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PerformanceHat: A Feedback-driven development plugin for the Eclipse IDE


Copyright 2015 Software Evolution and Architecture Lab, University of Zurich

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.


This is a research project by the Software Evolution and Architecture Lab at the Department of Computer Science of the University of Zurich. Interested users can check out the corresponding research paper to learn more about our research.

The aim of this project is to integrate runtime monitoring data from production deployments of the software into the tools developers utilize in their daily workflows (i.e., IDEs) to enable tighter feedback loops. We refer to this notion as feedback-driven development (FDD).

In this project, the abstract FDD concept is instantiated in the form of a plugin for the Eclipse IDE.

Set-up and installing


  • Maven at least version 3.1
  • MongoDB installed and running
  • Eclipse IDE installed
  • An internet connection to resolve Maven dependencies


The code is structured as a multi-module Maven project.

  • Parent project is cw-feedback-eclipse-parent
  • Build everything: In cw-feedback-eclipse-parent , run mvn install


Installing the plugin to your Eclipse IDE

The plugin update site will be built into the directory:


To install the produced Eclipse plugin into your local IDE instance, open Eclipse, open the Help Menu, select the entry Install New Software.

Install New Software

In the newly opened window, click on Add


and then choose Local.. on the dialog.


Now you can browse to the location of the cw-feedback-eclipse-p2updatesite/target/repository folder, and select it as a root folder for the plugin. Give it an appropriate name (such as PerformanceHat), click OK, and then check all checkboxes that appear,

Select all

and click on Next to proceed and finish the installation procedure.

Running the Feedback Handler Server

  • The plugin needs a server as a data source for runtime monitoring data of deployed instances.
  • This component is located in the cw-feedback-handler submodule.
  • Run it with mvn jetty:run in cw-feedback-handler

Usage in an example application


  • Completed previous steps of this readme
  • cw-feedback-handler is still running (mvn jetty:run)

To see the plugin in action, you will need an example application (target) that will be analyzed by the plugin to give performance hints while modifying the code of the example application.

  • The code for the example application is located in the cw-feedback-example-application submodule.

To use the plugin in the example application do the following steps

  • Run mvn install in cw-feedback-example-application
  • Choose an application id for your example application
  • Open http://localhost:8080/monitoring/register?applicationId=YOUR_APPLICATION_ID in the browser and replace YOUR_APPLICATION_ID with the application id you chose
  • Note / write down the access token you get from the step above
  • In Eclipse: open Window > Preferences and look for the Feedback-Driven Development entry on the left side. Click on it, and enter http://localhost:8080/ as Feedback Handler URL.
  • In Eclipse: right click on cw-feedback-example-application, then choose Configure in the context menu and click on Enable Feedback Nature.
  • Modify src/main/resources/ in cw-feedback-example-application: Replace the monitoring.app_id placeholder with the application name / id you used in the registration step before. Also, replace the monitoring.access_token placeholder by the access token you got from the server and wrote down.
  • In Eclipse: right click on cw-feedback-example-application and open Properties. Look for the Feedback-Driven Development entry on the left side, and enter the app id and access token from before again. Then, on the left side, under Feedback-Driven Development, you should see an entry named Performance Hat. Open that entry and enter some time values for the two options (for example 200 ms and 200 ms).

Be sure that the Feedback Handler is still running at this point. Otherwise start it again prior to running the Example Application.

  • run the Example Application by executing the main method in cw-feedback-example-application in the class uzh.ifi.seal.performancehat.example.Application

  • After the webapplication has started, go to a browser and open the following two urls: http://localhost:9000/example http://localhost:9000/users

Don't worry if the pages take very long time to open, this is a wanted behavior.

While you have run those two pages, the Feedback Handler has recorded all the performance metrics behind those two requests. This means, the Feedback Handler has now data to feed into the plugin in order to display it to you in the IDE.

Using the plugin

  • To see the performance plugin in action, open the class
  • Do some change (add a new line or so) and save, in order to force Eclipse to rebuild it.
  • After rebuilding it, spots in the code that exceed the performance limits which you set before in milliseconds, are highlighted in orange.
  • You can hover over these spots and if everything has worked fine, you should see a popup telling you how long the respective method or loop takes to execute.


  • UNIX Machines: If while using the plugin you see just an empty Pop-Up Window with a message saying <the browser control could not be initialized>, install the libwebkitgtk package (see the solution on Stackoverflow: here )


A Feedback-driven development plugin for the Eclipse IDE






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