Measuring Performance in Node.js with Performance Hooks

Measuring Performance in Node.js with Performance Hooks

In this article we'll look at the basics of Node.js performance hooks and how to use them to time the execution of functions.

Measuring performance in Node.js applications can sometimes be a challenge. Do to the nature of the event loop and asynchronous code, determining the actual time a piece of code takes to execute requires tools built into the platform. First added in Node.js v8.5, as stableas of v12, the Performance Measurement APIs are stable and allow much more accurate monitoring than earlier implementations. In this article we'll look at the basics of Node.js performance hooks and how to use them to time the execution of functions.

Why are Performance Measurement APIs important?

Sometimes called Perf Hooks, in part because they are imported from perf_hooks in Node applications, these APIs allow developers to set various markers that make measuring the run-time of an application easier. Node's implementation is an adaptation of the W3C's Web Performance APIs, but with changes that make more sense for Node apps rather than browser javascript.

With these APIs, you can measure the time it takes individual dependencies to load, how long your app takes to initially start, and even how long individual web service API calls take. This allows you to make more informed decisions on the efficiency of specific algorithms, the effects of API choices on application performance, and establish baselines for "normal" operation to help identify anomalies when they happen.

In the past, this may have been done using and some basic operations to find the duration. There are some flaws in this technique, as occasionally you can end up with a zero value or negative numbers. A slightly more accurate approach is to use process.hrtime(), but it still has limitations and needs to be manually set everywhere you end to use it.

To better understand how these newer APIs work, let's look at an example.

node.js node

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