Fewer Options for a Better Experience

By Fabien Potencier, on Mar 24, 2015

When browsing a call graph on Blackfire, you might have seen the display “options”:


Four different knobs are more than enough to tweak the call graph display the way you want: the caller depth, the callee depth, the minimum node cost, and the minimum call cost. That’s plenty of power in your hands! But without a performance engineer degree delivered by the Blackfire Academy (sorry it does not exist yet), you might have a hard time figuring out what those knobs are for. Well, you are not alone and I’m also always struggling with them, asking the team when to use them.

At some point, we realized that adding more options to make the interface feel more “powerful” is a kind of laziness and does not help our users. Making the interface more intuitive by removing some options and at the same time making it more powerful is much harder.

Options are a thing of the past. Instead of letting you find the best option values to make it easy to understand the call graph, Blackfire now automatically uses smart defaults depending on the context. All options are gone and you can trust Blackfire to know how to set the best options for you.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about how to import Google Chrome CPU profiles; I ended the post with this recommendation: … tweaking the display options gives you a better understanding of what’s going on … Forget about this statement, Blackfire automatically does that for you now.

Happy profiling!

Fabien Potencier

Fabien Potencier is the CEO and founder of Blackfire.io. He founded the Symfony project in 2004 as he constantly looked for better ways to build websites. Fabien is also the creator of several other Open-Source projects, a writer, a blogger, a speaker at international conferences, and the happy father of two wonderful kids.