Log4J Levels

This log4j post is a tutorial post describing different levels of logging in log4j. This is for log4j beginners only but if you wish to refresh, go ahead and enjoy!

Log4j logger contains three main components namely logger, appender and layout. Logger takes care of the logging mechanism and deals with level of logging. Log4j provides five standard levels of logging. There are two more special levels given by log4j. Above all these, log4j allows you to create custom levels.

 

Five standard log4j levels

DEBUG Level

This log4j level helps developer to debug application. Level of message logged will be focused on providing support to a application developer.

INFO Level

This log4j level gives the progress and chosen state information. This level will be generally useful for end user. This level is one level higher than DEBUG.

WARN Level

This log4j level gives a warning about an unexpected event to the user. The messages coming out of this level may not halt the progress of the system.

ERROR Level

This log4j level gives information about a serious error which needs to be addressed and may result in unstable state. This level is one level higher than WARN.

FATAL Level

This log4j level is straightforward and you don’t get it quite often. Once you get this level and it indicates application death.

Two special log4j levels

ALL Level

This log4j level is used to turn on all levels of logging. Once this is configured and the levels are not considered.

OFF Level

This log4j level is opposite to ALL level. It turns off all the logging.

New Trace Level added in Log4j

TRACE Level

This log4j level gives more detailed information than the DEBUG level and sits top of the hierarchy. This level is introduced from version 1.2.12 in log4j.

Custom log4j levels

Log4j’s levels are mostly sufficient for all common applications. Rarely you may need a new Level apart from the levels provided by log4j. In that case you can extendorg.apache.log4j.Level class and have your own custom level implementation.

Log4j Logger Output

When a logger is created, generally you assign a level. The logger outputs all those messages equal to that level andalso all greater levels than it. So the order for the standard log4j levels are:

Log4J Levels

TRACE Level DEBUG Level INFO Level WARN Level ERROR Level FATAL Level
TRACE Level Y Y Y Y Y Y
DEBUG Level N Y Y Y Y Y
INFO Level N N Y Y Y Y
WARN Level N N N Y Y Y
ERROR Level N N N N Y Y
FATAL Level N N N N N Y
ALL Level Y Y Y Y Y Y
OFF Level N N N N N N

Log4j Level Inheritance Rule

There can be instances when you don’t assign a level to the logger. In such cases log4j handles it seamlessly based on the following level inheritance rule:
The inherited level for a given logger C, is equal to the first non-null level in the logger hierarchy, starting at C and proceeding upwards in the hierarchy towards the root logger.

That means, if you have a package as com.foo.bar and you didn’t allocate a level, then it will inherit the level from com.foo package. Still in that package also if the level is not available, then it will inherit from the log4j root level. The log4j’s root logger is instantiated and available always. Log4j’s root logger by default has DEBUG level.

 

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