What is a log file?

LogViewPlus defines log files as any data store which contains a series of log entries.  Log entries represent time series data, so all log entries must have a timestamp.  Files which do not conform to this broad definition cannot be processed by LogViewPlus.  If you are having trouble reading data from a log file you should consider if the timestamps are being parsed correctly.

We think of log entries as containing two parts: an envelope and a message. 

The envelope contains metadata describing the log entry.  For example, the timestamp, thread, or log level.  Metadata information should be consistently provided in all log entries in the log file.

A log entry message is optional.  If provided LogViewPlus will consider the message as the core information that the application was trying to convey to the reader at that moment in time.  Often this information is in a human readable format such as a sentence containing information.  Related messages may use the same structure, but there can be wide variability from one message to the next.

The goal when parsing log files is to isolate the metadata from the message.  Log file parsing is successful when all log entries are displayed as separate rows in the Log Entry Grid.  If needed, log messages can then be parsed separately to extract additional information.  This is a distinct step which is not connected to the main log file parse.

Finally, please note that a log "file" as defined in this documentation may not be file based.  For example, LogViewPlus will consider a database or network stream as types of log files even though these data sources are not strictly file based.  We use the terms 'log' and 'log file' interchangeably.  Both refer to a log data source, or a collection of log entries.

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