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What are the differences between logging and tracing patterns?

Ammar Ahmad Farid

Overview

When designing a complex application, we need to have good and flexible error reporting.

Logging is used for error reporting and tracing is used to trace the program flow for finding performance bottlenecks.

Logging

Logging is used to keep track of error reporting and related data in one place. It is utilized in big applications, but it may also be used in smaller applications, especially if they provide critical functionality. Both the techniques of event logging and the log files that arise are referred to as logging.

Log files

Any event within an application or system, such as an error, a failure, or a state transformation, can be recorded in log files. When anything goes wrong, such state changes can assist in identifying which modification was responsible for the issue.

Tracing

Tracing offers a far broader, continuous perspective of an application than logging, which provides an overview of a discrete, event-triggered record. The purpose of tracing is to follow the flow and data evolution of a program. As a result, there’s a lot more data at stake. Therefore, tracing may be a lot noisier than logging.

Tracing depicts a single user’s journey through an application stack in many cases. Its goal isn’t to be reactive but rather to be proactive. Developers can detect bottlenecks and increase performance by tracing across a stack.

Tracing is considered a filtered level of logging. Other logging levels are:

  • Error
  • Severe
  • Warning
  • Debug
  • Trace

RELATED TAGS

log
trace
error

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Ammar Ahmad Farid
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