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3.5.4. Processing Multiple Elements in an Array

Once you've collected enough information in an array, you will need to retrieve and process all elements in that array to make it useful. Consider Example 3.16, “vfsreads.stp”: the script collects information about how many VFS reads each process performs, but does not specify what to do with it. The obvious means for making Example 3.16, “vfsreads.stp” useful is to print the key pairs in the array reads, but how?
The best way to process all key pairs in an array (as an iteration) is to use the foreach statement. Consider the following example:

Example 3.17. cumulative-vfsreads.stp

global reads
probe vfs.read
{
  reads[execname()] ++
}
probe timer.s(3)
{
  foreach (count in reads)
    printf("%s : %d \n", count, reads[count])
}

In the second probe of Example 3.17, “cumulative-vfsreads.stp”, the foreach statement uses the variable count to reference each iteration of a unique key in the array reads. The reads[count] array statement in the same probe retrieves the associated value of each unique key.
Given what we know about the first probe in Example 3.17, “cumulative-vfsreads.stp”, the script prints VFS-read statistics every 3 seconds, displaying names of processes that performed a VFS-read along with a corresponding VFS-read count.
Now, remember that the foreach statement in Example 3.17, “cumulative-vfsreads.stp” prints all iterations of process names in the array, and in no particular order. You can instruct the script to process the iterations in a particular order by using + (ascending) or - (descending). In addition, you can also limit the number of iterations the script needs to process with the limit value option.
For example, consider the following replacement probe:
probe timer.s(3)
{
  foreach (count in reads- limit 10)
    printf("%s : %d \n", count, reads[count])
}
This foreach statement instructs the script to process the elements in the array reads in descending order (of associated value). The limit 10 option instructs the foreach to only process the first ten iterations (that is, print the first 10, starting with the highest value).