Python Trace Visualization: Learn With Example

You can visualize code execution traces using various tools and libraries.

One of the commonly used tools for visualizing code execution traces is the trace module, which is included in Python’s standard library.

The trace module allows you to collect information about which lines of code are executed during the program’s run and then visualize this information.

Here’s how you can use the trace module for code tracing and visualization:

  1. Create a Python script to trace:Let’s create a simple Python script,, to trace:
def add(a, b):
    return a + b

def multiply(a, b):
    return a * b

def main():
    result1 = add(5, 3)
    result2 = multiply(result1, 4)

if __name__ == "__main__":
    main()Code language: Python (python)
  1. Run the script with tracing enabled: To enable tracing, you can use the -t option with the Python interpreter and specify the script you want to trace:
python -m trace -t example.pyCode language: Python (python)

This command will execute the script while collecting tracing information and store it in a file called coverage.

  1. Visualize the trace data:To visualize the trace data, you can use the coverage package, which provides tools for code coverage analysis and visualization. First, install coverage:
pip install coverageCode language: Python (python)

Then, generate an HTML report from the trace data:

coverage html -iCode language: Python (python)

This command generates an HTML report in the htmlcov directory. Open the index.html file in a web browser to visualize the code execution trace.

firefox htmlcov/index.html  # Replace with your web browser commandCode language: Python (python)

You’ll see a visual representation of your Python script, highlighting which lines of code were executed during the program’s run.

  1. Interpreting the visualization:The HTML report will display your script with color-coded lines. Lines that were executed will be highlighted in green, and lines that were not executed will be highlighted in red. This visualization helps you identify which parts of your code were executed and which were not.

The trace module and the coverage package are useful for understanding the execution flow of your Python code and identifying areas that may need additional testing or optimization. They can be particularly helpful in large codebases and when ensuring test coverage in your applications.

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  • Abdullah Walied Allama

    Abdullah Walied Allama is a driven programmer who earned his Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Alexandria University's Faculty of Computer and Data Science. He is passionate about constructing problem-solving models and excels in various technical skills, including Python, data science, data analysis, Java, SQL, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

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