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An extremely lightweight but powerful logger that's great for full-stack TypeScript/JavaScript cloud applications.

Sitka promotes the best practices of twelve-factor apps through writing to stdout/stderr by default and allowing configuration of log level and format via environment variables.

Now packaged as a Universal Module Definition (UMD) to enable client-side usage as well as server-side use in Node.js!



$ npm install sitka --save


Basic Example

For anyone needing to get started quickly:

var logger = Logger.getLogger('MyLogger');
logger.debug('So far, so good.');
logger.fatal('Something went terribly wrong.');


[2018-09-05T23:47:45.482Z] [DEBUG] [MyLogger] So far, so good.
[2018-09-05T23:47:45.827Z] [FATAL] [MyLogger] Something went terribly wrong.

Advanced Examples

To specify additional configuration properties, pass an object to Logger.getLogger() consisting of any properties shown in the Instance Configuration section below. For a description of supported variables, refer to the Log Format section.

  1. JSON example using the AWS_REGION and AWS_LAMBDA_FUNCTION_NAME environment variables, which are available in Lambda functions:
var logger = Logger.getLogger({
				name: 'MyLogger',
				format: '{ "function": "${ENV:AWS_LAMBDA_FUNCTION_NAME}", "time": "${TIMESTAMP}" "level": "${LEVEL}", "name": "${NAME}", "message": "${MESSAGE}" }'
			});'Executing in: ${ENV:AWS_REGION}');'Someone should know about this.');


{ "function": "my-lambda", "time": "2018-09-05T23:47:45.482Z", level": "INFO", "name": "MyLogger", "message": "Executing in: us-west-1" }
{ "function": "my-lambda", "time": "2018-09-05T23:47:45.827Z", level": "INFO", "name": "MyLogger", "message": "Someone should know about this." }

  1. Example showing usage of the context property:
var myObj = { myVar: 'initial value' };
var logger = Logger.getLogger({
                name: 'MyLogger',
                format: Logger.Format.TEXT_NO_TIME,
                level: Logger.Level.DEBUG,
                context: { myObj: myObj }
// Escape the $ to prevent the first variable from being replaced.'\\${CTX:myObj.myVar} = ${CTX:myObj.myVar}');
// Modify a property on an object in the context and log the updated value.
myObj.myVar = 'modified value';'\\${CTX:myObj.myVar} = ${CTX:myObj.myVar}');


[INFO] [MyLogger] ${CTX:myObj.myVar} = initial value
[INFO] [MyLogger] ${CTX:myObj.myVar} = modified value

  1. AWS Lambda example with custom log formats:

While this example will work in any app, it focuses on AWS Lambda to make it concrete. It shows how to use Sitka to store application context and surface that data as needed through custom log formats.

Sitka's global context stores values that are common to all logger instances and the local context stores values specific to a single logger. This example logs JSON objects that include the Lambda request ID in every log entry plus the function name for all event handlers and a private variable for one single class.

To store the Lambda context and event parameters during every handler function execution:

export const hello: Handler = (event: any, context: Context, callback: Callback) => {
	// Store 'handler' object (could use any name) with context and event properties:
	Logger.setGlobalContext('handler', { context, event });
	const logger: Logger = Logger.getLogger('Handler');
	logger.trace('Entering hello()');
	const greeter: Greeter = new Greeter();
	// Rest of your code...

Each class can also store its own this variable in its logger's local context to make private variables available to its log format setting:

import { Logger } from 'sitka';

export class Greeter {
	private _greeting: string;
	private _logger: Logger;

	constructor(greeting?: string | null) {
		this._greeting = (greeting ? greeting : 'Hello');
		this._logger = Logger.getLogger({ name: });
		// Store 'this' as variable named 'local' (could use any name):
		this._logger.setContext('local', this);
		this._logger.trace('In constructor');

The following environment variables would configure the desired log formats (note references to handler.context.awsRequestId and local._greeting):

export LOG_FORMAT='{ "timestamp": "%{TIMESTAMP}", "level": "%{LEVEL}", "name": "%{NAME}", "message": "%{MESSAGE}", "requestId": "%{CTX:handler.context.awsRequestId}" }'
export LOG_FORMAT_Greeter='{ "timestamp": "%{TIMESTAMP}", "level": "%{LEVEL}", "name": "%{NAME}", "message": "%{MESSAGE}", "requestId": "%{CTX:handler.context.awsRequestId}", "greeting": "%{CTX:local._greeting}" }'
export LOG_FORMAT_Handler='{ "timestamp": "%{TIMESTAMP}", "level": "%{LEVEL}", "name": "%{NAME}", "message": "%{MESSAGE}", "requestId": "%{CTX:handler.context.awsRequestId}", "function": "%{ENV:AWS_LAMBDA_FUNCTION_NAME}" }'

Example log entries from executing the hello handler:

"timestamp": "Mon Nov 19 2018 04:24:30 GMT+0000 (UTC)",
"level": "TRACE",
"name": "Handler",
"message": "Entering hello()",
"requestId": "01ea0f31-ebb3-11e8-8a66-47627027db7e",
"function": "sitka-example-dev-hello"
"timestamp": "Mon Nov 19 2018 04:24:30 GMT+0000 (UTC)",
"level": "TRACE",
"name": "Greeter",
"message": "In constructor",
"requestId": "01ea0f31-ebb3-11e8-8a66-47627027db7e",
"greeting": "Hello"

If you're sending your log entries to a system that accepts JSON, you can now search for all entries sharing the same AWS request ID, see which handler acted as the entry point, and add details from specific class instances on the fly. While the custom log formats for the handler and class in this example would likely only be used when debugging, storing the handler's event and context parameters in Sitka's global context can be very useful in general.


Global Configuration

Several properties can be configured at the global level using static methods, which affects all logger instances unless overridden at the instance level.

Use Logger.setErrorWriter() to provide a function to use when logging ERROR and FATAL level log entries or Logger.setLogWriter() to specify the function to use for lower level log entries.

To provide a global context that can be accessed by all logger instances, use Logger.setGlobalContext(yourContextObject). Additionally, individual properties can be added to the global context by using Logger.setGlobalContext("varName", "varValue"). If the global context and an instance context are set, BOTH are used with values in the instance context taking precedence.

Instance Configuration

The following configuration properties are available:

Config Property Description Default Set Via (ordered by precedence)
name Name of the logger instance 'Sitka' constructor
level Minimum level of log entries to be written Logger.Level.ALL constructor, environment properties
format Structure to use for every log entry '[${TIMESTAMP}] [${LEVEL}] [${NAME}] ${MESSAGE}' constructor, environment properties
context Variables that can be referenced in log messages for a specific logger {} instance method, constructor
errorWriter Function for writing log messages at FATAL or ERROR levels console.error() constructor, static method
logWriter Function for writing log messages at any level other than FATAL or ERROR console.log() constructor, static method
useISO8601 true: TIMESTAMP uses ISO8601 date format, false: it uses ECMA262 date format. true constructor

Note that the timestamp is automatically omitted from the default log format when Sitka detects an AWS Lambda or Google Cloud environment since they add their own timestamp prefix.

Log Level

The log level can be set to any of these values (in increasing order):

  • Logger.Level.OFF
  • Logger.Level.FATAL
  • Logger.Level.ERROR
  • Logger.Level.WARN
  • Logger.Level.INFO or Logger.Level.LOG (same level)
  • Logger.Level.DEBUG
  • Logger.Level.TRACE or Logger.Level.VERBOSE (same level)
  • Logger.Level.ALL

Log Format

Both the log format and log messages may contain the following variables using the syntax ${VAR_NAME} or %{VAR_NAME}:

  • LEVEL: The log level for this log entry
  • MESSAGE: The provided log message
  • NAME: The name of the current logger (only available in log format)
  • TIMESTAMP: Date and time the entry was logged (its value depends on useISO8601 config property)
  • CTX:VAR_NAME: Value of the VAR_NAME property from the log context
  • ENV:VAR_NAME: The value of the VAR_NAME environment variable

While you can always use a custom string for the format, several constants are provided for convenience:

  • Logger.Format.JSON = { "timestamp": "${TIMESTAMP}", "level": "${LEVEL}", "name": "${NAME}", "message": "${MESSAGE}" }
  • Logger.Format.JSON_NO_TIME = { "level": "${LEVEL}", "name": "${NAME}", "message": "${MESSAGE}" }
  • Logger.Format.TEXT = [${TIMESTAMP}] [${LEVEL}] [${NAME}] ${MESSAGE}
  • Logger.Format.TEXT_NO_TIME = [${LEVEL}] [${NAME}] ${MESSAGE}

Environment Variables

The log level, format, and date format can be controlled globally as well as for individual loggers using environment variables LOG_LEVEL, LOG_FORMAT, and USE_ISO8601. However, in environments where these variables interfere with other npm packages or systems, the SITKA_LEVEL, SITKA_FORMAT, and SITKA_ISO8601 can be used.

# Only log ERROR and higher level messages:

# Specify a different log level for the logger named MyLogger:
export LOG_LEVEL_MyLogger=DEBUG

# Specify the default log format:

# Specify a different log format for the logger named MyLogger:

# Specify if the default date format for TIMESTAMP will be ISO8601 (true) or ECMA262 (false):
export USE_ISO8601='false'

While the LOG_LEVEL environment variable doesn't need the Logger.Level. prefix as used in code, it can be used if preferred. In either case, the value must be present in the Logger.Level enum for it to take effect.


Read what people are saying about Sitka:

"Finally: the perfect Node.js logger!"

  • Chris Wells, Creator of Sitka

"Without a doubt, this free logger is worth every penny."

  • Chris Wells, Creator of Sitka

"This could easily be the best logger I've ever written."

  • Chris Wells, Creator of Sitka

"With less than 300 lines of code and 0 dependencies, I love how environmentally friendly this logger is."

  • Chris Wells, Creator of Sitka


Sitka aims to remain lightweight with a focus on simple flexibility over complex features. PRs are very welcome for bug fixes. Before writing any code for an additional feature, please submit a PR describing the intended change to determine whether the feature would be considered.