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Xamarin Android Performance

Xamarin.Android Performance Issues

1. Investigation

One of the best ways to investigate a problematic Xamarin.Android Errors is to first ensure you have the proper tooling available:

  • Diagnostic MSBuild Output Enabled(Instructions)
  • Android SDK Installed
  • Android API Level Documentation

2. Render

You typically have about 16 ms / frame to do all of your drawing logic. This number is typically found based on the hardware performance of 1000ms / 60hz = 16ms. If the window is missed in the 16ms window, you will experience what's called a "Dropped Frame". You will need to wait until the next frame to render an update. That means it will take roughly 32ms to see a new result.

Jank

Jank is a term for dropped or delayed frames.

Rendering Pipeline

CPU

The CPU consists of 4 major items:

  • Measure
  • Layout
  • Record
  • Execute

There are two problematic areas:

  • Layouts
  • Invalidations

Debugging Tools:

Hierarchy Viewer - http://developer.android.com/tools/help/hierarchy-viewer.html

You'll want to click on the venn-diagram icon which will put 3 dots on each View.

  • Left - Measure Phase
  • Middle - Layout Phase
  • Right - Draw Phase

Color (Relative Performance to other nodes)

  • Green - Fastest performer compared to other nodes
  • Yellow - Bottom 50% to other nodes
  • Red - Potential problem / Red Flag / Slowest Performer(Should be expected on at least one node)

Best Practices:

Keep layouts simple and flat. Inflating layouts is expensive in which each nested layout will affect performance.

GPU

The GPU consists of 1 major item:

  • Rasterization

There is one problematic area:

  • Overdraw

Debugging Tools:

Show GPU Overdraw (Settings -> Developer Options -> Debug GPU Overdraw -> Show overdraw areas)

http://developer.android.com/tools/performance/debug-gpu-overdraw/index.html

You will now see that your device has many different colors to it. You can use the following key to help diagnose problematic areas:

  • 4x Overdraw Red
  • 3x Overdraw Pink
  • 2x Overdraw Green
  • 1x Overdraw Blue

Ideally you want your application to only be showing Blue->Green.

When you identify problematic areas of overdraw, use ClipRect() / QuickReject() and/or remove backgrounds/drawables/views.

3. Compute

The compute section is mainly comprised of three major items:

  • Profile
  • Fix
  • Repeat

Debugging Tools:

Traceview - http://developer.android.com/tools/help/traceview.html

http://developer.android.com/tools/debugging/debugging-tracing.html

systrace - http://developer.android.com/tools/performance/systrace/index.html

Trace.BeginSection() - http://developer.android.com/tools/debugging/systrace.html#app-trace

Analyze a systrace - http://developer.android.com/tools/debugging/systrace.html#analysis

Best Practices:

Make use of Batching/Caching to make less requests or have a locally saved cache to backup to.

Avoid blocking the UI/Main Thread by identifying pieces of work that can go on background threads.

4. Memory

Memory is a bit trickier with Xamarin.Android as there are two Garbage Collectors being used.

Mono

Dalvik/ART

Debugging Tools:

Memory Monitor - http://developer.android.com/tools/performance/memory-monitor/index.html

Heap Viewer - http://developer.android.com/tools/performance/heap-viewer/index.html

Allocation Tracker - http://developer.android.com/tools/performance/allocation-tracker/index.html

Xamarin Profiler - https://xamarin.com/profiler

Memory Leaks:

While looking in memory monitor, you may notice that you are allocating more memory than what is being collected by the GC. This is the first red flag of a potential memory leak.

5. Battery

Battery Drain:

Current draw over time is the key to what work is being done via your application.

What tasks in my application are draining the battery the fastest?

Debugging Tools:

Battery Historian - http://developer.android.com/tools/performance/batterystats-battery-historian/index.html

https://github.com/google/battery-historian

Best Practices:

Limit network access.

Use JobScheduler to schedule jobs against the framework that will be executed in your application's own process.

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