JRas Overview


JRas facilitates message logging and diagnostic trace.

Message A message entry is an informational record intended to be viewed by end users, systems administrators and support personnel. Messages are typically localized, meaning they are displayed in the national language of the end user. Although the destination and lifetime of messages might be configurable, some level of message logging is always enabled in normal system operation. Message logging must be used judiciously due to both performance considerations and the size of the message repository.

Trace A trace entry is an information record that is intended to be used by service engineers or developers. As such a trace record may be considerably more complex, verbose and detailed than a message entry. Localization support is typically not used for trace entries. Trace entries may be fairly inscrutable, understandable only by the appropriate developer or service personnel. It is assumed that trace entries are not written during normal runtime operation, but may be enabled as needed to gather diagnostic information.

WAS provides a message logging and diagnostic trace API that can be used by applications. This API is based on the stand-alone JRas logging toolkit, which is collection of interfaces and classes that provide message logging and diagnostic trace primitives. The stand-alone JRas logging toolkit provides a limited amount systems management support, including log file configuration support based on property files.

The stand-alone JRas logging toolkit does not contain the support required for integration into the WAS runtime or for usage in a J2EE environment. To overcome these limitations, WAS provides a set of as JRas extension classes.


JRas Concepts

Event Types The stand-alone JRas logging toolkit defines a set of event types for messages and a set of event types for trace. Examples of message types include informational, warning and error. Examples of trace types include entry, exit and trace.

Event Classes The stand-alone JRas logging toolkit defines both message and trace event classes.

Loggers A logger is the primary object with which the user code interacts. Two types of loggers are defined. These are message loggers and trace loggers. The set of methods on message loggers and trace loggers are different, since they provide different functionality. Message loggers create only message records and trace loggers create only trace records. Both types of loggers contain masks that indicates which categories of events the logger should process and which it should ignore. Although every JRas logger is defined to contain both a message and trace mask, the message logger only uses the message mask and the trace logger only uses the trace mask. For example, by setting a message logger's message mask to the appropriate state, it can be configured to process only Error messages and ignore Informational and Warning messages. Change the state of a message logger's trace mask has no effect.

A logger contains one or more handlers to which it forwards events for further processing. When the user calls a method on the logger, the logger will compare the event type specified by the caller to its current mask value. If the specified type passes the mask check, the logger will create an event object to capture the information relating to the event that was passed to the logger method. This information may include information such as the names of the class and method which is logging the event, a message and parameters to log, among others. Once the logger has created the event object, it forwards the event to all handlers currently registered with the logger.

Methods that are used within the logging infrastructure itself should not make calls to the logger method. When an application uses an object that extends a thread class, implements the hashCode(), and makes a call to the logging infrastructure from that method, the result is a recursive loop.

Handlers A handler provides an abstraction over an output device or event consumer. An example is a file handler, which knows how to write an event to a file. The handler also contains a mask that is used to further restrict the categories of events the handler will process. For example, a message logger may be configured to pass both warning and error events, but a handler attached to the message logger may be configured to only pass error events. Handlers also include formatters, which the handler invokes to format the data in the passed event before it is written to the output device.

Formatters Handlers are configured with Formatters, which know how to format events of certain types. A handler may contain multiple formatters, each of which know how to format a specific class of event. The event object is passed to the appropriate formatter by the handler. The formatter returns formatted output to the handler, which then writes it to the output device.