Adds zipkin tracing instrumentation for Clojure applications
Latest commit e76766d Mar 29, 2014 @guilespi Added binary annotations support.
Also annotations are now supported in the trace api for proper trace tagging and filtering, docs updated.


Zipkin tracing instrumentation for Clojure applications.


Add the following dependency to your project.clj file:

   [clj-zipkin "0.1.4"]


Tracing a code chunk

(:require [clj-zipkin.tracer :as t)

(t/trace {:host "" :span "GET" :scribe {:host "" :port 9410}}

Nested tracing, scribe config can be avoided for inner tracing. This will make inner traces appear in zipkin as childs of the immediate parent trace.

(:require [clj-zipkin.tracer :as t)

(t/trace {:host "" :span "GET" :scribe {:host "" :port 9410}}
         (t/trace {:host "" :span "OTHER"}

Tracing with a specific trace-id, since all related spans in zipkin should share the same trace-id, if your code is executing in different hosts you can tie your traces together specifying the trace-id to use.

(:require [clj-zipkin.tracer :as t)

(t/trace {:host "" :span "GET" :trace-id 12345 :scribe {:host "" :port 9410}}
         (t/trace {:host "" :span "OTHER"}


Tracing parameters

  :host => current host, defaults to InetAddress/getLocalHost if unspecified
  :span => span name
  :annotations {:k :v} => key/value map to annotate this trace
  :trace-id => optional, new one will be created if unspecified
  :span-id => optional, current span-id, useful to append annotations or to keep track of created id
  :parent-span-id => optional, parent span-id, this span will be nested
  :scribe => scribe/zipkin endpoint configuration {:host h :port p}

The host parameter can also be a structured hash-map

   {:host "" :port 3030 :service "Service Name"}

If not specified will default to port 0 and service Unknown Service.


The make-logger function creates a logger object to be reused among different tracing calls.

Use it in order to avoid creation of a new connection for each logged span.

(def conn (t/make-logger {:host "" :port 9410}))

(t/trace {:host "" :span "GET" :scribe conn}

Thread based tracing

In the particular case you can't or really don't want to wrap your code in the trace macro call, there's a set of apis using Thread Local Storage with the start and close span api calls decoupled.

Require the namespace tls, for thread local storage (or thread local spans if you like it more).

(:require [clj-zipkin.tracer :as t]
          [clj-zipkin.tls :as tls])

Start span

At your logging entry point create the new span, this operation doesn't log a thing to zipkin just yet.

;;this should happen at entry point
(tls/start-span {:operation "GET" 
                 :host "" 
                 :trace-id trace-id
                 :parent-id parent-id})

There's no need to keep track of state or variables since it's stored as thread state.


If somewhere inside your traced code you need to retrieve the current trace or span ids - to propagate to other services for instance -, use the get-span api call.

(:trace-id (tls/get-span))
=> 12345

The variables trace-id and span-id are available for proper trace propagation.


If some information is collected during the operation, it's possible to append annotations to the thread local span using the add-annotation api call. add-annotation receives a map with name/values to annotate.

(tls/add-annotation {:n1 1 :n2 "da"})

This map will be merged with the previously annotated values for this thread span.

Closing span

When span is finished and ready to be logged to zipkin, issue a close-span call passing a logger connection parameter.

(tls/close-span (t/make-logger {:host "localhost" :port 9410}))

Ring Handler

A ring handler is available for automated tracing of incoming requests

   (require '[clj-zipkin.middleware :as m])
   (defroutes routes
     (GET "/" [] "<h1>Hello World</h1>")
     (route/not-found "<h1>Page not found</h1>"))

   (def app
       (-> routes
       (m/request-tracer {:scribe {:host "localhost" :port 9410}
                          :service "WebServer"})))

Configuration received by the tracer handler is almost the same as the trace function defined above, so it also supports a host parameter.

(m/request-tracer {:scribe {:host "localhost" :port 9410}
                   :host {:port 2020 :service "MyService"}}))

If no ip is specified will default to


There's a small running example here showing how to chain different spans in a web server.

This is how it looks that example in zipkin:

zipkin sample


  • Change span annotations default text?


Copyright © 2013 Guillermo Winkler

Distributed under the Eclipse Public License either version 1.0 or (at your option) any later version.