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Lightbeam - measuring performance of Swing look-and-feels

This Radiance module is targeted at Swing look-and-feel developers that wish to test the performance of their libraries.

LightBeam has a collection of static and dynamic scenarios that are targeting different core Swing components and different interaction scenarios. The static scenarios create a number of components and then render the main frame onto an offscreen buffer. The dynamic scenarios run a number of typical interaction scenarios that involve changing the components or models.

First, run the following Gradle commands locally to build Lightbeam as part of Radiance and collect the necessary jar files:

  • gradlew
  • gradlew copyJars
  • gradlew getToolsDependencies

Now configure the specific version of Java runtime that you want to test under and the classpath with all the dependencies:

export JAVA_HOME=`/usr/libexec/java_home -v 9`



To measure the performance of a specific core look-and-feel - in this case Nimbus - run the following command:

java -Dswing.defaultlaf=javax.swing.plaf.nimbus.NimbusLookAndFeel -cp $CLASSPATH org.pushingpixels.lightbeam.DynamicPerformanceSuite 10

This will launch the dynamic performance suite and run all the scenarios ten times (the parameter passed to the main() method). Do not interact with the app while it's running, and do not switch away to other apps on your machine.

As the suite runs, it prints out thread user time and thread CPU time spent on each scenario, with minimum, maximum, average and deviance listed:

avg 365, min 306, max 428, dev 0.12 Buttons : Toggling selection on buttons

avg 246, min 196, max 398, dev 0.24 Buttons : Toggling enabled on buttons

avg 339, min 245, max 587, dev 0.26 Buttons : Changing text on buttons

avg 204, min 118, max 465, dev 0.56 Combos : Toggling enabled on comboboxes

avg 151, min 128, max 212, dev 0.18 Combos : Toggling editable on comboboxes

avg 109, min 62, max 415, dev 0.94 List : Scrolling large list

avg 51, min 48, max 56, dev 0.05 List : Moving elements in a large list

The numbers are milliseconds it takes to render a frame with a number of matching components (buttons, sliders etc) to an offscreen buffer (the smaller, the better).

With this, you can compare the performance of your look-and-feel with that of core / third-party libraries. You can also track performance improvements and regressions during the development cycle.

Here is the script used for tracking performance numbers for Substance:

export JAVA_HOME=`/usr/libexec/java_home -v 9`




java -cp $CLASSPATH:$SUBSTANCE_CLASSPATH org.pushingpixels.lightbeam.DynamicPerformanceSuite 10