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               a website access log visualisation tool

                 Copyright (C) 2008 Andrew Caudwell



1. Description
2. Requirements
3. Using Logstalgia
4. Copyright

1. Description

Logstalgia is a visualization tool that replays or streams web server access
logs as a retro arcade game simulation.

2. Requirements

Logstalgia's display is rendered using OpenGL and requires a 3D accelerated
video card to run.

Logstalgia supports several standardized access.log formats used by web servers
such as Apache and Nginx (see 'Supported Log Formats' below).

As Logstalgia is designed to playback logs in real time you will need a log from
a fairly  busy  webserver to achieve interesting results (eg 100s of requests
each minute).

3. Using Logstalgia

logstalgia [options] logfile


    -f      Fullscreen.

    -WxH    Set the window size. If -f is also supplied, will attempt to set the
            video mode to this also. Add ! to make the window non-resizable.

    --screen SCREEN
            Set the number of the screen to display on.

            Request a high DPI display when creating the window.

            On some platforms such as MacOS, the window resolution is specified in points instead of pixels.
            The --high-dpi flag may be required to access some higher resolutions.

            E.g. requesting a high DPI 800x600 window may produce a window that is 1600x1200 pixels.

    --window-position XxY
            Initial window position on your desktop which may be made up of
            multiple monitors.

            This will override the screen setting so don't specify both.

            Frameless window.

    --title TITLE
            Set a title.

    -b, --background FFFFFF
            Background colour in hex.

    -x, --full-hostnames
            Show full request ip/hostname.

    -s, --simulation-speed
            Simulation speed. Defaults to 1 (1 second-per-second).

    -p, --pitch-speed
            Speed balls travel across the screen (defaults to 0.15).

    -u, --update-rate
            Page Summary update speed. Defaults to 5 (5 seconds).

    -g name,(HOST|URI|CODE)=regex[,SEP=chars][,MAX=n][,ABBR=n],percent[,colour]

            Creates a new named summarizer group for requests for which a
            specified attribute (HOST, URI or response CODE) matches a
            regular expression. Percent specifies a vertical percentage of
            screen to use.

            SEP=chars can specify a list of separator characters (e.g. /)
            to split on. The default separator is /.

            MAX=n specifies the max depth into the path to be displayed.
            (e.g. MAX=1 would show only root directory names of paths). By
            default there is 0 (no limit).

            ABBR=n specifies the minimum depth at which to allow partially
            abbreviated strings. The default is 0 (allow). -1 to disallow.

            A colour may optionally be supplied in hexadecimal format
            (eg FF0000 for red) which will be applied to all labels
            and request balls matched to the group.


             -g "HTML,URI=html?$,30"
             -g "Lan,HOST=^192,30"
             -g "Success,CODE=^[23],30"

            If no groups are specified, the default groups are Images
            (image files), CSS (.css files) and Scripts (.js files).

            If there is enough space remaining a catch-all group 'Misc'
            will appear as the last group.

    --address-separators CHARS
            List of address separator characters. Defaults to '.:'.

    --address-max-depth DEPTH
            Maximum depth to display in address summarizer. 0 for no maximum.

    --address-abbr-depth DEPTH
            Minimum abbreviation depth of address summarizer.
            0 to always allow abbreviations, -1 to never abbreviate.

    --path-separators CHARS
            Default list of path separator characters. Defaults to /.

    --path-max-depth DEPTH
            Default maximum path depth shown in the summarizer.
            0 for no maximum.

    --path-abbr-depth DEPTH
            Default minimum path abbreviation depth.
            0 to always allow abbreviations, -1 to never abbreviate.

    --paddle-mode MODE
            Paddle mode (pid, vhost, single).

            vhost  - separate paddle for each virtual host in the log file.

            pid    - separate paddle for each process id in the log file.

            single - single paddle (the default).

    --paddle-position POSITION
            Paddle position as a fraction of the view width (0.25 - 0.75).

    --display-fields REQUEST_FIELDS
            List of one or more request fields that are shown when the user
            hovers the mouse over an individual request:

            path          - the path of the resource requested
            hostname      - hostname or IP address
            response_size - size of the response in bytes
            response_code - response code
            method        - method
            protocol      - protocol
            timestamp     - timestamp of request
            referrer      - referrer of the request
            user_agent    - user agent
            vhost         - virtual host name
            log_entry     - full log entry
            pid           - the pid of the instance that handled the request

            Separate multiple fields with commas (eg 'path,hostname')

    --sync  Read from STDIN, ignoring entries before the current time.

    --from, --to "YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm:ss +tz"
            Show entries from a specific time period.

            If a time zone offset isn't specified the local time zone is used.

            Example accepted formats:

                "2012-06-30 12:00"
                "2012-06-30 12:00:00 +12"

    --start-position POSITION
            Begin at some position in the log file (between 0.0 and 1.0).

    --stop-position POSITION
            Stop at some position.

            No bouncing.

            Hide response code.

            Hide paddle.
            Hide paddle tokens shown in multi-paddle modes.

            Hide URL protocol and hostname prefix of requests.

            Disable automatic skipping of empty time periods.

            Disable the progress bar.

            Disable the glow effect.

    --font-size SIZE
            Font size (10 - 40).

            Duration of the glow (between 0.0 and 1.0).

            Adjust the amount of glow.

            Intensity of the glow.

    -o, --output-ppm-stream FILE
            Write frames as PPM to a file ('-' for STDOUT).

    -r, --output-framerate FPS
            Framerate of output (used with --output-ppm-stream).

    --load-config CONFIG_FILE
            Load a config file.

    --save-config CONFIG_FILE
            Save a config file with the current options.

            Automatically reload config file when it is modified.

            The path to the access log file to read or '-' if you wish to
            supply log entries via STDIN.


Watch an example access.log file using the default settings:

    logstalgia data/example.log

Watch the live access.log, starting from the most recent batch of entries
in the log (requires tail). Note than '-' at the end is required for logstalgia 
to know it needs to read from STDIN:

    tail -f /var/log/apache2/access.log | logstalgia -

To follow the log in real time, use the --sync option. This will start reading
from the next entry received on STDIN:

    tail -f /var/log/apache2/access.log | logstalgia --sync

Watch a remote access.log via ssh:

    ssh tail -f /var/log/apache2/access.log | logstalgia --sync

Supported Log Formats:

Logstalgia supports the following standardized log formats used by web servers like Apache and Nginx:

NCSA Common Log Format (CLF)
    "%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b"

NCSA Common Log Format with Virtual Host
    "%v %h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b"

NCSA extended/combined log format
    "%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-agent}i\""

NCSA extended/combined log format with Virtual Host
    "%v %h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-agent}i\""

The process id (%P), or some other identifier, may be included as an additional
field at the end of the entry. This can be used with '--paddle-mode pid' where
a separate paddle will be created for each unique value in this field.

Custom Log Format:

Logstalgia now supports a pipe ('|') delimited custom log file format:

    timestamp       - unix timestamp of the request date.
    hostname        - hostname of the request
    path            - path requested
    response_code   - the response code from the webserver (eg 200)
    response_size   - the size of the response in bytes

The following are optional:
    success         - 1 or 0 to indicate if successful
    response_colour - response colour in hexidecial (#FFFFFF) format
    referrer url    - the referrer url
    user agent      - the user agent
    virtual host    - the virtual host (to use with --paddle-mode vhost)
    pid             - process id or some other identifier (--paddle-mode pid)

If success or response_colour are not provided, they will be derived from the
response_code using the normal HTTP conventions (code < 400 = success).

Recording Videos:

See the guide on the homepage for examples of recording videos with Logstalgia:


The time shown in the top left of the screen is set initially from the first log
entry read and is incremented according to the simulation speed (-s).

The counter in the bottom right hand corner shows the number of requests
displayed since the start of the current session.

Pressing space at any time will pause/unpause the simulation. While paused you
may use the mouse to inspect the detail of individual requests.

You can click on summarizer group entries on the left and right side of the
screen to filter to requests matching that entry. Click on the filter
description to remove the filter.

Interactive keyboard commands:

   (C)   Displays Logstalgia logo
   (N)   Jump forward in time to next log entry
   (+-)  Adjust simulation speed
   (<>)  Adjust pitch speed
   (F5)  Reload config
   (F6)  Load config (Windows only)
   (F11) Window frame toggle
   (F12) Screenshot
   (Alt+Enter) Fullscreen toggle
   (Ctrl+S) Save config
   (Home/End)          Adjust address summarizer maximum depth
   (Page Up/Down)      Adjust group summarizer maximum depth
   (Ctrl+Home/End)     Adjust address summarizer abbreviation depth
   (Ctrl+Page Up/Down) Adjust group summarizer abbreviation depth
   (ESC) Quit

4. Copyright

Logstalgia - web server access log visualization
Copyright (C) 2008 Andrew Caudwell <>

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
(at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
along with this program. If not, see <>.