Do you use the best trace logging library?
  v9.0 Posted at 24/04/2018 5:51 AM by Tiago Araujo

Did you know that writing your own logging infrastructure code wastes time? You should use a logging library, and the best logging library is Serilog.

Serilog is a NuGet package that can be included in any .NET application, is easy to configure, supports many different output targets, has great performance, and allows for runtime changes to the configuration. Serilog also supports full integration with log4net so is easy to use with any older codebase using log4net.

Serilog supports all the log4net concepts of logging at different levels of importance (e.g. Error, Warning, Information) and having different logs for different components of your application (e.g. a Customer Log and an Order Log).

Serilog's main advantage over previous loggers is its ability to serialize and log full .net objects rather than just strings. Serilog also has a powerful, nested context system allowing log events to be grouped by request, operation etc. 

Serilog has the concept of "sinks": pluggable modules that can consume, store and/or act on logging events. The most powerful sink is Seq - a web application that allows the user to perform complex search queries on incoming log data in real time.

Other sinks allow you to:

  • save logs to a file
  • export to log4net (and subsequently use any log4net appender)
  • save to a database
  • export to Application Insights, New Relic, and many other APM platforms

Many other sinks are available as described here: https://github.com/serilog/serilog/wiki/Provided-Sinks

Figure: Bad Example - Using Debug or Trace for logging, or writing hard coded mechanisms for logging does not allow you to configure logging at runtime
Figure: Bad Example - Roll your own logging components lack functionality, and have not been tested as thoroughly for quality or performance as log4net
Figure: Good Example - Using serilog allows persisting structured log data to multiple stores, querying that data intelligently and requires less work to install and configure than a roll-you-own logger, and provides many more features
Figure: Good Example - Seq provides a powerful UI for searching and viewing your structured logs

Serilog should be added to your project via the NuGet package manager.

See also Do you use the best middle tier .NET libraries?

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