Provided by: tcllib_1.19-dfsg-2_all bug


       bench_lang_intro - bench language introduction


       This  document  is  an informal introduction to version 1 of the bench language based on a
       multitude of examples. After reading this a benchmark writer should be ready to understand
       the formal bench language specification.

       In  the  broadest  terms  possible the bench language is essentially Tcl, plus a number of
       commands to support the declaration of benchmarks.  A document written in this language is
       a Tcl script and has the same syntax.

       One of the most simplest benchmarks which can be written in bench is

              bench -desc LABEL -body {
                  set a b

       This  code  declares  a benchmark named LABEL which measures the time it takes to assign a
       value to a variable. The Tcl code doing this assignment is the -body of the benchmark.

       Our next example demonstrates how to declare initialization and cleanup  code,  i.e.  code
       computing information for the use of the -body, and for releasing such resources after the
       measurement is done.  They are the -pre- and the -post-body, respectively.

       In our example, directly drawn from the benchmark  suite  of  Tcllib's  aes  package,  the
       concrete  initialization  code  constructs the key schedule used by the encryption command
       whose speed we measure, and  the  cleanup  code  releases  any  resources  bound  to  that

              bench -desc "AES-${len} ECB encryption core" -pre {
                  set key [aes::Init ecb $k $i]
              } -body {
                  aes::Encrypt $key $p
              } -post {
                  aes::Final $key

       Our  last  example again deals with initialization and cleanup code. To see the difference
       to the regular initialization and cleanup discussed in the last section it is necessary to
       know a bit more about how bench actually measures the speed of the the -body.

       Instead  of  running  the  -body  just once the system actually executes the -body several
       hundred times and then returns the average of the found execution times. This is  done  to
       remove  environmental  effects like machine load from the result as much as possible, with
       outliers canceling each other out in the average.

       The drawback of doing things this way is that when we measure  operations  which  are  not
       idempotent  we will most likely not measure the time for the operation we want, but of the
       state(s) the system is in after the first iteration,  a  mixture  of  things  we  have  no
       interest in.

       Should  we  wish,  for  example, to measure the time it takes to include an element into a
       set, with the element not yet in the set, and the  set  having  specific  properties  like
       being  a  shared Tcl_Obj, then the first iteration will measure the time for this. However
       all subsequent iterations will measure the time to include an element which is already  in
       the set, and the Tcl_Obj holding the set will not be shared anymore either. In the end the
       timings taken for the several hundred iterations of this state  will  overwhelm  the  time
       taken from the first iteration, the only one which actually measured what we wanted.

       The  advanced  initialization  and cleanup codes, -ipre- and the -ipost-body respectively,
       are present to solve this very problem. While the regular initialization and cleanup codes
       are  executed  before  and  after  the  whole  series of iterations the advanced codes are
       executed before and after each iteration of the body, without being  measured  themselves.
       This allows them to bring the system into the exact state the body wishes to measure.

       Our  example,  directly drawn from the benchmark suite of Tcllib's struct::set package, is
       for exactly the example we used above  to  demonstrate  the  necessity  for  the  advanced
       initialization  and  cleanup.  Its  concrete  initialization  code  constructs  a variable
       refering to a set with specific properties (The set has a string representation, which  is
       shared)  affecting  the  speed of the inclusion command, and the cleanup code releases the
       temporary variables created by this initialization.

              bench -desc "set include, missing <SC> x$times $n" -ipre {
                  set A $sx($times,$n)
                  set B $A
              } -body {
                  struct::set include A x
              } -ipost {
                  unset A B


       Now that this document has been digested the reader, assumed to be a writer of benchmarks,
       he  should  be  fortified  enough  to  be  able  to  understand  the formal bench language
       specfication. It will also serve as the detailed specification and  cheat  sheet  for  all
       available commands and their syntax.


       This  document,  and  the  package  it  describes, will undoubtedly contain bugs and other
       problems.   Please  report  such  in  the  category   bench   of   the   Tcllib   Trackers
       [].  Please also report any ideas for enhancements you
       may have for either package and/or documentation.

       When proposing code changes, please provide unified diffs, i.e the output of diff -u.

       Note further that attachments are strongly preferred over inlined patches. Attachments can
       be  made  by going to the Edit form of the ticket immediately after its creation, and then
       using the left-most button in the secondary navigation bar.


       bench_intro, bench_lang_spec


       bench language, benchmark, examples, performance, testing


       Benchmark tools


       Copyright (c) 2007 Andreas Kupries <>