Histogram one-pager

For best practices on writing histogram descriptions, see README.md For details on how to modify histograms.xml to add your description, keep reading.

In histograms.xml file you will find two sections:

  • The histograms section describes base histograms, giving their name, their units or enum type, expiration, a short one-line summary, and a more detailed description.
  • The histogram_suffixes section provides a compact way of defining histograms by applying affixes to existing histograms. This can be done recursively to a max recursion depth of 5. See the example below for details on how it works.

Enum labels of histograms are defined and described in enums.xml.

Histogram expiration

Histogram expiration can be specified as a date in YYYY-MM-DD format or as a Chrome milestone. For example: <histogram name="HistogramName" expires_after="2018-01-01"> or <histogram name="HistogramName" expires_after="M68">

After a histogram expires, it will not be recorded (nor uploaded to the UMA servers). The code to record it becomes dead code, and should be removed from the codebase; and the histogram definition should be marked as obsolete. However, if the histogram would remain useful, the expiration should be extended accordingly. We recommend to always specify an expiry for new histograms.

Pattern histogram

Pattern histograms are a convenient way of describing a set of similar histograms. Placeholders are used in the name and summary, which have substitutions described by tags. Each possible values is described by a tag, which may either be inline in the , or described in a tag that can be referenced by s.

A <variant> may be marked obsolete, or specify explicit <owner>s that override the pattern's owners.

If we define the following:

<variants name="OmniboxProviderVersion">
  <variant name=".Provider" summary="old version">
  	Deprecated. Replaced by Provider2.
  <variant name=".Provider2" summary="second version"/>

<histogram name="Omnibox{version}{content}.Time" units="ms"
    The length of time taken by the {version} of {content} provider's
    synchronous pass.
  <token key="version" variants="OmniboxProviderVersion"/>
  <token key="content">
    <variant name=".All" summary="All"/>
    <variant name=".ExtensionApp" summary="the ExtensionApp">
    <variant name=".HistoryContents" summary="the HistoryContents"/>

The complete list of histograms and their summary will be:

Omnibox.Provider.All.Time: The length of time taken by old versions of
    All provider's synchronous pass. (obsolete)
Omnibox.Provider.ExtensionApp.Time: The length of time taken by the old version
    of the ExtensionApp provider's synchronous pass. (obsolete)
Omnibox.Provider.HistoryContents.Time: The length of time taken by the old
    version of the HistoryContents provider's synchronous pass. (obsolete)
Omnibox.Provider2.All.Time: The length of time taken by the second version of
    All provider's synchronous pass.
Omnibox.Provider2.ExtensionApp.Time: The length of time taken by the second
    version of the ExtensionApp provider's synchronous pass.
Omnibox.Provider2.HistoryContents.Time: The length of time taken by the second
    version of the HistoryContents provider's synchronous pass.

Among the above histograms, Omnibox.Provider.ExtensionApp.Time and Omnibox.Provider2.ExtensionApp.Time histograms belong to you@chromium.org whereas other histograms belong to me@chromium.org.

The out-of-line variants can be shared between multiple histograms. Example:

<variants name="MyVariants">
  <variant name=".V1" summary="V1"/>
  <variant name=".V2" summary="V2"/>

<histogram name="MyHist1{MyVaraints}">
  <token key="MyVariants" varaints="MyVariants"/>

<histogram name="MyHist2{MyVaraints}">
  <token key="MyVariants" varaints="MyVariants"/>

The complete list of histograms will be:


If you omit the summary attribute in the <variant>‘s tag, We’ll set it to be the same as its name. Example:

<histogram name="MyHist1.{MyVariants}">
  <summary>MyHist1 with {MyVariants}.</summary>
  <token key="MyVariants">
      <variant name="Red"/>
      <variant name="Green"/>

The complete list of histograms and their summary will be:

MyHist1.Red: MyHist1 with Red
MyHist1.Green: MyHist1 with Green

The variant name is allowed to be an empty string, to make it easy to define patterns that include legacy histogram names. When defining new histograms, prefer an explicit variant name instead. Example:

<histogram name="MyHist1.A{MyVariants}">
  <token key="MyVariants">
    <variant name="" summary="All"/>
    <variant name=".B" summary="B"/>

The complete list of histograms will be:


Histogram suffixes (deprecated in favor of pattern histograms)

The histogram suffixes syntax will be replaced by the above pattern histograms. The new pattern histogram syntax provides a much clearer picture of what histograms will be generated and it’s easier to use.

  • It allows users to put format strings in the middle of histogram name and specify variants that will be used to replace these format strings both inline and out-of-line.
  • It gives users better control over each generated histogram‘s description. The placeholder string in the histogram’s summary will be replaced by the attribute of the corresponding variant.

Each histogram_suffixes tag lists the histograms that it affects. The complete list of histograms is computed by appending (or prepending - see below) the suffix names to each of the affected histograms. For example, if we define the following:

<histogram name="FileLoadLatency"/>

<histogram_suffixes name="SuperHttpExperiment" separator=".">
  <suffix name="SuperHttpEnabled"/>
  <suffix name="SuperHttpDisabled"/>
  <affected-histogram name="FileLoadLatency"/>

The complete list of histograms will be:


histogram_suffixes can also be used to insert affix in the middle. Example:

<histogram name="Prerender.Events"/>

<histogram_suffixes name="HoverStatsTypes" separator="_" ordering="prefix">
  <suffix name="HoverStats50"/>
  <affected-histogram name="Prerender.Events"/>

The complete list of histograms will be:


When ‘ordering=“prefix”’ is present in the histogram_suffixes tag, the suffix will be inserted after the first dot separator of the affected-histogram name. Optionally, ordering can be specified as “prefix,N” where N indicates after how many dots the suffix should be inserted (default=1). The affected-histogram name has to have at least N dots in it.

If a <histogram> or a <suffix> element is only provided so that its name can be extended by <histogram_suffixes>, the element should be annotated with the attribute base="true". This instructs tools not to treat the base name as a distinct histogram.

If two histogram_suffixes affect the same histogram, generated lists will be combined as if only one suffix is defined. Histogram suffix may affect histogram generated by another suffix (maximum depth of this recursion is 5). Example:

<histogram name="MyHist">

<histogram_suffixes name="Suffix1">
  <suffix name="A"/>
  <suffix name="B"/>
  <affected-histogram name="MyHist"/>

<histogram_suffixes name="Suffix2">
  <suffix name="C"/>
  <suffix name="D"/>
  <affected-histogram name="MyHist"/>
  <affected-histogram name="MyHist.A"/>

The complete list of histograms will be:


Private histograms

Googlers: There are also a small number of private internal histograms found at http://cs/file:chrome/histograms.xml - but prefer this file for new entries.