Logging frameworks and best practices
Table of contents
- What’s logging anyway 🤔?
- Why should we use logging?
- What to look for in a Logging Framework?
- Logging Frameworks for dotnet and Nodejs
- Best Practices
What’s logging anyway 🤔?
Logging is the act of keeping a log of events that occur in a computer system, such as problems, errors or just information on current operations. These events may occur in an operating system, a web app living on the cloud or any device that has a computer in it.
Let’s think of a printer for instance. We can find logfiles that contain all printer logs about when the printer was active, when it printed something and where the print request came from. This helps in increasing the observability of software and systems in general.
Why should we use logging?
Logging is a crucial component of any software system, as it provides a way to track and analyze the behavior of your application. Whether you’re developing a web application, a desktop application, or a mobile app, logging helps you identify issues and optimize performance. In this article, we will discuss logging frameworks and what to look for when selecting a logging framework. Let’s consider two famous backend technologies, dotnet and Nodejs.
What to look for in a Logging Framework?
Ease of use
The logging framework should be easy to set up and use, with clear documentation and examples. You should spend less time figuring out logging and more time on application logic.
The logging framework should have low overhead and minimal impact on application performance. What’s the point if your logging framework hogs up all the resources not leaving enough for the main application?
The logging framework should be able to handle large volumes of log data and provide scalable.
The logging framework should provide options to store logs in multiple storage options like files, databases etc.,
The logging framework should support different log levels, formats, transports and filters to meet your specific logging needs.
The logging framework should support secure transport and storage of log data, with options for encryption and access control.
It’s better to choose a framework that can perform both synchronous and asynchronous logging that doesn’t block the execution of your main business logic.
Logging Frameworks for dotnet and Nodejs
There are several logging frameworks available for dotnet and Nodejs-based applications. Here are some of the most popular ones:
Serilog is a popular logging framework for dotnet-based applications. It provides a sample API, flexible configuration options and supports a wide range of sinks such as console, file, database and cloud services.
NLog is another popular logging framework for dotnet-based applications. It provides a highly configurable and extensible API, with support for custom targets, layouts and filters.
Winston is a popular logging framework for Nodejs-based applications. It provides a simple API, flexible configuration options and supports a wide range of transports such as console, file, database and cloud services.
Bunyan is another popular logging framework for Nodejs-based applications. It provides a simple API, structured log data and support for JSON log format.
In addition to selecting the right logging framework, it is important to follow the best practices for logging, such as:
Use meaningful log messages
Ensure that your log messages provide enough information to identify issues and diagnose problems.
Use structured logging
Structured logging makes it easier to analyze log data, as it allows you to log key-value pairs and other structured data.
When you log data in structured data like “logTime: YYYY-MM-DD HH-mm-SS, message: sign in failed” it helps in the analysis since we can filter the logs based on the key-value pairs.
Avoid logging sensitive information
Be careful not to log sensitive data such as passwords, credit card numbers and personally identifiable information.
Normally logs will be stored somewhere in the cloud for future reference or will be given to an analyst for analyzing them. So, it’s better to avoid logging any personal information that belongs to the user.
Regularly analyze and review log data
Regularly reviewing and analyzing log data can help you identify issues, optimize performance and improve the overall quality of your application.
Avoid writing unnecessary logs. Though logs can help us grab a clear idea of application behavior, overdoing it will waste memory and makes it difficult to analyze the logs later.
Make better use of Log Level
Almost all of these frameworks support different log levels like Information, Error, Warning, Debug etc., These levels hold their certain meaning and purpose. So, make good use of log levels to add more meaning and intuition to your logs.
In conclusion, logging is a crucial aspect of any software system and selecting the right logging framework is important for ensuring the reliability, performance and security of your application. When selecting a logging framework, consider factors such as ease of use, performance, scalability, flexibility and security. Serilog and NLog are popular logging frameworks for dotnet-based applications, while Winston and Bunyan are popular logging frameworks for Nodejs-based applications. These frameworks provide a wide range of features and configuration options, making it easy to log and analyze log data in a scalable and flexible way.
By following the best practices and selecting the right logging framework for your dotnet or Nodejs-based application, you can ensure your application is reliable, performant and secure.
Thank you for reading this article.