C++ – How to implement a good debug/logging feature in a project

c++debugginglogging

I am making a smallish project, total of about 3-4 people. I want to have a solid way of debugging the application, by logs for example. Are there any good resources on how to structure it and such? I've heard a lot from project managers that a good logging feature is critical to each project, but I'm not sure how to do it.

Best Solution

I found this Dr. Dobb's article, Logging In C++, very useful regarding this subject.

Also on Dr. Dobb's: A Highly Configurable Logging Framework In C++

If all you want is a dead simple thread safe logging class which always outputs to stderr then you could use this class I wrote:

#ifndef _LOGGER_HPP_
#define _LOGGER_HPP_

#include <iostream>
#include <sstream>

/* consider adding boost thread id since we'll want to know whose writting and
 * won't want to repeat it for every single call */

/* consider adding policy class to allow users to redirect logging to specific
 * files via the command line
 */

enum loglevel_e
    {logERROR, logWARNING, logINFO, logDEBUG, logDEBUG1, logDEBUG2, logDEBUG3, logDEBUG4};

class logIt
{
public:
    logIt(loglevel_e _loglevel = logERROR) {
        _buffer << _loglevel << " :" 
            << std::string(
                _loglevel > logDEBUG 
                ? (_loglevel - logDEBUG) * 4 
                : 1
                , ' ');
    }

    template <typename T>
    logIt & operator<<(T const & value)
    {
        _buffer << value;
        return *this;
    }

    ~logIt()
    {
        _buffer << std::endl;
        // This is atomic according to the POSIX standard
        // http://www.gnu.org/s/libc/manual/html_node/Streams-and-Threads.html
        std::cerr << _buffer.str();
    }

private:
    std::ostringstream _buffer;
};

extern loglevel_e loglevel;

#define log(level) \
if (level > loglevel) ; \
else logIt(level)

#endif

Use it like this:

// define and turn off for the rest of the test suite
loglevel_e loglevel = logERROR;

void logTest(void) {
    loglevel_e loglevel_save = loglevel;

    loglevel = logDEBUG4;

    log(logINFO) << "foo " << "bar " << "baz";

    int count = 3;
    log(logDEBUG) << "A loop with "    << count << " iterations";
    for (int i = 0; i != count; ++i)
    {
        log(logDEBUG1) << "the counter i = " << i;
        log(logDEBUG2) << "the counter i = " << i;
    }

    loglevel = loglevel_save;
}