Git bisect saves the day

I have been working on a private project for quite some time using git. Yesterday, I noticed that one of the views on the site was taking around 10 seconds to generate instead of less than a second like it used to. I scanned through the recent commits, scratched my head, and messed with a bunch of stuff, but to no avail. I reverted to a commit from over a month ago just for kicks and sure enough the view rendered quickly again. So I decided it was time to learn how to use git bisect.

From git documentation:

Find by binary search the change that introduced a bug

I had read in passing the general idea behind git bisect and that you could use a script that returned pass or fail to automate the process. After reading through the man page I confirmed that a script may be used and simply needs to return exits status code 0 for pass and 1 for fail. So I figured I could write a script that manually executes the view and check to see if the amount of time required was over a certain threshold. Interestingly it seems the view executes much faster using the script than inside a normal page request. Thus the threshold used is much lower then one might expect.

I created two files since I wanted to use drush php-script and follow the documentation's recommendation by placing the scripts outside the repository. The first script is a wrapper that simply changes to the directory in which Drupal is installed and then executes the drush command.

cd /path/to/drupal
drush php-script ~/check_view.php



$view views_get_view('MY_CUSTOM_VIEW');
$view->set_arguments(array(3)); // Test data.
$start microtime(TRUE);
$stop microtime(TRUE);

// 0: pass, 1: fail
$diff $stop $start;
$status $diff 0.3 0// Threshold.


// If exit(0) is called drush still views it as abnormal shutdown and sets code
// to non-zero so only call when we want abnormal shutdown.
if ($status != 0) {

My case was a bit more complex since code beyond a certain point was incompatible since I had to backup a related module to work with old revisions.

078d60ad18b73ec356436a7ea30528c95c9c4844 (bad)
3f1cfca83821a6b2d694cf228e5d8af3db20922f (good)

I ran the following inside the repository directory.

git bisect start 078d60ad18b73ec356436a7ea30528c95c9c4844 3f1cfca83821a6b2d694cf228e5d8af3db20922f --
git bisect run ~/

I ended up with the following result (-- indicates where I scrubbed data for privacy).

running /home/boombatower/
Drush command terminated abnormally due to an unrecoverable error.
Bisecting: 7 revisions left to test after this (roughly 3 steps)
[50dcca7e9cec514c2bcc24156cd8b4622eb2cd3e] -- message --
running /home/boombatower/
Drush command terminated abnormally due to an unrecoverable error.
Bisecting: 3 revisions left to test after this (roughly 2 steps)
[37e793d693a75a55470e6a92f5e3f30649ee2214] -- message --
running /home/boombatower/
Bisecting: 1 revision left to test after this (roughly 1 step)
[77ddb40b26fe2436cd7a15549109ffa9095d6995] -- message --
running /home/boombatower/
Drush command terminated abnormally due to an unrecoverable error.
Bisecting: 0 revisions left to test after this (roughly 0 steps)
[08d99c98f4b9d837775db47770bc125727d93dc6] -- message --
running /home/boombatower/
77ddb40b26fe2436cd7a15549109ffa9095d6995 is the first bad commit
commit 77ddb40b26fe2436cd7a15549109ffa9095d6995
Author: --
Date:   --
    -- message --
:040000 040000 a4d3a8cb990d0eff7a7dd87c941a3f12b768feaf 10ab97d60a9b03a56862828e0f9f66cf7f4ef6b4 M      --
:100644 100644 7254a3027edfb35e10b948a9dcd994a9fbdd44a3 0a8ef37931373929328fe6458bf1f595549d265a M      --
bisect run success

Sure enough the "first bad commit" was indeed the commit that caused the performance issue. Very cool!


so what was the performance issue, lol?

I had a text filter on one of the fields and seems to behave poorly with views 7.x, I'm looking into it further.