IT guy only to look like a fool later when I try to
> show it? Report a bug to those developers only to have it closed as
> "won't fix, duplicate of the other 30 issues reported this month"?
Of course caching needs to be use with intelligence and should be used 
only on content that you can invalidate the cache for.
But the numbers shown higher up, show that a significant portion of the 
load time is actually in certain scripts (panels or home page) that are 
costly by nature and quite almost the same from one run to another.

It's not something that is problematic by essence but this is something 
an administrator needs to be aware of.
It's known that an entry point should be fast. For instance Google does 
not use a dynamic page for it's search box.
Having a cost of 2 seconds to display the boxes from our home page is a 

Another thing that it shows is that indeed there is a lot of time in 
many little things. 37 templates, thousands of calls to the prefs and to 
the message API (you forgot that one).

> Personally, I think that most of the costs come from three main points:
> - checkAccess is too slow
> - getXWikiPreference is too slow
> - there's no way to just get some document metadata like the title
> without loading the full document from the database
> We should focus on these three for a start.
> But I might be wrong as well; the best way to work on performance is to
> start a profiler, find the hot spots, and tinker them until they stop
> being a problem.

That's not always true. I've run profilers on XWiki and profilers are 
good to look at contentions and specific code that is called a lot under 
It does not tell you if your code is necessary or not. A good 
instrumentation of the "logic" of your page is interesting too.

In my view all performance information is interesting as it allows to 
gain information about our application.

What is really important is to separate the use case. There is no point 
in profiling the home page of XWiki since it's load time is probably not 
XWiki core apis time, but it's the logic that is used in the home page 
So it's important to know exactly what you profile.


1/ You profile a scenario to find out which pages should be improved
    version A: no load
    version B: with load
2/ You profile your skin alone
3/ You try to profile the core with and without load
(but that last one is complicated because there are many ways to use the 

In my view, "load testing" is not even what we are looking at now. It's 
something different to look at load, CPU and memory consumption than 
looking at raw speed of pages. On this aspect I noticed during load 
testing that XWikiDocument cloning is called too much (on getObject() 
and therefore by livetables) and has increased in cost with component 
reference injection in BaseProperty. We can probably measure that an 
XWikiPreference cloning is quite expensive.

Now I agree that checkAccess is interesting (in my tests I'm Admin so we 
bypass most of the code there). getXWikiPreference is probably not that 
slow, but is called too much. I would look at the message api too, and 
the skin finding code.
In general I would think about all the stuff that is actually NOT 
changing once you got out of development mode. XWiki is very powerfull 
and everything is very dynamic. However once you have put your wiki in 
production, you don't necessarly need this dynamicity and you are paying 
the code of it.

Maybe we could have an option which says "production mode" in the admin 
which activates long term caches for everything that is configurable in 
the Wiki:

- skin
- prefs
- translations

What I mean by long term caches, is not even looking at if this data has 
changed. Doing this won't reduce a page load from 4 seconds to 0.5 
seconds because when you are at 4 seconds it usually means there is 
logic that needs to work with more data, but it will more reduce the 
currently incompressible part from something like 200ms to 100ms or even 
50ms, and therefore would have a lot of effect on the footprint of the 
web server. It won't fix the time of loading of JS and CSS which is 
quite significant too.

Now the big question is what to focus on in priority. That's one the 
objectives of the investigation process. See what makes more sense to 
focus on.
I'll try to list all the areas that can be looked at. Clearly the 
current document puts a bit to core part aside.


> Caches work well for mostly static pages, not for highly dynamic
> scripts, and these scripts are the ones that cost the most. Caching
> plain wiki documents will save too little.

Ludovic Dubost
Blog: http://blog.ludovic.org/
XWiki: http://www.xwiki.com
Skype: ldubost GTalk: ldubost
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