Use Perflint — A Performance Linter for Python

Use Perflint — A Efficiency Linter for Python

Detect efficiency issues early on and discover ways to write better-performing code on the approach

Picture by Chander R on Unsplash

In up to date software program growth, efficiency takes a entrance sit, each within the testing efforts but in addition within the growth course of it self.

On this article I’ll exhibit how one can simply combine efficiency linting into your python software growth and give you a greater code.

Efficiency Engineering

Efficiency engineering is a rising discipline of software program engineering the place efficiency issues are being proactively accounted for.

A extra intuitive method to efficiency can be to run efficiency checks through the finish of the mission and make this efficiency ends meet after all of the useful necessities are fulfilled.

Nonetheless, this method seems to be ineffective and pricey.

A latest ethnographic study, printed within the Empirical Software program Engineering Journal, was aimed to discover the frequent practices of efficiency assurance.

Having a number of tech professionals constantly interviewed for six months, the researcher concluded that:

The examine exhibits that the case group nonetheless depends on a waterfall-like method for efficiency assurance. Such an method confirmed to be insufficient for ASD[Agile Software Development], thereby resulting in a sub-optimal administration of efficiency evaluation actions. We distilled three key challenges when making an attempt to enhance the efficiency assurance course of: (i) managing efficiency evaluation actions, (ii) steady efficiency evaluation and (iii) defining the efficiency evaluation effort.

This illustrates the significance of efficiency assurance taking priority within the life cycle of software program growth and adherent to agile methodologies as an alternative of the waterfall method.

Untimely optimization

The actual drawback is that programmers have spent far an excessive amount of time worrying about effectivity within the mistaken locations and on the mistaken instances; untimely optimization is the foundation of all evil (or a minimum of most of it) in programming.

This quote is taken from the 1968 ebook ‘The Artwork of Laptop Programming’, written by the 1974 Turing award laureate Donald Knuth.

Knuth argued (bear in mind, this quote is over 60 years previous…) that programmers are inclined to suppose intuitively about efficiency.

They’d sometimes assume that the components of code which can be tougher to grasp are the components of code that will be probably the most time-consuming for the machine to execute.

And total his assertion was meant to warning programmers from blindly optimizing their code with out profiling.

Many programmers although take his assertion out of context and interpret it as if any efforts to optimize a program should happen on the ultimate levels of software growth and this argument is simply false.

Efficiency optimization is a part of software program design and implementation, and it, like all different software program growth efforts, must be priorities when it comes to dangers vs advantages.

Introducing perflint

I talked about linters typically and pylint on a previous article.

Efficiency linter is a extra particular linter, aimed to detect efficiency anti-patterns within the code.

As I demonstrated in my earlier article, pylint could be very simply prolonged with plugins so as to add extra checkers performance.

So the superior python developer and writer Anthony Shaw, has been creating a plugin to increase pylint to detect performance issues.

Utilizing this linter, python builders can increase their software efficiency and in addition be taught concerning the python internals and the way it impacts efficiency.


Let's check out a not very helpful piece of code:

So it has a worldwide variable set to 2, the principle perform and the principle clause.
The primary perform has an area listing of integers variable, it iterates over the listing and prints every of those numbers powered by the worldwide variable.

Let's run the code:




Now lets lint this code, first, we have to set up pylint utilizing pip:

pip set up pylint

Now let's run pylint:


And the outcome is:

Your code has been rated at 10.00/10 (earlier run: 10.00/10, +0.00)

No errors have been discovered and my code scored 10/10.

Now let's add perflint to the occasion 🙂

pip set up perflint

Now we will run pylint and use perflint as a plugin!

pylint --load-plugins perflint


************* Module __main__ W8202: Lookups of world names inside a loop is inefficient, copy to an area variable exterior of the loop first. (loop-invariant-global-usage) W8301: Use tuple as an alternative of listing for a non-mutated sequence (use-tuple-over-list)
Your code has been rated at 7.14/10 (earlier run: 5.00/10, +2.14)

Perflint discovered 2 points and my code rating dropped to 7.14!

Let's study these two points:

Problem 1 — Lookups of world names inside a loop

Let's give attention to the loop, we’re iterating over the listing, after which we use the worldwide variable.

Lookup for international variables requires the python interpreter to carry out a lookup over the whole realm of names and indexes, that is the STORE_NAME opcall of the python bytecode interpreter

Nonetheless, whenever you outline a perform, it has a hard and fast variety of native variables, in order that python can set a hard and fast array and simply discover the worth related to the native variable identify, that is the STORE_FAST opcall of the python bytecode interpreter.

So a fast repair for that will be to retailer the worldwide variable in an area variable after which we will use that native variable inside our loop.

Now lets perflint once more:

pylint --load-plugins perflint


************* Module __main__ W8301: Use tuple as an alternative of listing for a non-mutated sequence (use-tuple-over-list)
Your code has been rated at 8.75/10 (earlier run: 7.14/10, +1.61)

Cool, the primary drawback is solved.

Now let's repair the second concern.

Problem 2— Use a tuple as an alternative of a listing

The listing variable in our code by no means mutates, so it’s suggested to make use of immutable objects on this case.
The popular immutable object right here can be a tuple

So let's repair this drawback:

and now perflint:

pylint --load-plugins perflint


Your code has been rated at 10.00/10 (earlier run: 8.75/10, +1.25)

Good rating!


Let's make a comparability between quick and sluggish examples of our code:

Utilizing the timeit we will consider how a lot sooner the ‘quick’ model actually is:




fast_main execution time = 7.155288799898699 sec
slow_main execution time = 7.3095553000457585 sec

7.15 seconds for the ‘quick’ model vs 7.31 seconds for the ‘sluggish’ model, fairly noticeable.

Thanks for studying.

Use Perflint — A Performance Linter for Python was initially printed in Better Programming on Medium, the place persons are persevering with the dialog by highlighting and responding to this story.

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