Logging Guide

Details about how logging with Immutant works, along with how to change it

Logging with Java is a many-headed beast, and the behavior and configuration of logging for an Immutant-based application depends on how you run it. When an application is launched outside of a WildFly container, using and configuring logging is fairly straightforward. Inside of WildFly, there are a few hoops you’ll have to jump through if you can’t use the default logging configuration.

Logging when outside of WildFly

When used outside of WildFly, Immutant uses SLF4J and Logback for logging by default. Any log messages that Immutant itself generates will be handled by Logback, as will anything your app logs via clojure.tools.logging (or Timbre, if you configure it to delegate to clojure.tools.logging).

You can adjust the root logging level at runtime by calling immutant.util/set-log-level!. Note: this will only work if Logback is actually being used, and not replaced with another implementation as we discuss below.

If the default logging configuration doesn’t meet your needs, you can provide an alternate Logback configuration, or replace Logback with some other SLF4J provider.

The default Logback configuration

By default, Logback is configured to log at INFO and below to the console, with some of the chattier libraries we bring in configured at WARN and below. The output looks like:

23:58:53.313 INFO  [my-app.core] (main) an info message
23:58:53.313 WARN  [my-app.core] (main) a warning message
23:58:53.313 ERROR [my-app.core] (main) an error message
23:58:53.450 INFO  [org.projectodd.wunderboss.web.Web] (main) Registered web context /

The default configuration is only applied when Logback is available and you don’t provide an overriding configuration in your application.

Overriding the default configuration

If you want a different format for your log messages, or perhaps send them to a file, or configure any of the other myriad options, you can either provide a logback.xml file on the classpath of your app (e.g. inside resources/), or set the logback.configurationFile system property to the path of the file or resource if you’re using something other than logback.xml.

When defining a custom configuration, it may be useful to use the default configuration as a starting point.

Replacing Logback

If you want to use a logging implementation other than Logback, you’ll need to exclude Logback and bring in your preferred implementation along with the related SLF4J bridge. For example, to use Log4j, you can modify your :dependencies like so:


:dependencies [... [org.immutant/immutant "2.1.7" :exclusions [ch.qos.logback/logback-classic]] [org.apache.logging.log4j/log4j-core "2.0.2"] [org.apache.logging.log4j/log4j-slf4j-impl "2.0.2"]]

For more information on using other logging implementations with SLF4J, see the SLF4J manual.

Logging when inside WildFly

When used inside of WildFly, jboss-logging is activated and replaces Logback as the logging implementation. The default configuration for it produces output that is very similar to the default Logback output above, and it is written to the console and to $WILDFLY_HOME/standalone/log/server.log. Any log messages that Immutant itself generates will be handled by jboss-logging, as will anything your app logs via clojure.tools.logging (or Timbre, if you configure it to delegate to clojure.tools.logging), or writes to stdout/stderr.

If you need to alter the default logging configuration, you have three options:

  • Modify the logging configuration in WildFly’s standalone-*.xml files.
  • Disable the logging subsystem, which re-enables Logback, and provide a custom logback.xml.
  • Disable the logging subsystem and Logback, and bring in a different SLF4J logging implementation.

Modifying the WildFly logging configuration

WildFly provides a very sophisticated logging system that nobody completely understands. It’s possible to configure hierarchical, categorized log message routing, complex file rotation, syslog integration, SMTP notifications, SNMP traps, JMS, JMX and much more. Obviously, most of that is far beyond the scope of this document. Instead, we refer you to the WildFly logging documentation.

Disabling the logging subsystem in WildFly

In order disable the logging subsystem in WildFly, you’ll need to do a little bit of work.

First, you’ll need to modify the jboss-deployment-structure.xml file that gets placed in the war’s WEB-INF/ directory. To get it, run:

lein immutant war

In addition to generating a war file, this also dumps a copy of the default jboss-deployment-structure.xml to target/. Grab that and copy it to war-resources/WEB-INF/ in the root of your application. Then, add the following to it:

<exclude-subsystems>
  <subsystem name="logging" />
</exclude-subsystems>

Second, in order for your custom resources to be included in the war file, you’ll need to add the following to your project.clj:

  :immutant {:war {:resource-paths ["war-resources"]}}

Once you disable the logging subsystem, you can now provide a custom logback.xml as we discussed above, with one important difference - the logback.xml must reside in the war file instead of simply on the application’s classpath. Therefore, you’ll need to put your logback.xml in war-resources/WEB-INF/lib/.

You can also still provide an alternate SLF4J implementation as we did above, but any configuration for it (log4j.xml, etc.), will need to be in war-resources/WEB-INF/lib as well.

Now, regenerate your war file, and you should be good to go. For more information on running your application in WildFly, see our WildFly guide.