Diagnostic and debugging techniques for IBM Rational Synergy

Debugging tools included in the IBM Rational Synergy collaborative change and configuration management software can be switched on and off. This article explains the tools and debugging techniques that can help in analyzing critical issues. Using them can help you gather useful information to share with support technicians when you report issues, so they can help you resolve the issue faster.

Venkata Ramarao Kota (ramarao.kv@in.ibm.com), System Software Engineer, IBM

author photoVenkata Kota has been working as an IBM Rational Synergy developer for the past four years. He is responsible for GUI development and maintenance, and he developed the Set Logging Level debug option.



17 January 2012

Also available in Chinese Russian

Rational Synergy overview

IBM® Rational® Synergy software enables globally distributed development teams to work together on a unified change, configuration, and release management platform. Using this task-based environment, they can:

  • Improve development, release management, and build management
  • Accelerate release cycles
  • Maximize productivity, regardless of team size or location
  • Minimize overhead through automation and repeatable best practices
  • Demonstrate compliance with regulations

Usually, when you have a problem using Rational Synergy that you need to report to the technical support team, it typically takes a few to several interactions for the technician to get the required details to properly analyze the issue and propose a workaround or solution. But with the help of the debugging tools, the number of interactions can be reduced significantly and the required data can be gathered before contacting the support team. This helps support or development to respond quickly, early, and effectively.

Rational Synergy provides several debugging tools to diagnose the application's basic issue or problem. This article explains a few of these debugging tools that are available in the Version 7.2 release of Rational Synergy, as well as how to use them. The tools described here are only those available in the application's debug mode, which you can enable by following the instructions in the next section.


Using the debugging tools

Launch the Rational Synergy Java client:

  1. From the toolbar, click Tools to open the Tools menu, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Launch the Options dialog window
Options selected on drop-down menu
  1. Click the Options item on the drop-down menu.

The Options dialog window that will open is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Options dialog window
Two tabs: View, Actions
  1. Click the View tab, and select Font.
  2. To enable the debug mode, press Ctrl + d.
  3. Close the Options dialog window.
  4. Reopen the Tools menu.

The Tools menu lists these additional menu items that are available for debugging purposes (as shown in the Figure 3):

  • Debug Object Info
  • Memory Monitor
  • Selection Monitor
  • Cache Monitor
  • Turn on RFC Dump
  • Start Server Logging
  • Start ACcent Tracing
  • Set Logging Level
Figure 3. Reopen the Tools menu
8 options highlighted on the drop-down menu

The sections that follow describe six of those eight options.

Each option is explained briefly in the following subsections to help you understand and analyze the issues.

Debug Object Info

The Debug Object Info action menu will work only when an object is selected. After selecting an object on the application, click the Debug Object Info menu option, which will display the information about the object that you selected, as shown in the Figure 4.

Figure 4. Debug Object Info view
Information for the selected object

The Debug Object Info contains the complete details of the selected object, such as stored attributes, unretrieved attributes, pseudo attributes, object users and listeners. These details can be used as a reference to verify the data when you feel that the selected object is not displaying the appropriate data in the application. The information displayed helps you identify the underlying problem, whether it is with the application display or within the stored data.

Memory Monitor

The Memory Monitor action displays a window (Figure 5) that shows the basic memory use details in the Java virtual machine (JVM). Given that IBM Rational Synergy runs on the bundled JVM, this shows the Rational Synergy memory use.

Figure 5. Memory Monitor window
Shows the amount of memory in use

The Memory Monitor also provides these options:

Run GC
To force JVM to start garbage collector to free some memory
 
Clean Cache
To clear the IBM Rational Synergy object cache that is maintained internally by the application
 
Dump Heap
To dump the heap on JVM

The information available in the Memory Monitor view is mostly useful to analyze issues such as slow performance of the application. When you feel that the application is responding slowly, you can look into this monitor to find out whether any memory-related issue exists. You can free up some memory by using either then Run GC or Clean Cache options. You can also analyze the JVM heap dump if required. This works like the min-memory profiler.

Selection Monitor

The Selection Monitor is a very simple monitor that tells about the objects that are selected at that moment.

Figure 6. Selection Monitor view
Tree view

The Selection Monitor is useful when you select an object and open the context menu, but the expected menu items are not visible. This can look like a bug, also. But sometimes, when another object is also selected, the items might appear in a history pane, a workspace pane, or some other non-model view. To check that, launch the Selection Monitor and check what selections it shows.

Start Server Logging

You can use Start Server Logging to enable or disable the server-side logging. This basically starts Remote Call logging on the server side. This setting logs all of the remote calls made from the client to the server.

These details are required to analyze what server calls are made during an operation, how much time they took to process the data, how many calls are made, and how many calls to the server are required. This is even useful in analyzing performance-related issues.

Start Server Logging menu item acts like a toggle button. So the same menu item is used to start or stop the logging. The server logging data will be written to the server.log file on the IBM Rational Synergy server.

Start Accent Logging

With Start Accent Logging, you can enable or disable the accent trace logging. This log is mostly required while analyzing issues related to server exceptions and business logic-related issues. This is very critical and low-level logging.

The Start Accent Logging menu item acts like a toggle button. Therefore, the same menu item is used to start or stop the logging. The ACcent traces are also logged into the server.log file on the Rational Synergy server. This logging generates more data; therefore, this should be enabled just before the required operation and then disabled after the operation is finished. When the logs are available, those should be sent to support or development, as appropriate, for further analysis.

Set Logging level

The Set Logging Level action gives you control over the data that will be logged into client log files. Set Logging level mainly helps in reducing the log file size, because the logs won’t contain any unnecessary information. Whenever you can reproduce problems or issues, you can enable the logging at the required level and pass that data on to support or development for analysis. Only the required data will be logged, because the logging level can be turned on or off.

Figure 7. Logging Level settings
Class/Package and Level settings

The Logging Settings dialog window contains three tabs:

Set Logging Level

  1. Set the required class or package that you want the logging to apply to, and then specify the log level in the Level drop-down menu. For example:
    Class or package: com.telelogic.xxx
    Level: FINEST
  2. Click Apply to enable the logging for the specified class or package at the specified logging level.
  3. When you want to disable logging, set the Level to OFF for that class or package. These settings will be only for that current session.

Logging Level Record

This view shows the current session logging settings.

Figure 8. Logging Level record
Current session log settings

Default Logger Details

This view shows the default settings at the application level, which are specified in the logging.properties file of Rational Synergy.

Figure 9. Default Logger Details view
Default application logging settings

With the help of the Set Logging Level tool, you can get the required log details, which helps in analysis of issues for faster turnaround. These logging settings can be specified on the fly at run time; therefore, you do not need to restart the client session to change the logging settings.

When the required logs are available, you can send those logs to support or development by using the Submit Support Request action, which is available from the Help menu.

Figure 10. Help drop-down menu
Submit Support Request highlighted

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