Build status NuGet Samples

Logging to elmah.io from Log4net

In this tutorial we'll add logging to elmah.io from a .NET application with log4net. Install the elmah.io appender:

Install-Package elmah.io.log4net

Add the following to your AssemblyInfo.cs file:

[assembly: log4net.Config.XmlConfigurator(Watch = true)]

Add the following config section to your web/app.config file:

<section name="log4net" type="log4net.Config.Log4NetConfigurationSectionHandler, log4net" />

Finally, add the log4net configuration element to web/app.config:

<log4net>
  <appender name="ElmahIoAppender" type="elmah.io.log4net.ElmahIoAppender, elmah.io.log4net">
    <logId value="LOG_ID" />
    <apiKey value="API_KEY" />
  </appender>
  <root>
    <level value="Info" />
    <appender-ref ref="ElmahIoAppender" />
  </root>
</log4net>

That’s it! log4net is now configured and log messages to elmah.io. Remember to replace API_KEY(Where is my API key?) and LOG_ID (Where is my log ID?) with your actual log Id. To start logging, write your usual log4net log statements:

var log = log4net.LogManager.GetLogger(typeof(HomeController));
try
{
    log.Info("Trying something");
    throw new ApplicationException();
}
catch (ApplicationException ex)
{
    log.Error("Error happening", ex);
}

Logging custom properties

log4net offers a feature called context properties. With context properties, you can log additional key/value pairs with every log message. The elmah.io appender for log4net, supports context properties as well. Context properties are handled like custom properties in the elmah.io UI.

Let's utilize two different hooks in log4net, to add context properties to elmah.io:

log4net.GlobalContext.Properties["ApplicationIdentifier"] = "MyCoolApp";
log4net.ThreadContext.Properties["ThreadId"] = Thread.CurrentThread.ManagedThreadId;

log.Info("This is a message with custom properties");

Basically, we set two custom properties on contextual classes provided by log4net. To read more about the choices in log4net, check out the log4net manual.

When looking up the log message in elmah.io, we see the context properties in the Data tab. Besides the two custom variables that we set through GlobalContext and ThreadContext, we see a couple of build-in properties in log4net, both prefixed with log4net:.

In addition, Elmah.Io.Log4Net provides a range of reserved property names, that can be used to fill in data in the correct fields on the elmah.io UI. Let's say you want to fill the User field:

var properties = new PropertiesDictionary();
properties["User"] = "Arnold Schwarzenegger";
log.Logger.Log(new LoggingEvent(new LoggingEventData
{
    Level = Level.Error,
    TimeStampUtc = DateTime.UtcNow,
    Properties = properties,
    Message = "Hasta la vista, baby",
}));

This will fill in the value Arnold Schwarzenegger in the User field, as well as add a key/value pair to the Data tab on elmah.io. For a reference of all possible property names, check out the property names on CreateMessage.

Message hooks

Decorating log messages

In case you want to set one or more core properties on each elmah.io message logged, using message hooks may be a better solution. In that case you will need to add a bit of log4net magic. An example could be setting the Version property on all log messages. In the following code, we set a hard-coded version number on all log messages, but the value could come from assembly info, a text file, or similar:

Hierarchy hier = log4net.LogManager.GetRepository() as Hierarchy;
var elmahIoAppender = (ElmahIoAppender)(hier?.GetAppenders())
    .FirstOrDefault(appender => appender.Name
        .Equals("ElmahIoAppender", StringComparison.InvariantCultureIgnoreCase));

elmahIoAppender.ActivateOptions();
elmahIoAppender.Client.Messages.OnMessage += (sender, a) =>
{
    a.Message.Version = "1.0.0";
};

This rather ugly piece of code would go into an initalization block, depending on the project type. The code starts by getting the configured elmah.io appender (typically set up in web/app.config or log4net.config). With the appender, you can access the underlying elmah.io client and subscribe to the OnMessage event. This let you trigger a small piece of code, just before sending log messages to elmah.io. In this case, we set the Version property to 1.0.0. Remember to call the ActiveOptions method, to make sure that the Client property is initialized.

Specify API key and log ID in appSettings

You may prefer storing the API key and log ID in the appSettings element over having the values embedded into the appender element. This can be the case for easy config transformation, overwriting values on Azure, or similar. log4net provides a feature named pattern strings to address just that:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<configuration>
  <configSections>
    <section name="log4net" type="log4net.Config.Log4NetConfigurationSectionHandler, log4net" />
  </configSections>
  <appSettings>
    <add key="logId" value="LOG_ID"/>
    <add key="apiKey" value="API_KEY"/>
  </appSettings>
  <log4net>
    <root>
      <level value="ALL" />
      <appender-ref ref="ElmahIoAppender" />
    </root>
    <appender name="ElmahIoAppender" type="elmah.io.log4net.ElmahIoAppender, elmah.io.log4net">
      <logId type="log4net.Util.PatternString" value="%appSetting{logId}" />
      <apiKey type="log4net.Util.PatternString" value="%appSetting{apiKey}" />
    </appender>
  </log4net>
</configuration>

The logId and apiKey elements underneath the elmah.io appender have been extended to include type="log4net.Util.PatternString". This allows for complex patterns in the value attribute. In this example, I reference an app setting from its name, by adding a value of %appSetting{logId} where logId is a reference to the app setting key specified above.

ASP.NET Core

Like other logging frameworks, logging through log4net from ASP.NET Core is also supported. We have a sample to show you how to set it up. The required NuGet packages and configuration are documented in this section.

To start logging to elmah.io from Microsoft.Extensions.Logging (through log4net), install the Microsoft.Extensions.Logging.Log4Net.AspNetCore NuGet package:

Install-Package Microsoft.Extensions.Logging.Log4Net.AspNetCore

Include a log4net config file to the root of the project:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<log4net>
  <root>
    <level value="WARN" />
    <appender-ref ref="ElmahIoAppender" />
    <appender-ref ref="ConsoleAppender" />
  </root>
  <appender name="ElmahIoAppender" type="elmah.io.log4net.ElmahIoAppender, elmah.io.log4net">
    <logId value="LOG_ID" />
    <apiKey value="API_KEY" />
    <!--<application value="My app" />-->
  </appender>
  <appender name="ConsoleAppender" type="log4net.Appender.ConsoleAppender">
    <layout type="log4net.Layout.PatternLayout">
      <conversionPattern value="%date [%thread] %-5level %logger [%property{NDC}] - %message%newline" />
    </layout>
  </appender>
</log4net>

In the Program.cs file, make sure to set up log4net:

public class Program
{
    public static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        CreateWebHostBuilder(args).Build().Run();
    }

    public static IWebHostBuilder CreateWebHostBuilder(string[] args) =>
        WebHost.CreateDefaultBuilder(args)
            .ConfigureLogging((hostingContext, logging) =>
            {
                logging.AddLog4Net();
            })
            .UseStartup<Startup>();
}

All internal logging from ASP.NET Core, as well as manual logging you create through the ILogger interface, now goes directly into elmah.io.

A common request is to include all of the HTTP contextual information you usually get logged when using a package like Elmah.Io.AspNetCore. We have developed a specialized NuGet package to include cookies, server variables, etc. when logging through log4net from ASP.NET Core. To set it up, install the Elmah.Io.AspNetCore.Log4Net NuGet package:

Install-Package Elmah.Io.AspNetCore.Log4Net

Finally, make sure to call the UseElmahIoLog4Net method in the Configure method in the Startup.cs file:

public void Configure(IApplicationBuilder app, IHostingEnvironment env, ILoggerFactory loggerFactory)
{
    ... // Exception handling middleware
    app.UseElmahIoLog4Net();
    ... // UseMvc etc.
}

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