If you’re a fan of Java logging, you already know that there are three main types, Log4j, Log4j2, and SLF4j. They all have their place, and their fans, but the point is that taken together, the entire Java approach to logging is an excellent way for IT pros to deal with this essential aspect of the entire management cycle.
It’s almost fair to say that Java logging is ubiquitous, based on how many small, medium, and large organizations use it. But widespread popularity is not what makes something a winner. It’s the other way around. Because the Java logging framework does its job so well, millions of IT professionals prefer to use it.
But how does each one of the three sub-categories of J-logging get the job done in its own superior way?
Here’s a quick rundown of the benefits any manager can derive from opting for SLF4j, Log4j, or Log4j2.
The Log4j API has a reputation as being reliable, quick, and flexible. Its key advantages include a robust infrastructure, easy categorization (like Error, Info, Fatal, Debug, and Trace), the ability to send files to specific destinations (like database, console, or file), fully-definable output formats, the ability to handle asynchronous logs in order to boost application performance, and a logical class hierarchy.
The upgraded version of Log4j offers some nice benefits, too, like a super-low garbage level, much stronger community support, excellent filtering, custom log levels, and plugin architecture that’s simple to expand. For most IT professionals, it makes good sense to upgrade to this more advanced version. Community support for the original is somewhat lacking and J2 boasts dozens of other bells and whistles that just weren’t available before.
Whether you opt for the original, the upgraded 4j2 or SLF4j, the task of monitoring Java application data should be a central fixture of your entire logging cycle. There’s no better way to get a handle on crucial factors like memory usage, how many threads are running at a given time, garbage-collector information, CPU usage, and other important metrics.
If you prefer to write applications that are completely independent of whatever your current logging framework is, then SLF4j might be a good fit for your organization. When you deploy SLF4j, you can migrate to any framework you wish and still get full support for parameterized messages. What most fans of SLF like most is the migrator tool, unique to this version. And it doesn’t matter if you currently use frameworks like JCL, Log4j, or others because you can still migrate any projects in your pipeline.
It’s important, no matter which of the three methods you prefer, to understand the importance of analyzing Java GC logs. These garbage collectors are essential components of any system but they reveal more than most managers give them credit for. If your GC logger is storing too little, too much, or the wrong kind of information, it should be fixed asap. Checking the log data for inconsistencies and errors can save storage space and help you troubleshoot related problems more easily.