Tuesday 20 October 2020

Deleaker: memory / resource leak detection and identification

As I've made clear many times in conference talks I’m a big fan of FastMM4, the full version Delphi’s built-in memory manager (I haven’t yet tried out FastMM5, which is fully rewritten but now has either a GPL or a commercial license). FastMM4 is great for identifying memory leaks, memory corruption, interface misuse and so on, and locating the source of the problem via a call stack. However it is true that the business of working through the FastMM4 reports is somewhat manual – reports and call stacks are sent out via debug strings or log flies and then you have to pore over the details and work things backward to the source of the problem. It does the job, but takes a back seat once the details have been discovered.

Some while back I got pointed in the direction of another leak detection tool, Deleaker from Softanics, of which I hadn't heard at that point. It’s taken me a while to clear my desk sufficiently to check it out but I’m pleased to have done so, as it’s a very nice and helpful tool.

I should mention up front that this is a commercial tool, like FastMM5 (when not used with the GPL license) and unlike FastMM4, Delphi LeakCheck, MemCheck 1 and TCondom 2. It costs $99 for a home license and $399 for a single developer license.

Some key points about Deleaker:

  • It is not just a tool for EMBT development languages: it supports Delphi, C++Builder, Visual C++ and Qt Creator
  • It’s not just a memory leak detector, but also supports resource leak detection for a pleasing array of resource types
  • It is not just a library, but offers a full UI experience, either integrated into the IDE (RAD Studio, Visual Studio, Qt Creator) or standalone, or even controlled through a command-line utility for use in Continuous Integration setups
  • It supports Win32 and Win64 targets

If you and/or your development team happens to dabble in C++Builder or Visual C++ then this tool would be a common weapon to deploy against leaks of all sorts.

The list of entity types that can be tracked looking for leaks is impressive: