How do I time a method's execution in Java?

0 votes
asked Oct 7, 2008 by ogre-psalm33

How do I get a method's execution time? Is there a Timer utility class for things like timing how long a task takes, etc?

Most of the searches on Google return results for timers that schedule threads and tasks, which is not what I want.

28 Answers

0 votes
answered Jan 7, 2008 by skaffman

This probably isn't what you wanted me to say, but this is a good use of AOP. Whip an proxy interceptor around your method, and do the timing in there.

The what, why and how of AOP is rather beyond the scope of this answer, sadly, but that's how I'd likely do it.

Edit: Here's a link to Spring AOP to get you started, if you're keen. This is the most accessible implementation of AOP that Iive come across for java.

Also, given everyone else's very simple suggestions, I should add that AOP is for when you don't want stuff like timing to invade your code. But in many cases, that sort of simple and easy approach is fine.

0 votes
answered Jan 7, 2008 by david-nehme

If you want wall-clock time

long start_time = System.currentTimeMillis();
long end_time = System.currentTimeMillis();
long execution_time = end_time - start_time;
0 votes
answered Jan 7, 2008 by ryan-rodemoyer
long startTime = System.currentTimeMillis();
// code goes here
long finishTime = System.currentTimeMillis();
long elapsedTime = finishTime - startTime; // elapsed time in milliseconds
0 votes
answered Jan 7, 2008 by luke

I basically do variations of this, but considering how hotspot compilation works, if you want to get accurate results you need to throw out the first few measurements and make sure you are using the method in a real world (read application specific) application.

If the JIT decides to compile it your numbers will vary heavily. so just be aware

0 votes
answered Jan 7, 2008 by horst-gutmann

There are a couple of ways to do that. I normally fall back to just using something like this:

long start = System.currentTimeMillis();
// ... do something ...
long end = System.currentTimeMillis();

or the same thing with System.nanoTime();

For something more on the benchmarking side of things there seems also to be this one: Never tried it though.

0 votes
answered Jan 7, 2008 by anjanb

As "skaffman" said, use AOP OR you can use run time bytecode weaving, just like unit test method coverage tools use to transparently add timing info to methods invoked.

You can look at code used by open source tools tools like Emma ( The other opensource coverage tool is

If you eventually manage to do what you set out for, pls. share it back with the community here with your ant task/jars.

0 votes
answered Jan 7, 2008 by james-schek

Use a profiler (JProfiler, Netbeans Profiler, Visual VM, Eclipse Profiler, etc). You'll get the most accurate results and is the least intrusive. They use the built-in JVM mechanism for profiling which can also give you extra information like stack traces, execution paths, and more comprehensive results if necessary.

When using a fully integrated profiler, it's faily trivial to profile a method. Right click, Profiler -> Add to Root Methods. Then run the profiler just like you were doing a test run or debugger.

0 votes
answered Oct 7, 2008 by mbcook

I go with the simple answer. Works for me.

long startTime = System.currentTimeMillis();


long endTime = System.currentTimeMillis();

System.out.println("That took " + (endTime - startTime) + " milliseconds");

It works quite well. The resolution is obviously only to the millisecond, you can do better with System.nanoTime(). There are some limitations to both (operating system schedule slices, etc.) but this works pretty well.

Average across a couple of runs (the more the better) and you'll get a decent idea.

0 votes
answered Oct 7, 2008 by diastrophism

There is always the old-fashioned way:

long startTime = System.nanoTime();
long endTime = System.nanoTime();

long duration = (endTime - startTime);  //divide by 1000000 to get milliseconds.
0 votes
answered Jan 3, 2011 by narayan

Also We can use StopWatch class of Apache commons for measuring the time.

Sample code

org.apache.commons.lang.time.StopWatch sw = new org.apache.commons.lang.time.StopWatch();

System.out.println("getEventFilterTreeData :: Start Time : " + sw.getTime());

// Method execution code

System.out.println("getEventFilterTreeData :: End Time : " + sw.getTime());
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