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From Christopher Schultz <>
Subject String duplication
Date Wed, 11 May 2011 20:48:25 GMT

So, two things before I get started:

1. I know I have access to the source. I know I'm a committer.

2. I'm using Velocity 1.4

I've recently been doing a lot of memory profiling of my webapp and it
looks like Velocity is responsible for a lot of stuff hanging around in

Of course, we have more than 200 templates that we use regularly, so
eventually they will all be parsed and end up in memory, so that's no

What is surprising is the number of strings and buffers that I can see
duplicated in memory. Here's a good example:

We have a Velocimacro, defined in VM_global_library.vm, that looks
something like this:

#macro(stdFormLabel $formName $fieldName $bundle)
    <label id="${fieldName}_label"
$bundle)"#end class="field">
        $msg.get("form.${formName}.${fieldName}.label", $bundle)

Basically, it builds a <label> element and grabs the actual text from a
resource bundle. Well, it turns out that we have 630 in-memory instances
of this string:

  $msg.get("form.${formName}.${fieldName}.label", $bundle)

That only represents about 80k of memory, so it's not really a big deal.
Here's another one that gets repeated a lot:

" onclick="var win = + (0 &lt;=
this.href.indexOf('?') ? '&' : '?') + 'popup=true', 'chadis_help',
win.focus(); return false;"><img alt="[Help]" src="

We have 500 of those in memory for a waste of more like 256k. Also not a
big deal.

This next one starts to become more of a big deal: there are 1MiB /each/
of ")" and " " strings linked from
org.apache.velocity.runtime.parser.Token objects.

It's leading me to believe that there is an opportunity for potentially
significant memory savings here if we do some String interning.

I'm not suggesting that we use java.lang.String.intern because that
would pin those String objects into memory until the JVM closes.
Instead, I'm suggesting that maybe we implement our own String
interning, at least for some things.

I recently did the same thing to one of my own projects that was also
parsing text and storing some strings from that text (an expression
parser and evaluator), and the savings were pretty dramatic: I was able
to save about 13MiB of heap space by interning these String objects
which reduced the in-memory footprint of the whole library (including
data) from about 20MiB to just 7MiB.

I think something like this would make Velocity a leaner and meaner tool.



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