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Tomcat, SLF4J and Logback integration
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Latest commit 4aa1b3e May 1, 2016 @hazendaz hazendaz Merge pull request #104 from hazendaz/master
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Tomcat + SLF4J + Logback

Download tomcat-slf4j-logback Build Status Dependency Status


Build pom is configured to allow for building out the tomcat embedded juli version but as of 11/14/2014 has not be tested. Please feel free to test this functionality and report back.

Quick Start

If you quickly want to configure Tomcat to use Slf4J and Logback, just download latest package available from SourceForge and explode zip file directly into $CATALINA_HOME. Beware! - doing so will replace server.xml with default version and logging valve.

Previous versions are available and may be downloaded from SourceForge

New versions are available and may be downloaded from releases

Some rather old versions are not predefined for direct exploding into $CATALINA_HOME.

The following directions are for manual setup.

After downloading copy (from the archive):

  • bin/tomcat-juli.jar to $CATALINA_HOME/bin (replacing existing tomcat-juli.jar)
  • bin/ or bin\setenv.bat to $CATALINA_HOME/bin (this script contains proper variable name and doesn't require any changes, unless you have your own version of script)
  • conf/logback*.xml to $CATALINA_HOME/conf
  • conf/server.xml to $CATALINA_HOME/conf (this file contains proper valve and doesn't require any changes, unless you have your own version of server.xml)
  • lib/logback-core-1.1.3.jar to $CATALINA_HOME/lib
  • lib/logback-access-1.1.3.jar to $CATALINA_HOME/lib

Delete $CATALINA_HOME/conf/ This will turn off java.util.logging completely.

conf/logback.xml tries to reflect original Tomcat logging configuration. Feel free to change it.

When using your own preconfigured server.xml, the following will need applied.


<Valve className="ch.qos.logback.access.tomcat.LogbackValve" quiet="true"
   filename="${catalina.home}/conf/logback-access-localhost.xml" />

to $CATALINA_HOME/conf/server.xml.


<Valve className="org.apache.catalina.valves.AccessLogValve" directory="logs"
    prefix="localhost_access_log." suffix=".txt"
    pattern="%h %l %u %t &quot;%r&quot; %s %b" />

from $CATALINA_HOME/conf/server.xml.

Final step: run $CATALINA_HOME/bin/ (or startup.bat). Voila!

Maven Central Distribution

Maven central distribution is primarily for users building tomcat distributions.

For developers to release, source jar and zip need deleted on distribution before release can proceed.

For users to get release, use dependency as follows.


The tomcat-slfj4-logback binary must be renamed as tomcat-juli to use within a tomcat build.

Site Page

Site page is located here


This project allows using SLF4J and Logback in Apache Tomcat absolutely without the need for commons- logging, log4j, and java.util.logging.

This project's main and only goal is to allow the following:

  • redirect all org.apache.commons.logging (repackaged to org.apache.juli.logging) calls to org.slf4j (repackaged to - i.e. handle internal tomcat logging with slf4j and logback binding,
  • make still possible to use logback-access with logback-access.xml config - using standard functionality of logback-access,
  • make possible to use independent configuration of slf4j+logback from all web applications which may carry their own slf4j-api, logback-core, and logback-classic in their WEB-INF/lib directory.

Using only Mavens pom.xml file, proper source JARs are downloaded from maven repository and unpacked. Then all classes are refactored under org.apache.juli.logging package/subpackages and then compiled.

To allow web applications to use their own slf4j-api and logback-classic, classes used by Tomcat (particularly jcl-over-slf4j) must go into different, non-standard packages. According to Tomcat Documentation web application looks up classes in their WEB-INF/classes directory and WEB-INF/lib/*.jar files before looking them in $CATALINA_HOME/lib, but after looking them in system class loader. So Tomcat needs only to have tomcat-juli replaced with versions of jcl-over-slf4j, slf4j-api, logback-core, and logback-classic refactored into different packages.

Finally, in order to keep the classpath clean, I've chosen the method of selecting Logback's configuration file using juli-logback.configurationFile system property. It is renamed in source files during refactoring phase. Leaving standard logback.configurationFile property would cause selecting this file in all web applications despite of having dedicated, classpath-based logback.xml configuration files.

There are four JARs involved in the process transformed into org.apache.juli.logging exactly the same way as commons-logging is transformed in Tomcat's build process. It is eventually compiled into tomcat-juli.jar

  • tomcat-juli is mandatory, because it is directly referenced during Tomcat's startup process while constructing system class loader. This JAR is transformed and placed in $CATALINA_HOME/bin/tomcat-juli.jar file.:
  • jcl-over-slf4j - commons logging over SLF4J JAR.
  • slf4j-api - main SLF4J JAR.
  • logback-core - core Logback JAR.
  • logback-classic - actual SLF4J binding JAR.

Prior builds of this project contained 4 separate jars where tomcat-juli noted these in the manifest in order to avoid further touching of tomcat configuration files for security purposes. Current build results in a single tomcat-juli file and thus no longer requires this.


Launching the build requires Maven install - everything will be downloaded upon build.


mvn clean install

If you want to do a build for different Tomcat versions (Tomcat 7 and above), just append -Dtomcat.version=x.x.x option.

If you want to build for Tomcat 6 (only Logback versions below 1.0.0!), type:

mvn clean install -Ptomcat6 -P-tomcat7+

And move tomcat-juli JAR from target directory to $CATALINA_HOME/bin directory.

More detailed instruction:

  1. edit file pom.xml to update tomcat/slf4j/logback dependencies
  2. run mvn clean install to build jar, javadoc, and source
  3. run mvn site to generate site page
  4. move tomcat-juli.jar from target directory to $CATALINA_HOME/bin.

After changing versions (e.g. for Tomcat), run mvn clean install.

Running Tomcat now will use default (very verbose) configuration of Logback. To change Logback's configuration, run Tomcat with the following system variable (using your favorite method of setting such variables - in, or other):

-Djuli-logback.configurationFile=file:<logback.xml location>


Now you can configure whatever logging technology you want for your web applications. I recommend SLF4J and Logback because from now on, it will not collide with Tomcat's logging configuration.

While configuring Tomcat's logging, keep in mind that you have to use renamed packages in logback.xml config file, e.g.:

    <appender name="CONSOLE" class="">
            <pattern>%d{HH:mm:ss.SSS} %-5level {%thread} [%logger{20}] : %msg%n</pattern>
    <logger name="org.apache.catalina.core.ContainerBase.[Catalina].[localhost]" level="INFO"
        <appender-ref ref="FILE-LOCALHOST" />
    <root level="INFO">
        <appender-ref ref="CONSOLE" />

Configuration of logback-access doesn't require renamed packages, as the required JARs are loaded from common class loader.

Sample logback.xml reflecting the configuration from standard $CATALINA_HOME/conf/ can be found in conf/logback.xml from archive.

Tomcat Customization

Tomcat 6.0.x 7.0.x 8.0.x

After unpacking apache-tomcat-6.0.x.tgz, apache-tomcat-7.0.x.tgz, or apache-tomcat-8.0.x.tgz, one can run Tomcat by executing $CATALINA_HOME/bin/ This will cause running Tomcat with standard java.util.logging enabled. The standard commandline is:

"java" \
    -classpath "$CATALINA_HOME\bin\bootstrap.jar"
    org.apache.catalina.startup.Bootstrap start

Deleting $CATALINA_HOME/conf/ will replace -Djava.util.logging.config.file with -Dnop.

Finally we must configure our tomcat-slf4j-logback integration:

  • place our tomcat-juli JAR in $CATALINA_HOME/bin
  • add -Djuli-logback.configurationFile=file:<logback.xml location> to $JAVA_OPTS in

Now Tomcat's internal logging goes through and to appenders configured in $CATALINA_HOME/conf/logback.xml (or whatever file you set juli-logback.configurationFile variable to).

The final step is to configure logback-access. Now we don't have to deal with package manipulation. Just add:

<Valve className="ch.qos.logback.access.tomcat.LogbackValve" quiet="true"
    filename="${catalina.home}/conf/logback-access-localhost.xml" />

to $CATALINA_HOME/conf/server.xml, place properly configured logback-access-localhost.xml on $CATALINA_HOME/conf and place logback-core and logback-access JARs into $CATALINA_HOME/lib. This won't cause problems with individual WARs' slf4j+logback configuration, because logback.xml is read by logback-classic which is recommended to reside in WEB-INF/lib. The only additional benefit is that WARs will see logback-core through common class loader.

Using Tomcat in Eclipse

  1. Go to Window › Preferences › Server › Runtime Environments and add your server runtime as always
  2. Go to Servers view and add server instance as always
  3. Open server definition (RMB, Open or F3) and click open launch configuration
  4. On Arguments tab in VM arguments add -Djuli-logback.configurationFile="<absolute tomcat home path>/conf/logback.xml"

That's all. While creating server runtime instance, eclipse generates VM arguments using absolute paths (no variables), so just copy the Tomcat home path and add -Djuli-logback.configurationFile argument.

Remember - Tomcat installation must be configured according to Quick Start.

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