Fuchsia Tracing Usage Guide

Operational Requirements

Fuchsia tracing library and utilities require access to the trace_manager's services in the environment, which is typically set up by the boot sequence.

Note that capturing traces requires that the devtools package be included. If your build configuration does not include devtools by default, then you can add it manually by invoking fx set like:

fx set $ARCH --packages='garnet/packages/products/devtools $DEFAULT_PACKAGES'

where ARCH is the target architecture, and DEFAULT_PACKAGES is the default package list for the selected layer. So if you were targeting x64 with topaz selected, you would run:

fx set x64 --packages='garnet/packages/products/devtools topaz/packages/default'

Capturing Traces From a Development Host

Traces are captured using the fx traceutil host utility. To record a trace simply run the following on your development host:

fx traceutil record

This will:

  • Take a trace on the target using the default option.
  • Download it from the target to your development host.
  • Convert the trace into a viewable HTML file.

This is a great place to start an investigation. It is also a good when you are reporting a bug and are unsure what data is useful.

Some additional command line arguments to fx traceutil record include:

  • -duration <time>

    Sets the duration of the trace in seconds.

  • -target <hostname or ip address>

    Specifies one which target to take a trace. Useful if you have multiple targets on the same network or network discovery is not working.

For a complete list of command line arguments run fx traceutil record --help.

Capturing Traces From a Fuchsia Target

Under the hood traceutil uses the trace utility on the Fuchsia target to interact with the tracing manager. To record a trace run the following in a shell on your target:

trace record

This will save your trace in /data/trace.json by default. For more information on, run trace --help at a Fuchsia shell.

Converting a JSON Trace to a Viewable HTML Trace.

The Fuchsia tracing system uses Chromium's Trace-Viewer. The easiest way to view a JSON trace is to embed it into an HTML file with Trace-Viewer. To convert one or more JSON files run:

fx traceutil convert FILE ...

The HTML files written are standalone and can be opened in the Chrome web browser.

Advanced Tracing

Tracing specification file

Tracing specification file is a JSON file that can be passed to trace record in order to configure parameters of tracing. For those parameters that can be passed both on the command line and set in the specification file, the command line value overrides the one from the file.

The file supports the following top level-parameters:

  • app: string, url of the application to be run
  • args: array of strings, startup arguments to be passed to the application
  • categories: array of strings, tracing categories to be enabled
  • duration: integer, duration of tracing in seconds
  • measure: array of measurement specifications, see Benchmarking


Benchmarking docs moved to a separate doc.


The tracing configuration is a JSON file consisting of a list of known category names and descriptions.

  "categories": {
    "category1": "description1",
    "category2": "description2"
  "providers": {
    "provider-label": "file:///provider-to-start-automatically"