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We have seen a number of instances of popular smart contracts that stored a lot of data and that "clean up" their data with a single function call. Sometimes that clean-up code uses a lot of gas and hits the maximum gas limit for a single call.

Is there a function to tell the contract writer the "remaining gas limit" during execution and then write code to exit when that level gets too low, so a clean-up could be performed with multiple calls without running out of gas?

Alternatively, is there at least a "gas used so far during this call" function?

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In Solidity, this is available as msg.gas, documented here. There's no direct way to obtain the initial gas; the best option is to store msg.gas to a variable as soon in the contract execution as is practical.

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on: live.ether.camp Ethereum Studio you have a complete Ethereum sandbox where you can imitate transaction execution and have very good estimation of the used gas.

More info to start is here:

http://blog.ether.camp/post/142794388568/ethereum-studio-is-ready-for-you

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