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C# Tip: use Miniprofiler instead of Stopwatch to profile code performance

2022-09-13 2 min read CSharp Tips
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Do you need to tune up the performance of your code? You can create some StopWatch objects and store the execution times or rely on external libraries like MiniProfiler.

Note: of course, we’re just talking about time duration, and not about memory usage!

How to profile code using Stopwatch

A Stopwatch object acts as a (guess what?) stopwatch.

You can manually make it start and stop, and keep track of the elapsed time:

Stopwatch sw = Stopwatch.StartNew();
var with100 = sw.ElapsedMilliseconds;

var with2000 = sw.ElapsedMilliseconds;


Console.WriteLine($"With 100: {with100}ms");
Console.WriteLine($"With 2000: {with2000}ms");

It’s useful, but you have to do it manually. There’s a better choice.

How to profile code using MiniProfiler

A good alternative is MiniProfiler: you can create a MiniProfiler object that holds all the info related to the current code execution. You then can add some Steps, which can have a name, and even nest them.

Finally, you can print the result using RenderPlainText.

MiniProfiler profiler = MiniProfiler.StartNew();

using (profiler.Step("With 100"))

using (profiler.Step("With 2000"))


You won’t anymore stop and start any StopWatch instance.

You can even use inline steps, to profile method execution and store its return value:

var value = profiler.Inline(() => MethodThatReturnsSomething(12), "Get something");

Here I decided to print the result on the Console. You can even create HTML reports, which are quite useful when profiling websites. You can read more here, where I experimented with MiniProfiler in a .NET API project.

Here’s an example of what you can get:

MiniProfiler API report

Further readings

We’ve actually already talked about MiniProfiler in an in-depth article you can find here:

🔗 Profiling .NET code with MiniProfiler | Code4IT

Which, oddly, is almost more detailed than the official documentation, that you can still find here:

🔗 MiniProfiler for .NET | MiniProfiler

Happy coding!