A project to allow for simple configuration of Ruby application or library logging as well as providing facilities for making logging available to individual classes in a unified way.
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README.md

LogJam

LogJam is a library that attempts to allow for the aggregation and the distribution of logging facilities across a range of classes. Goals in creating this library were...

  • Easy of use. Fall back on defaults as much as possible and allow the functionality to be integrated and used with the least amount of work.

  • Flexibility. After easy of use is taken into consideration it should be possible to use the library in a more advanced fashion if that is called for.

  • Minimize the code to use it. It shouldn't require a great deal of code to deploy or use the facilities and there should be no code required to pass entities such as loggers around.

  • Usable in libraries. I found myself writing a lot of common logging code when writing libraries and application and wanted to abstract that out. I wanted to minimize the burden this placed on library users at the same time.

Release Log

  • v1.2.0: This version sees a major rewrite of the internals of the library while attempting to retain backward compatibility. Library configuration has been changed to get greater flexibility and to allow for the logging configuration to be folded into a larger configuration file. The tests were all changed to rspec and more extensive tests written.

Configuration & Setup

The simplest setup to use with this library is to create a YAML file in the called logging.yml, either in the current working directory or in a subdirectory of the working directory called config. Place the following contents into this file...

development:
  loggers:
  - default: true
    file: STDOUT
    name: devlog
production:
  loggers:
  - default: true
    file: ./logs/production.log
    name: prodlog
test:
  loggers:
  - default: true
    file: STDOUT
    name: testlog

By doing this you've now created a configuration that is environment dependent and that the LogJam library will automatically pick up. When run in the development (the default environment if no other is specified) or test environments your application will now log to the standard output stream. For the production environment the logging output will be written to a file called production.log which will be in the logs subdirectory.

The settings covered in the example configuration above are just some of the parameters recognised for the definition of a logger. Here is a more complete list of parameters that are used when creating loggers...

  • default: A boolean indicating whether this logger is the default (i.e. the one to be used when no other explicitly fits the bill). Only one logger should be declared as a default.

  • datetime_format: The date/time format to be used by the logger. See the documentation for the standard Ruby Logger class for more details.

  • file: The path and name of the file that logging details will be written to. Two special values are recognised in this value. STDOUT and STDERR are translated to mean the standard output or error streams respectively.

  • level: The logging level to set on the logger. Must be one of DEBUG, INFO, WARN, ERROR, FATAL or UNKNOWN. If not explicitly specified this defaults to DEBUG.

  • max_size: When rotation is set to an integer value this value can be set to indicate the maximum permitted file size for a log file in bytes.

  • name: The name to associate with the logger. This allows loggers to be tied to classes or for the creation of aliases that tie multiple names to a single logger. Note that you should always use Strings (and not Symbols) when specifying aliases.

  • rotation: The frequency with which the log file is rotated. This may be an integer to indicate how many old log files are retained or may be a String such as "daily", "weekly" or "monthly".

A note on logger names. Logger names (including alias names) aren't hierarchical and should be unique. Note that you may specify multiple logger definitions if you wish, which would look like this...

development:
  loggers:
  - default: true
    file: STDOUT
    name: devlog
  - file: ./logs/development.log
    name: filelog

In addition to specifying logger definitions you can also specify logger aliases. This is essentially a mechanism to allow a single logger to be available under multiple names and a configuration including an alias definition might look as follows...

development:
  loggers:
  - default: true
    file: STDOUT
    name: devlog
  aliases:
    database: devlog

If you don't provide a logging configuration then the LogJam library will fall back on creating a single default logger that writes everything to the standard output stream.

Logging With The Library

The stated goals of the LogJam library are to avoid the need to pass Logger instances around while still allowing potentially complex configuration with a minimum of code. The first step in this process has been covered in the Configuration & Setup section in which it's explained how to configure logging from a single Hash or file. This section will provide details on how to deploy loggers to various classes.

The LogJam library extends the object class to make access to a logger available at both the class and the instance level. The obtain a logger object you can make a call to the #log() method. If you haven't explicitly configured a logger for a class this will return an instance of the default logger. A version of this method is also available at the instance level.

If you want to get more advanced and configure a particular logger for a specific class or group of classes then you have to explicitly set the logger on those classes. To do that you define multiple loggers in your configuration and then make a call to the #set_logger_name() method for the affected class. For example, if you defined a logger called string_logger that you wanted to use just for String objects you could do that like so...

String.set_logger_name("string_logger")

With your code you can obtain a logger instance and then use the method common to Ruby's Logger class on the object returned. So, to log a statement at the info level in a piece of code you would do something like this...

log.info("This is a statement that I am logging.")

Consult the documentation of the Ruby Logger class for more information on the methods and logging levels available.

Advanced Usage

The hope would be that this library can be used in the creation of other libraries and allow for control of the logging generated by those libraries without having to dig into the workings of the library or to pass around Logger instances as constructor parameters or static data. In this case I recommend explicitly declaring logger names for your library classes and making the name that the library uses available with the library documentation so that the libraries logging can be switched off or on as needed.

It's intended that, in general, the configure() method on the LogJam module should only be called once. Calling it a second time will clear all existing logging configuration and set up. This may or may not be an issue depending on whether you decide to cache logger inside class instances instead of always accessing them through the class level accessor.

The Logger instance returned from a LogJam are intended to be fully compatible with the class defined within the standard Ruby Logger library. If you need to change elements, such as the formatter, you should just do so on the logger in the normal fashion. If you define multiple Logger instances then you will have to change each individually.

Using the log=() method that is added to each class by the LogJam facilities it is possible to change the Logger being used. If you want to use this method please note that changing a Logger that is created via an alias will change the original Logger and thereby affect all classes that make use of that Logger (and not necessarily just the one making the change). If you want to do this give the class it's own logger instance.

Finally, any logger can be fetched from the library using it's name and making a call to the LogJam.get_logger() method. Note if you omit the name or pass in nil you will retrieve the libraries default logger.

Example Configurations

This section contains some example configurations. A short explanation is given for each configuration and then the configuration itself in Hash, YAML and JSON formats is provided.

This represents the most basic configuration possible. In passing an empty Hash to the configure method the system creates a single, default logger that writes everything on the standard output stream...

Hash

   {}

YAML

   {}

JSON

   {}

The following simple configuration writes all logging output to a file called application.log in the current working directory. If a logging level is not explicitly specified then DEBUG is the default...

Hash

   {:loggers => [{:default => true, :file => "application.log"}]}

YAML

   :loggers:
   - :default: true
     :file: application.log

JSON

   {"loggers": {"default": true, "file": "application.log"}}

This configuration declares two loggers. The first is called 'silent' and will log nothing. The silent logger is the default and so will be used for any class that doesn't have an explicitly named logger. The second is called 'verbose' and logs everything from the debug level up on the standard output stream. The configuration also declares an alias pointing the name 'database' to refer to the verbose logger. An class that declares it uses the 'database' logger will generate output while all others will be silenced.

Hash

   {:loggers => [{:default => true,
                  :file    => "STDOUT",
                  :level   => "UNKNOWN",
                  :name    => "silent"},
                 {:file    => "STDOUT",
                  :name    => "verbose"}],
    :aliases => {"database" => "verbose"}}

YAML

   :loggers:
   - :default: true
     :file: STDOUT
     :level: UNKNOWN
     :name: silent
   - :file: STDOUT
     :name: verbose
   :aliases:
     database: verbose

JSON

   {"loggers": [{"default":true,
                 "file": "STDOUT",
                 "level": "UNKNOWN",
                 "name": "silent"},
                {"file": "STDOUT",
                 "name": "verbose"}],
    "aliases": {"database":"verbose"}}

The following configuration can be used as an example of how to drive logging from different parts of the code to different destinations. The configuration declares two loggers which deliver their output to two different log files and then declares aliases for those loggers that can be used to divide up the logging coming from different areas of the code.

Hash

   {:loggers => [{:default => true,
                  :file    => "./log/main.log",
                  :name    => "main"},
                 {:file    => "./log/secondary.log",
                  :name    => "secondary"}],
    :aliases => {"database"   => "secondary",
                 "model"      => "secondary",
                 "controller" => "main"}}

YAML

   :loggers:
   - :default: true
     :file: ./log/main.log
     :name: main
   - :file: ./log/secondary.log
     :name: secondary
   :aliases:
     database: secondary
     model: secondary
     controller: main

JSON

   {"loggers": [{"default":true,
                 "file": "./log/main.log",
                 "name": "main"},
                {"file": "./log/secondary.log",
                 "name": "secondary"}],
    "aliases": {"database":"secondary",
                "model": "secondary",
                "controller": "main"}}

Testing

LogJam uses the RSpec Ruby library for testing. The best approach to running the tests are to create a new gemset (assuming you're using RVM), do a bundle install on this gemset from within the LogJam root directory and then use a command such as the following to run the tests...

    $> rspec

Individual tests can be run by appending the path to the file that you want to execute after the rspec command. For example...

   $> rake spec/logjam_spec.rb

...would run only the the tests in the logjam_spec.rb test file.