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JProfiler joins YourKit, NetBeans and JHat in being able to read the hprof memory snapshot format. Why the increase in support for what is, after all, Sun's proprietary heap dump format? I suspect it may be response to user's requests because of the consistent reliability of being able to produce those dumps with the -XX:+HeapDumpOnOutOfMemoryError option.

We've moved to having that as a standard option for our Sun JVM processes - in production as well as in development and testing. There is no apparent overhead (as long as you want the heap dumped when you get that OutOfMemoryError), and the heap dump has worked for us consistently. In fact for very large JVMs on Windows, it's the only way we can now consistently force a heap dump if we want one (we detailed the problems we've had with memory profiling large JVMs on Windows here if you are interested). I expect to see the hprof heap dump format increasingly supported by profilers.

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Of course, with such usefulness will eventually come standardization, and I notice there is a project to specify an open binary heap dump format heap-snapshot - wouldn't that be nice, if the JVM heap dumps had a standard format across vendors.

Now on with the rest of our newsletter. Of course we have our usual news, article links, tools, and extracted tips. Over at, we have Kirk interviewing Ron Bodkin of Glassbox and they talk about some interesting Java performance issues; Javva the Hutt continues to tell us all about how he got his new job; and, of course we have extracted all the tips from those articles.

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Jack Shirazi

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