Importance of Using Structured Logging for Developers

The use of technology in carrying out various tasks has made things easier for both individuals and businesses. While enjoying these technologies, not many people can stop and try to question how and who came up with the various techs that exist today. When you see huge engineering projects in the world today, they are delivered with so much success that you wonder if they are really as complicated as they look.

While this may be true, the same cannot be said in the world software development. This is because in software development projects have to be customized and made from scratch through the process of discovery, invention and creativity and so failure looms with every line of code that is created. In order to manage this complexity, developers use a variety of measures that include logging.

What is logging?

Logging is the technology of recording code execution points that a developer considers to be important. Unlike in the past, majority of developers have realized the benefits of logging and they log almost everything. These include when a function is called, the time that it was called as well as the function that called it and so on.

Logging allows you to develop the code faster and effectively because you can see what the code is doing during the process of development and even production. Looking into what the code is doing is not only important to you but also other developers because they will follow the program execution with ease. When it comes to commenting, it is easier to replace numerous comments with log messages for effective documentation.

Logs are very useful for the purposes of debugging, auditing, monitoring, data collection, alerting and reporting but in order to achieve more with logs, they need to be well structured because log files are usually unstructured texts.

What is structured logging?

Logging produces unstructured data which is not useful when it is used as it is. It therefore needs to be filtered by individual categories like a time, name, and transaction number and so forth to allow for easy analysis and searching of log files.

Why structured logging is important

  • For analytics

Logs that are collected over time give the biggest data that can be analyzed for faster decision making. For instance, you will know who is using your service, the customer behavior, popular products and many others.

  • Debugging

Structured logging makes debugging easy because you can easily find response pages that are loading slowly, failed requests, stack traces and slow running database among others. These problems can then be diagnosed and corrected easily without much hassle.

  • Monitoring

With structured logging, you can easily monitor your server in terms of available memory, network utilization, how long it takes requests to be processed, CPU and disk utilization and even emails among other areas.

  • Reporting

Given that you can filter your logs into sections, structured logging will give you important data that can generate important reports. For instance, the logs on client id or transaction number will give you information on registration, popular products and even sales.

  • Performance

What is structured logging
Knowing how your application is performing is important because it will define if your project is a success or not. Is your server response time good? This is what structured logging technology can answer you so that you can diagnose and correct the problem.

The technology of software development is a complex one and this complexity can be managed by different ways including logging. Log files alone produces unstructured text data that makes it hard to use and it is important to implement structured logging in your application development and production to make the data useful.

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