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Bullet

The Bullet plugin/gem is designed to help you increase your application’s performance by reducing the number of queries it makes. It will watch your queries while you develop your application and notify you when you should add eager loading (N+1 queries), when you’re using eager loading that isn’t necessary and when you should use counter cache.

Best practice is to use Bullet in development mode or custom mode (staging, profile, etc.). The last thing you want is your clients getting alerts about how lazy you are.

The Bullet plugin/gem now supports rails 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3, tested in rails 2.1.2, 2.2.2 and 2.3.2.


Change

There is a large refactor from gem 1.4 to 1.5, so if you upgrade to 1.5 gem, please read the Configuration section again and rewrite your configuration.


Contributors

sriedel did a lot of awesome refactors, added xmpp notification support, and added Hacking.textile about how to extend to bullet plugin.
flipsasser added Growl, console.log and Rails.log support, very awesome. And he also improved README.
rainux added group style console.log.
2collegebums added some great specs to generate red bar.


Install

You can install it as a gem:


sudo gem install bullet

Configuration

Bullet won’t do ANYTHING unless you tell it to explicitly. Append to config/environments/development.rb initializer with the following code:


config.after_initialize do
  Bullet.enable = true
  Bullet.alert = true
  Bullet.bullet_logger = true
  Bullet.console = true
  Bullet.growl = true
  Bullet.rails_logger = true
  Bullet.disable_browser_cache = true
  Bullet.xmpp = { :account => 'bullets_account@jabber.org',
                  :password => 'bullets_password_for_jabber',
                  :receiver => 'your_account@jabber.org',
                  :show_online_status => true }
end

The notifier of bullet is a wrap of uniform_notifier

The code above will enable all five of the Bullet notification systems:

  • Bullet.enable: enable Bullet plugin/gem, otherwise do nothing
  • Bullet.alert: pop up a JavaScript alert in the browser
  • Bullet.bullet_logger: log to the Bullet log file (RAILS_ROOT/log/bullet.log)
  • Bullet.rails_logger: add warnings directly to the Rails log
  • Bullet.console: log warnings to your browser’s console.log (Safari/Webkit browsers or Firefox w/Firebug installed)
  • Bullet.growl: pop up Growl warnings if your system has Growl installed. Requires a little bit of configuration
  • Bullet.disable_browser_cache: disable browser cache which usually causes unexpected problems

Log

The Bullet log log/bullet.log will look something like this:

  • N+1 Query:
    
    2009-08-25 20:40:17[INFO] N+1 Query: PATH_INFO: /posts;    model: Post => associations: [comments]·
    Add to your finder: :include => [:comments]
    2009-08-25 20:40:17[INFO] N+1 Query: method call stack:·
    /Users/richard/Downloads/test/app/views/posts/index.html.erb:11:in `_run_erb_app47views47posts47index46html46erb'
    /Users/richard/Downloads/test/app/views/posts/index.html.erb:8:in `each'
    /Users/richard/Downloads/test/app/views/posts/index.html.erb:8:in `_run_erb_app47views47posts47index46html46erb'
    /Users/richard/Downloads/test/app/controllers/posts_controller.rb:7:in `index'
    

The first two lines are notifications that N+1 queries have been encountered. The remaining lines are stack traces so you can find exactly where the queries were invoked in your code, and fix them.

  • Unused eager loading:
    
    2009-08-25 20:53:56[INFO] Unused eager loadings: PATH_INFO: /posts;    model: Post => associations: [comments]·
    Remove from your finder: :include => [:comments]
    

These two lines are notifications that unused eager loadings have been encountered.

  • Need counter cache:
    
    2009-09-11 09:46:50[INFO] Need Counter Cache
      Post => [:comments]
    

Growl Support

To get Growl support up-and-running for Bullet, follow the steps below:

  • Install the ruby-growl gem: gem install ruby-growl
  • Open the Growl preference pane in Systems Preferences
  • Click the “Network” tab
  • Make sure both “Listen for incoming notifications” and “Allow remote application registration” are checked. Note: If you set a password, you will need to set Bullet.growl = { :password => 'growl password' } in the config file.
  • Restart Growl (“General” tab → Stop Growl → Start Growl)
  • Boot up your application. Bullet will automatically send a Growl notification when Growl is turned on. If you do not see it when your application loads, make sure it is enabled in your initializer and double-check the steps above.

Ruby 1.9 issue

ruby-growl gem has an issue about md5 in ruby 1.9, if you use growl and ruby 1.9, check this gist http://gist.github.com/300184


XMPP/Jabber Support

To get XMPP support up-and-running for Bullet, follow the steps below:

  • Install the xmpp4r gem: sudo gem install xmpp4r
  • Make both the bullet and the receipient account add each other as contacts.
    This will require you to manually log into both accounts, add each other
    as contact and confirm each others contact request.
  • Boot up your application. Bullet will automatically send an XMPP notification when XMPP is turned on.

Important

If you encounter the following errors in development environment:


You might have expected an instance of Array.
The error occurred while evaluating nil.include?
    /usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/activerecord-2.3.2/lib/active_record/attribute_methods.rb:142:in `create_time_zone_conversion_attribute?'
    /usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/activerecord-2.3.2/lib/active_record/attribute_methods.rb:75:in `define_attribute_methods'
    /usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/activerecord-2.3.2/lib/active_record/attribute_methods.rb:71:in `each'
    /usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/activerecord-2.3.2/lib/active_record/attribute_methods.rb:71:in `define_attribute_methods'
    /usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/activerecord-2.3.2/lib/active_record/attribute_methods.rb:242:in `method_missing'

Or any strange behavior of bullet plugin/gem, please disable your browser’s cache.


Advance

The bullet plugin/gem use rack middleware for http request. If you want to bullet for without http server, such as job server. You can do like this:


Bullet.start_request if Bullet.enable?
# run job
if Bullet.enable?
  Bullet.growl_notification
  Bullet.log_notification('JobServer: ')
  Bullet.end_request
end

Or you want to use it in test mode


before(:each)
  Bullet.start_request if Bullet.enable?
end

after(:each)
  if Bullet.enable?
    Bullet.perform_out_of_channel_notifications
    Bullet.end_request
  end
end

Don’t forget enabling bullet in test environment.


Links


Step by step example

Bullet is designed to function as you browse through your application in development. It will alert you whenever it encounters N+1 queries or unused eager loading.

1. setup test environment


$ rails test
$ cd test
$ script/generate scaffold post name:string
$ script/generate scaffold comment name:string post_id:integer
$ rake db:migrate

2. change app/model/post.rb and app/model/comment.rb


class Post < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_many :comments
end

class Comment < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :post
end

3. go to script/console and execute


post1 = Post.create(:name => 'first')
post2 = Post.create(:name => 'second')
post1.comments.create(:name => 'first')
post1.comments.create(:name => 'second')
post2.comments.create(:name => 'third')
post2.comments.create(:name => 'fourth')

4. change the app/views/posts/index.html.erb to produce a N+1 query


<% @posts.each do |post| %>
  <tr>
    <td><%=h post.name %></td>
    <td><%= post.comments.collect(&:name) %></td>
    <td><%= link_to 'Show', post %></td>
    <td><%= link_to 'Edit', edit_post_path(post) %></td>
    <td><%= link_to 'Destroy', post, :confirm => 'Are you sure?', :method => :delete %></td>
  </tr>
<% end %>

5. add bullet plugin


$ script/plugin install git://github.com/flyerhzm/bullet.git

6. enable the bullet plugin in development, add a line to config/environments/development.rb


config.after_initialize do
  Bullet.enable = true
  Bullet.alert = true
  Bullet.bullet_logger = true
  Bullet.console = true
#  Bullet.growl = true
  Bullet.rails_logger = true
  Bullet.disable_browser_cache = true
end

7. start server


$ script/server

8. input http://localhost:3000/posts in browser, then you will see a popup alert box says


The request has unused preload associations as follows:
None
The request has N+1 queries as follows:
model: Post => associations: [comment]

which means there is a N+1 query from post object to comments associations.

In the meanwhile, there’s a log appended into log/bullet.log file


2009-08-20 09:12:19[INFO] N+1 Query: PATH_INFO: /posts;    model: Post => assocations: [comments]
Add your finder: :include => [:comments]
2009-08-20 09:12:19[INFO] N+1 Query: method call stack:
/Users/richard/Downloads/test/app/views/posts/index.html.erb:11:in `_run_erb_app47views47posts47index46html46erb'
/Users/richard/Downloads/test/app/views/posts/index.html.erb:8:in `each'
/Users/richard/Downloads/test/app/views/posts/index.html.erb:8:in `_run_erb_app47views47posts47index46html46erb'
/Users/richard/Downloads/test/app/controllers/posts_controller.rb:7:in `index'

The generated SQLs are


  Post Load (1.0ms)   SELECT * FROM "posts"
  Comment Load (0.4ms)   SELECT * FROM "comments" WHERE ("comments".post_id = 1)
  Comment Load (0.3ms)   SELECT * FROM "comments" WHERE ("comments".post_id = 2)

9. fix the N+1 query, change app/controllers/posts_controller.rb file


  def index
    @posts = Post.find(:all, :include => :comments)

    respond_to do |format|
      format.html # index.html.erb
      format.xml  { render :xml => @posts }
    end
  end

10. refresh http://localhost:3000/posts page, no alert box and no log appended.

The generated SQLs are


  Post Load (0.5ms)   SELECT * FROM "posts"
  Comment Load (0.5ms)   SELECT "comments".* FROM "comments" WHERE ("comments".post_id IN (1,2))

a N+1 query fixed. Cool!

11. now simulate unused eager loading. Change app/controllers/posts_controller.rb and app/views/posts/index.html.erb


  def index
    @posts = Post.find(:all, :include => :comments)

    respond_to do |format|
      format.html # index.html.erb
      format.xml  { render :xml => @posts }
    end
  end

<% @posts.each do |post| %>
  <tr>
    <td><%=h post.name %></td>
    <td><%= link_to 'Show', post %></td>
    <td><%= link_to 'Edit', edit_post_path(post) %></td>
    <td><%= link_to 'Destroy', post, :confirm => 'Are you sure?', :method => :delete %></td>
  </tr>
<% end %>

12. refresh http://localhost:3000/posts page, then you will see a popup alert box says


The request has unused preload associations as follows:
model: Post => associations: [comment]
The request has N+1 queries as follows:
None

In the meanwhile, there’s a log appended into log/bullet.log file


2009-08-25 21:13:22[INFO] Unused preload associations: PATH_INFO: /posts;    model: Post => associations: [comments]·
Remove from your finder: :include => [:comments]

13. simulate counter_cache. Change app/controllers/posts_controller.rb and app/views/posts/index.html.erb


  def index
    @posts = Post.find(:all)

    respond_to do |format|
      format.html # index.html.erb
      format.xml  { render :xml => @posts }
    end
  end

<% @posts.each do |post| %>
  <tr>
    <td><%=h post.name %></td>
    <td><%=h post.comments.size %></td>
    <td><%= link_to 'Show', post %></td>
    <td><%= link_to 'Edit', edit_post_path(post) %></td>
    <td><%= link_to 'Destroy', post, :confirm => 'Are you sure?', :method => :delete %></td>
  </tr>
<% end %>

14. refresh http://localhost:3000/posts page, then you will see a popup alert box says


Need counter cache
  Post => [:comments]

In the meanwhile, there’s a log appended into log/bullet.log file.


2009-09-11 10:07:10[INFO] Need Counter Cache
  Post => [:comments]

Copyright © 2009 – 2010 Richard Huang (flyerhzm@gmail.com), released under the MIT license

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