There are several best logging practices to improve your code visibility. Visibility in your applications is essential to understanding how they are working. Typically, log analysis is the quickest way to see when certain events took place as well as the root cause of performance issues and limitations. Of course, developers can detect functionality and infrastructure errors faster as well. As a DevOps team manager, you need to know the best logging practices to improve your code insight and reduce your application repair time. With the right procedures, you can also optimize your diagnostic tracking and analysis. This way, you can get more value from your logs and make them easier to use. Keep reading to learn about the best logging practices to improve your code visibility.
Keep Your Structure Consistent
First, you need to keep your standard logging structure consistent to improve your code visibility. Ideally, each log line should represent a single event. Of course, it should also contain the timestamp, hostname, server, and logger name. When applicable, you might also include the thread, instance ID, application version, or other information relevant to the event. Typically, advanced software developers use time stamps with high levels of precision. Often, these go record the event down to the millisecond to provide the most accurate data possible. To do this, you can use the ISO 8061 date format. When implementing logging, be sure to keep your standard structure consistent across your log files to improve your program visibility.
Add Unique Identifiers
Next, it is is crucial to add unique identifiers to your log files. As you use logging to troubleshoot your events, it can be easy to get lost in the application data. By adding unique identification tags to your logs, you can navigate through the data easier. You simply need to follow your ID labels as they go through various processing stages. Your unique identifier could be a user ID, transaction ID, account number, or other relevant value. These identification tags are especially useful when tracking events in your microservice-based architectures, as there are so many services. Surely, adding unique identifiers is a key best logging practice to streamline code navigation. Since coding skills are really important, these identifiers can largely escalate your productivity.
Implement Structured Logging
In addition, you should also implement structured logging to bring more defined formatting and details to your logs. Typically, log files are unstructured text data. This often makes it difficult to query them for useful information. To solve this, you can integrate a structured logger. This allows your logs to be treated as data sets, rather than text. For example, many Go developers use Logrus as their standard structured library logger. With this tool, they can often fix bugs and analyze application performance more accurately then with unstructured logging methods. In this way, implementing structured logging is one of the best practices to improve your code visibility.
Write Meaningful Log Messages
Moreover, you should also write meaningful log messages to make your log files more readable. Typically, developers write log messages in the context of the code. However, this code context may not appear if it’s logged in a different category or level. Then, your log messages may become incomprehensible. To overcome this, add remediation information into all of your log messages. Alternatively, you can add the purpose of the procedure and its result. This is critical when writing log messages at the warn or error level and can be highly influential to understand code events. These strategic messages support the popular software development methodologies. For this reason, meaningful log messages are essential and should not depend on a deep understanding of their program internals.
Use The Debug Log Level
Furthermore, another one of the best practices is to use the debug level log when you write your code. This allows you to use a simple configuration change to obtain more detailed logging data from the issue’s environment. To use the debug log level proactively, log a “Debug” entry at each place you might place a breakpoint in your code when you normally debug an application. Then, when your app hits an error in a higher environment, your operations team can change the log level to “Debug.” Naturally, you can see the log entries, follow the open source code, and monitor your application performance. Certainly, the debug log level is one of the top logging practices to improve your code visibility.
There are several best logging practices to improve your code visibility. First, you should keep your structure consistent across your log files. In addition, adding unique identifiers is key to streamline your program navigation. Next, implement structured logging to add more definition and optimize queries. Moreover, it is also essential to write meaningful log messages in the event of an error. Furthermore, use the debug log level when writing code to better your application monitoring procedures. Implement these best logging practices to improve your code visibility.