JankStats Library

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The JankStats library helps you track and analyze performance problems in your applications. Jank refers to application frames that take too long to render, and the JankStats library provides reports on the jank statistics of your app.

Capabilities

JankStats builds on top of the existing Android platform capabilities, including the FrameMetrics API on Android 7 (API level 24) and higher or OnPreDrawListener on earlier versions. These mechanisms can help applications track how long frames take to complete. The JanksStats library offers two additional capabilities that make it more dynamic and easier to use: jank heuristics and UI state.

Jank heuristics

While you can use FrameMetrics to track frame durations, FrameMetrics doesn't offer any assistance in determining actual jank. JankStats, however, has configurable, internal mechanisms to determine when jank occurs, making the reports more immediately useful.

UI state

It's often necessary to know the context of performance problems in your app. For example, if you develop a complex, multi-screen app that uses FrameMetrics and you discover that your app often has extremely janky frames, you’ll want to contextualize that information by knowing where the problem occured, what the user was doing, and how to replicate it.

JankStats solves this problem by introducing a state API that lets you communicate with the library to provide information about app Activity. When JankStats logs information about a janky frame, it includes the current state of the application in jank reports.

Usage

To begin using JankStats, instantiate and enable the library for each Window. Each JankStats object tracks data only within a Window. Instantiating the library requires a Window instance along with an OnFrameListener listener, both of which are used to send metrics to the client. The listener is called with FrameData on every frame and details the:

  • Frame start time
  • Duration values
  • Whether or not the frame should be considered jank
  • A set of String pairs containing information about the application state during the frame

To make JankStats more useful, applications should populate the library with relevant UI state information for reporting in the FrameData. You can do this through the PerformanceMetricsState API (not JankStats directly), where all of the state management logic and APIs live.

Initialization

To begin using the JankStats library, first add the JankStats dependency to your Gradle file:

implementation "androidx.metrics:metrics-performance:1.0.0-alpha03"

Next, initialize and enable JankStats for each Window. You should also pause JankStats tracking when an Activity goes into the background. Create and enable the JankStats object in your Activity overrides:

class JankLoggingActivity : AppCompatActivity() {

    private lateinit var jankStats: JankStats


    override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {
        super.onCreate(savedInstanceState)
        // ...
        // metrics state holder can be retrieved regardless of JankStats initialization
        val metricsStateHolder = PerformanceMetricsState.getHolderForHierarchy(binding.root)

        // initialize JankStats for current window
        jankStats = JankStats.createAndTrack(window, jankFrameListener)

        // add activity name as state
        metricsStateHolder.state?.putState("Activity", javaClass.simpleName)
        // ...
    }

The example above injects state information about the current Activity after it constructs the JankStats object. All future FrameData reports created for this JankStats object now also includes Activity information.

The JankStats.createAndTrack method takes a reference to a Window object, which is a proxy for the View hierarchy inside that Window as well as for the Window itself. jankFrameListener is called on the same thread used to deliver that information from the platform to JankStats internally.

To enable tracking and reporting on any JankStats object, call isTrackingEnabled = true. Although it's enabled by default, pausing an activity disables tracking. In this case, make sure to re-enable tracking before proceeding. To stop tracking, call isTrackingEnabled = false.

override fun onResume() {
    super.onResume()
    jankStats.isTrackingEnabled = true
}

override fun onPause() {
    super.onPause()
    jankStats.isTrackingEnabled = false
}

Reporting

The JankStats library reports all of your data tracking, for every frame, to the OnFrameListener for enabled JankStats objects. Apps can store and aggregate this data for uploading at a later time. For more information, take a look at the examples provided in the Aggregation section.

You'll need to create and supply the OnFrameListener for your app to receive the per-frame reports. This listener is called on every frame to supply ongoing jank data to apps.

private val jankFrameListener = JankStats.OnFrameListener { frameData ->
    // A real app could do something more interesting, like writing the info to local storage and later on report it.
    Log.v("JankStatsSample", frameData.toString())
}

The listener provides per-frame information about jank with the FrameData object. This contains the following information about the requested frame:

  • isjank: A boolean flag that indicates whether jank occurred in the frame.
  • frameDurationUiNanos: Duration of the frame (in nanoseconds).
  • frameStartNanos: Time at which the frame began (in nanoseconds).
  • states: State of your app during the frame.

If you are on Android 12 (API level 31) or higher, you can use the following to expose more data about frame durations:

Use StateInfo in the listener to store information about the application state.

Note that OnFrameListener is called on the same thread used internally to deliver the per-frame information to JankStats. On Android version 6 (API level 23) and lower, that is the Main (UI) thread. On Android version 7 (API level 24) and higher, it is the thread created for and used by FrameMetrics. In either case, it is important to handle the callback and return quickly to prevent performance problems on that thread.

Also, note that the FrameData object sent in the callback is reused on every frame to prevent having to allocate new objects for data reporting. This means that you must copy and cache that data elsewhere since that object should be considered statle and obsolete as soon as the callback returns.

Aggregating

You'll likely want your app code to aggregate the per-frame data, which allows you to save and upload the information at your own discretion. Although details around saving and uploading are beyond the scope of the alpha JankStats API release, you can view a preliminary Activity for aggregating per-frame data into a larger collection using JankAggregatorActivity available in our GitHub repository.

JankAggregatorActivity uses the JankStatsAggregator class to layer its own reporting mechanism on top of the JankStats OnFrameListener mechanism to provide a higher level abstraction for reporting only a collection of information that spans many frames.

Instead of creating a JankStats object directly, JankAggregatorActivity creates a JankStatsAggregator object, which creates its own JankStats object internally:

class JankAggregatorActivity : AppCompatActivity() {

    private lateinit var jankStatsAggregator: JankStatsAggregator


    override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {
        super.onCreate(savedInstanceState)
        // ...
        // Metrics state holder can be retrieved regardless of JankStats initialization.
        val metricsStateHolder = PerformanceMetricsState.getHolderForHierarchy(binding.root)

        // Initialize JankStats with an aggregator for the current window.
        jankStatsAggregator = JankStatsAggregator(window, jankReportListener)

        // Add the Activity name as state.
        metricsStateHolder.state?.putState("Activity", javaClass.simpleName)
    }

A similar mechanism is used in JankAggregatorActivity to pause and resume tracking, with the addition of the pause() event as a signal to issue a report with a call to issueJankReport(), as lifecycle changes seem like an appropriate time to capture the state of jank in the application:

override fun onResume() {
    super.onResume()
    jankStatsAggregator.jankStats.isTrackingEnabled = true
}

override fun onPause() {
    super.onPause()
    // Before disabling tracking, issue the report with (optionally) specified reason.
    jankStatsAggregator.issueJankReport("Activity paused")
    jankStatsAggregator.jankStats.isTrackingEnabled = false
}

The example code above is all that an app needs to enable JankStats and receive frame data.

Manage the state

It's possible that you may want to call other APIs to customize JankStats. For instance, injecting app state information makes frame data more helpful by providing context for those frames in which jank occurs.

This static method retrieves the current MetricsStateHolder object for a given View hierarchy.

PerformanceMetricsState.getHolderForHierarchy(view: View): MetricsStateHolder

Any view in an active hierarchy may be used. Internally, this checks to see whether there's an existing Holder object associated with that view hierarchy. This information is cached in a view at the top of that hierarchy. If no such object exists, getHolderForHierarchy() creates one.

The static getHolderForHierarchy() method allows you to avoid having to cache the holder instance somewhere for later retrieval, and makes it easier to retrieve an existing state object from anywhere in the code (or even library code, which would not otherwise have access to the original instance).

Note that the return value is a holder object, not the state object itself. The value of the state object inside of the holder is set only by JankStats. That is, if an application creates a JankStats object for the window containing that view hierarchy, then the state object is created and set. Otherwise, without JankStats tracking the information, there is no need for the state object, and it's not necessary for app or library code to inject state.

This approach makes it possible to retrieve a holder that JankStats can then populate. External code can ask for the holder at any time. Callers can cache the lightweight Holder object and use it at any time to set state, depending on the value of its internal state property, as in the example code below, where state is only set when the holder’s internal state property is non-null:

val metricsStateHolder = PerformanceMetricsState.getHolderForHierarchy(binding.root)
// ...
metricsStateHolder.state?.putState("Activity", javaClass.simpleName)

To control the UI/app state, an app can inject (or remove) a state with the putState and removeState methods. JankStats logs the timestamp for these calls. If a frame overlaps the start and end time of the state, JankStats reports that state information along with the timing data for the frame.

For any state, add two pieces of information: key (a category of state, such as “RecyclerView”) and value (information about what was happening at the time, such as “scrolling”).

Remove states using the removeState() method when that state is no longer valid, to ensure that wrong or misleading information is not reported with frame data.

Calling putState() with a key that was added previously replaces the existing value of that state with the new one.

The putSingleFrameState() version of the state API adds a state that is logged only once, on the next reported frame. The system automatically removes it after that, ensuring you don't accidentally have obsolete state in your code. Note that there is no singleFrame equivalent of removeState(), since JankStats removes single-frame states automatically.

private val scrollListener = object : RecyclerView.OnScrollListener() {
    override fun onScrollStateChanged(recyclerView: RecyclerView, newState: Int) {
        // check if JankStats is initialized and skip adding state if not
        val metricsState = metricsStateHolder?.state ?: return

        when (newState) {
            RecyclerView.SCROLL_STATE_DRAGGING -> {
                metricsState.putState("RecyclerView", "Dragging")
            }
            RecyclerView.SCROLL_STATE_SETTLING -> {
                metricsState.putState("RecyclerView", "Settling")
            }
            else -> {
                metricsState.removeState("RecyclerView")
            }
        }
    }
}

Note that the key used for states should be meanigful enough to allow for later analysis. In particular, since a state with the same key as one that was added previously will replace that earlier value, you should try to use unique key names for objects that may have different instances in your app or library. For example, an app with five different RecyclerViews may want to provide identifable keys for each of them instead of simply using RecyclerView for each one and then not being able to easily tell in the resulting data which instance the frame data refers to.

Jank heuristics

To adjust the internal algorithm for determining what is considered jank, use the jankHeuristicMultiplier property.

By default, the system defines jank as a frame taking twice as long to render as the current refresh rate. It doesn't treat jank as anything over the refresh rate because the information around app rendering time isn't entirely clear. Therefore, it’s considered better to add a buffer and only report problems when they cause noticeable performance issues.

Both of these values can be changed through these methods to suit the situation of the app more closely, or in testing to force jank to occur or not occur, as necessary for the test.

Usage in Jetpack Compose

Currently there is very little setup required to use JankStats in Compose. To hold on to the PerformanceMetricsState across configuration changes, remember it like so:

/**
 * Retrieve MetricsStateHolder from compose and remember until the current view changes.
 */
@Composable
fun rememberMetricsStateHolder(): PerformanceMetricsState.Holder {
    val view = LocalView.current
    return remember(view) { PerformanceMetricsState.getHolderForHierarchy(view) }
}

And to use JankStats, add the current state to the stateHolder as shown here:

val metricsStateHolder = rememberMetricsStateHolder()

// Reporting scrolling state from compose should be done from side effect to prevent recomposition.
LaunchedEffect(metricsStateHolder, listState) {
    snapshotFlow { listState.isScrollInProgress }.collect { isScrolling ->
        if (isScrolling) {
            metricsStateHolder.state?.putState("LazyList", "Scrolling")
        } else {
            metricsStateHolder.state?.removeState("LazyList")
        }
    }
}

For full details on using JankStats in your Jetpack Compose application, check out our performance sample app.

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