2018 twenty four merry days of Perl Feed

Sticky Delight

Array::Sticky::INC - 2018-12-06

Sugar Plum Pudding was frustrated. Things were going so sloooowly, and there's only so much time an elf can spend drinking eggnog waiting for yet another script to start up before he goes a little bit crazy.

It was his job to validate the updates to the naughty and nice lists that the elfs located in the off-grid field offices would send in. It was a messy process, from extracting thumb drives tied to carrier pigeons to scanning and OCRing messages encoded in the personals section of various publications. This process involved wielding a plethora of handy-dandy scripts that Plum had developed to automate the tedious nature of each of the bespoke data transfer mechanisms.

Before he'd gone on vacation these scripts had been as fast as greased lightning. When he got back a slew of commits from the new intern - Jingle Frosted Cupcake - had made using them practically impossible. Where they used to start up in seconds they now took almost a minute before they even printed out the first welcome line. Inevitably Plum would get bored and distracted waiting for the scripts to do their thing and find himself surfing the internet for funny Reindeer videos rather than doing what he should be doing.

It was obvious to Sugar Plum Pudding that that pesky intern was now somehow loading a whole bunch of code that he didn't really need to at the start of each module via one of the normal use statements. One of these had to be causing half the codebase to be loaded in each and every script, making the whole thing run at the speed of molasses.

Of course, Jingle Frosted Cupcake denied the whole thing.

"Look Sugar Plum Pudding, I know what you're talking about, which is why I instrumented the whole thing and I can tell you for sure, we're not loading anything unexpected."

Plum asked Jingle to show him the code he'd used to instrument things. It was a pretty standard @INC hook as described in last years advent calendar


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package onitorLoading;

use strict;
use warnings;

use Time::HiRes qw(time);

my $time = time;
my %seen;

unshift @INC, sub {
    shift;
    my $filename = shift;

    my $modulename = $filename;
    $modulename =~ s{/}{::}g;
    $modulename =~ s{[.]pm$}{};
    return if $seen{$modulename};

    my $t = time - $time;
    my $time = sprintf('[% 3d.%03d]',int($t),($t-int($t))*1000);

    $seen{ $modulename } = 1;

    print STDERR "$time $modulename\n";
    return undef;
};

1;

 

"So you see," Jingle explained, "we push a code ref to the start of @INC and whenever Perl tries to load a module it runs the code ref first and prints out what it wants to load and the current time"

    $ perl -MonitorLoading -e 'use DateTime'
    [  0.000] DateTime
    [  0.000] warnings::register
    [  0.000] namespace::autoclean
    [  0.000] B::Hooks::EndOfScope
    [  0.000] Module::Implementation
    [  0.000] Module::Runtime
    [  0.001] Try::Tiny
    [  0.002] Carp
    [  0.002] overloading
    [  0.005] Sub::Util
    [  0.005] List::Util
    [  0.006] constant
    [  0.007] B::Hooks::EndOfScope::XS
    [  0.008] Variable::Magic
    [  0.008] base
    [  0.008] vars
    [  0.010] Sub::Exporter::Progressive
    [  0.012] namespace::clean
    [  0.012] Package::Stash
    [  0.012] Package::Stash::XS
    [  0.013] namespace::clean::_Util
    [  0.015] DateTime::Duration
    [  0.015] DateTime::Helpers
    [  0.015] Scalar::Util
    [  0.016] DateTime::Types
    [  0.016] parent
    [  0.016] Specio::Exporter
    [  0.016] Specio::Helpers
    [  0.016] overload
    [  0.017] Specio::Registry
    [  0.018] Specio
    [  0.018] Specio::Declare
    [  0.018] Specio::Coercion
    [  0.018] Specio::OO
    [  0.018] B
    [  0.020] Eval::Closure
    [  0.021] MRO::Compat
    [  0.021] mro
    [  0.021] DynaLoader
    [  0.021] Config
    [  0.023] Role::Tiny
    [  0.025] Specio::PartialDump
    [  0.025] utf8
    [  0.026] utf8_heavy.pl
    [  0.026] re
    [  0.029] unicore::Heavy.pl
    [  0.037] unicore::lib::Perl::Print.pl
    [  0.038] Specio::TypeChecks
    [  0.038] Storable
    [  0.038] Log::Agent
    [  0.038] Fcntl
    [  0.041] Role::Tiny::With
    [  0.041] Specio::Role::Inlinable
    [  0.043] Specio::Constraint::Simple
    [  0.043] Specio::Constraint::Role::Interface
    [  0.043] Specio::Exception
    [  0.044] Devel::StackTrace
    [  0.044] Devel::StackTrace::Frame
    [  0.045] File::Spec
    [  0.045] File::Spec::Unix
    [  0.045] Cwd
    [  0.054] Specio::DeclaredAt
    [  0.056] Specio::Library::Builtins
    [  0.056] Specio::Constraint::Parameterizable
    [  0.056] Specio::Constraint::Parameterized
    [  0.061] Ref::Util
    [  0.061] Ref::Util::XS
    [  0.064] Specio::Library::Numeric
    [  0.067] Specio::Library::String
    [  0.068] Sub::Identify
    [  0.069] Specio::Constraint::AnyCan
    [  0.070] Specio::Constraint::Role::CanType
    [  0.074] Specio::Constraint::ObjectIsa
    [  0.075] Specio::Constraint::Role::IsaType
    [  0.078] Specio::Constraint::Enum
    [  0.083] Specio::Constraint::Union
    [  0.085] Specio::Constraint::ObjectCan
    [  0.091] Params::ValidationCompiler
    [  0.091] Params::ValidationCompiler::Compiler
    [  0.091] Params::ValidationCompiler::Exceptions
    [  0.092] Exception::Class
    [  0.092] Exception::Class::Base
    [  0.092] Class::Data::Inheritable
    [  0.095] Class::XSAccessor
    [  0.095] Class::XSAccessor::Heavy
    [  0.102] DateTime::Locale
    [  0.102] DateTime::Locale::Data
    [  0.102] File::ShareDir
    [  0.103] Class::Inspector
    [  0.105] List::MoreUtils
    [  0.105] List::MoreUtils::PP
    [  0.108] List::MoreUtils::XS
    [  0.108] Exporter::Tiny
    [  0.119] Params::Util
    [  0.130] DateTime::Locale::FromData
    [  0.131] DateTime::Locale::Util
    [  0.135] DateTime::TimeZone
    [  0.136] DateTime::TimeZone::Catalog
    [  0.139] DateTime::TimeZone::Floating
    [  0.139] Class::Singleton
    [  0.139] DateTime::TimeZone::OffsetOnly
    [  0.140] DateTime::TimeZone::UTC
    [  0.142] DateTime::TimeZone::Local
    [  0.143] DateTime::TimeZone::OlsonDB::Change
    [  0.153] POSIX
    [  0.155] Tie::Hash
    [  0.158] integer
    [  0.165] DateTime::Infinite

"When I run it against our code base, I don't see a whole lot of our code being loaded at all."

Plum thought that this was odd, so he tried it himself. And Jingle was right, almost none of their code was being listed!

Three mince pies later, Jingle figured out why. He'd opened up one of the scripts and spotted the offending lines:


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#!/usr/bin/perl

use strict;
use warnings;

# load modules from our local directory too
use FindBin qw( $FindBin::Bin );
use File::Spec::Functions qw( catdir );
use lib catdir( $FindBin::Bin, 'lib' );

 

The last three lines of the code were telling perl to load modules from the lib directory located in the same directory as the script itself. And it did this by pushing a new directory to the front of @INC - in front of the code ref that onitorLoading had put there, meaning that that code hook was never called!

What Sugar Plum Pudding needed to do was somehow make this first entry of @INC sticky so that it always stayed where it was even if something else was pushed to the start of @INC.

Sugar Plum Pudding knew that you can tie arrays in Perl so that whenever someone reads from or writes to them instead of using a dumb old array perl would execute code. And @INC for these purposes can be tied just like any old array.

So fixing this should be as simple as writing a little Perl code. Or, this being Perl, going to the CPAN for some Perl code that does this for us.

Array::Sticky

Array::Sticky on the CPAN can help us here. It's able to tie an array so that it has a static head part and a mutable end part.


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use Array::Sticky;

my @reindeer;
tie @reindeer, 'Array::Sticky',
    head => ['Rudolph'],
    tail => ['Dasher','Prancer','Vixen'];

# add more reindeer. We're only really manipulating
# the tail part of the list!
unshift @reindeer, 'Comet';

say join ', ', @reindeer;
# Rudolph, Comet, Dasher, Prancer, Vixen

 

Note that Rudolph stays at the front of the list, and Comet is only unshift-ed to second place.

We can do the same with @INC to keep the first element static:


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tie @INC, 'Array::Sticky', head => [shift @INC], body => [@INC];
 

Or, Sugar Plum Pudding can use Array::Sticky::INC from the CPAN, that does exactly that!


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package onitorLoading;

use strict;
use warnings;
use Array::Sticky::INC;

use Time::HiRes qw(time);

my $time = time;
my %seen;

unshift @INC, sub {
    shift;
    my $filename = shift;

    my $modulename = $filename;
    $modulename =~ s{/}{::}g;
    $modulename =~ s{[.]pm$}{};
    return if $seen{$modulename};

    my $t = time - $time;
    my $time = sprintf('[% 3d.%03d]',int($t),($t-int($t))*1000);

    $seen{ $modulename } = 1;

    print STDERR "$time $modulename\n";
    return undef;
};

Array::Sticky::INC->make_sticky;

1;

 

It's full of dependencies!

Sugar Plum made the change and soon spotted the guilty commit that Jingle Frosted Cupcake had made that accidentally loaded a module that loaded a module that loaded a module that loaded their entire web app and the entire DBIx::Class layer.

Gravatar Image This article contributed by: Mark Fowler <mark@twoshortplanks.com>