Software

Heapviz: Interactive Heap Visualization for Program Understanding and Debugging

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Executive Summary

Understanding the data structures in a program is crucial to understanding how the program works, or why it doesn't work. Inspecting the code that implements the data structures, however, is an arduous task and often fails to yield insights into the global organization of a program's data. Inspecting the actual contents of the heap solves these problems but presents a significant challenge of its own: finding an effective way to present the enormous number of objects it contains. This paper presents Heapviz, a tool for visualizing and exploring snapshots of the heap obtained from a running Java program. Unlike existing tools, such as traditional de-buggers, Heapviz presents a global view of the program state as a graph, together with powerful interactive capabilities for navigating it.

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