tutorial: heob (heap profiler; memory leak analysis)

Written by  on June 17, 2020

Heob is an OSS project, short for ‘heap observer’.

How to configure and use?
0. The official documentation from Qt/QtCreator is – like always :’D – a bit sparse: https://doc.qt.io/qtcreator/creator-heob.html
1. Get it from: https://github.com/ssbssa/heob/releases (I’ll use here release 3.1 from July 2019) and extract to the directory of your choice. This directory has to be set later as configuration path.
If you use gcc/mingw, then make sure you’ve dwarf-stack enabled. Since I’m just using the MSVC, not much had to be done.
2. Inside QtCreator (I am using right now 4.12 from the Maintenance Installer) go to “Analyze > Heob” and configure it like this:

The floppydisk-icon can be saved to store ONE configuration.
I leave most of the time the tracing to simple, else time-critical processes can fail. The output-files should be named if you do several runs, which you want to compare or post-process. Most of the time it makes sense to start disabled, because else heob tracks already all the losses at start and this will delay the start.
3. As example, I’ve set Cullendula as UUT (unit under test).

Since heob was started disabled, the leak recording is off: Activate it by pressing ‘n’. If you resize the terminal, the last line can become invisible due to some glitch. So better leave the size of the window untouched!
4. Do your favorite workflow in the UUT. Then close/quit the UUT.
5. Depending on how much allocations were done, heob takes more (up to ten minutes!) or less time (seconds in the case of Cullendula) to evaluate the leaks.

The results are sorted in descending order. Expand the entries to check the stack-trace of the cause.
Some can be triggered by leaks in the underlying libraries (Qt .. I am lookin at you: https://bugreports.qt.io/browse/QTBUG-59621), some by your own buggy implementation.

Hint: the generated xml-report can be later loaded again in the results-tab. Or specify “-o leaks20200617.html” for an optically more pleasing result.

Find crappy Qt-includes

Written by  on February 18, 2020

Use this regular expression

to check for includes of the format

Test it here with regex101.com.

QDialogs receive NO close-event in case of closing via the ESC-key. Nice.

Written by  on February 7, 2020

At first this looked like a bug, but upon reading carefully the documentation and crawling the internet, I’ve noticed that this is
a) wanted behavior and b) I am not the first one stumbling over this issue.

So just override in the header the method for processing the QHideEvent:

And reimplement the base-class-call with the emission of a custom signal (or triggering custom functionality) for futher processing. Like:

Another way is to connect the QDialog’s finished-signal to your signal via DirectConnection. Less code than overriding.

qobjectdefs_impl.h:72:118: error: no type named ‘Car’ in ‘struct QtPrivate::List<>‘

Written by  on February 4, 2020

Bruh, wait, what?

After rebasing a bigger feature and solving all obvious conflicts, the new build threw an error like “no type names Car”. And I am currently not working in the automotive industry!
Issue was that a commit, on which was rebased, changed ‘old’ Qt4-signal-slot-syntax (with SIGNAL/SLOT keywords; the string-based connect) to the ‘new’ Qt5-version (typed and verifyable from the compiler). And one of the slots had a default parameter. This is not allowed, except you squish a lambda as intermediate layer.

A bit more insight: Qt-docs.

edit: One of the earlier error-messags also hinted out what could be the culprit, but “no type named Car” is more funny 😉


Written by  on January 24, 2020

The Qt framework offers a quite nice and convenient way to localize your application.
Not only how to mark inside the code translateable strings (tr(..)), but also that the translation-mappings are human-readable xml-format files (*.ts), but also their own tool to do the translation (Linguist). Linguist is quite helpful for translator who sometimes also have to have a look at the “what would you get with that translation of different size inside the widget”-result (more or less: WYSIWYG).

Noticed today some flaws in the localisation of MTuner (nice memory profiler) and offered some help.
This is what I love about OSS: you don’t just take, but can also lend a helping hand and improve the quality 🙂

QtCreator: add online-help if the SDK is not coming from an official package

Written by  on January 1, 2020


having some Qt-SDK without help files. Using help inside a browser is possible, but cumbersome. and local help would be nice for quick parameter-checks.

solution (edited):

Found also the official docu at: http://download.qt-project.org/online/qtsdkrepository/windows_x86/desktop/qt5_5121_src_doc_examples/qt.qt5.5121.doc/ as 7z-archive.

Then add it via QtCreator > Tools > Options > Help > Documentation > “add the QCH files”.

Qt: custom-class and specialities for QVariant and QSettings

Written by  on December 11, 2019

While implementing some custom-class (C++17; Qt5.12) some specialities became (painfully) noticeable.
The guide at the Qt-source is quite well written.

  • ctor, copy-ctor and dtor are all required and have to be public
  • add Q_DECLARE_METATYPE(CustomClass)
  • QDebug-stream-operator in case of simple debugging-messages
  • if the QVariant-version of the CustomClass shall be written to QSettings, then implement also the two streaming operators: << and >> (else crash with Assert “unable to save type”): howto

Three ways to find the location of a certain DLL at Windows

Written by  on November 11, 2019

Common problem: just using the current working directory is not sufficient, because especially for unit-tests started from the Visual Studio-testrunner the opriginal, relative path is not fitting anymore. Fallback would be check an environment variable , which is set during installation or using the WinAPI (ugh).

versioned code can be found at: github/cppcCollection

QTest: increase the timeout duration for a test-case

Written by  on October 7, 2019

Set via environment variable QTEST_FUNCTION_TIMEOUT a higher timeout duration.
qputenv sets them temporary for the run of the single test case (put this at the beginning of the test case).

nota bene: This block has to be put before qExec is ran, so put it into the constructor of the test-suite!

Qt: libpng warning (exception) about wrong color profile (sRGB)

Written by  on October 1, 2019

Problem: libpng warning: iCCP: known incorrect sRGB profile

When debugging Qt applications which load some PNG as icons at startup, it could be annoying to continue with the debugger for each thrown exception.
So, let us fix them.

Invoking $ mogrify *.png in the icon directory will fix them.

How to get mogrify? Install imagemagick.
Either manually or on macOS via homebrew: $ brew install imagemagick

libPNG in version 1.6 has to be at least installed: $ convert -list format | grep PNG