C# Best Method to create a log file


I'm writing a tool that's going to be check the health of workstations across a network, and will fix according to the issues it finds. I want to create a log file as the app is running through its tasks / checks on each machine. I just want to get this working on a single machine for now, but in time it will be scanning 100+ machines in one go (Threaded out).

What is the best way to create a log file?

I was thinking of using a List<string> to build up the log file in memory and then output it to a file once it had finished.

I'm just thinking there may be a better way of doing this?

Best Solution

I would recommend log4net.

You would need multiple log files. So multiple file appenders. Plus you can create the file appenders dynamically.

Sample Code:

using log4net;
using log4net.Appender;
using log4net.Layout;
using log4net.Repository.Hierarchy;

// Set the level for a named logger
public static void SetLevel(string loggerName, string levelName)
    ILog log = LogManager.GetLogger(loggerName);
    Logger l = (Logger)log.Logger;

    l.Level = l.Hierarchy.LevelMap[levelName];

// Add an appender to a logger
public static void AddAppender(string loggerName, IAppender appender)
    ILog log = LogManager.GetLogger(loggerName);
    Logger l = (Logger)log.Logger;


// Create a new file appender
public static IAppender CreateFileAppender(string name, string fileName)
    FileAppender appender = new
    appender.Name = name;
    appender.File = fileName;
    appender.AppendToFile = true;

    PatternLayout layout = new PatternLayout();
    layout.ConversionPattern = "%d [%t] %-5p %c [%x] - %m%n";

    appender.Layout = layout;

    return appender;

// In order to set the level for a logger and add an appender reference you
// can then use the following calls:
SetLevel("Log4net.MainForm", "ALL");
AddAppender("Log4net.MainForm", CreateFileAppender("appenderName", "fileName.log"));

// repeat as desired

Sources/Good links:

Log4Net: Programmatically specify multiple loggers (with multiple file appenders)

Adding appenders programmatically

How to configure log4net programmatically from scratch (no config)

Plus the log4net also allows to write into event log as well. Everything is configuration based, and the configuration can be loaded dynamically from xml at runtime as well.

Edit 2:

One way to switch log files on the fly: Log4Net configuration file supports environment variables:

Environment.SetEnvironmentVariable("log4netFileName", "MyApp.log");

and in the log4net config:

<param name="File" value="${log4netFileName}".log/>