HomeCollaborative PostWhat Are Application Logs, and Why Do You Need Them?

What Are Application Logs, and Why Do You Need Them?


Developing an application is meticulous work consisting of many steps before the final product reaches its audience. Everything starts with an idea of solving a user’s problem and gathering the list of functions it should perform before the team can work on the interface design and the coding part.

The latter includes choosing the programming language, platform, and application type (web or desktop). It is also part of this process to decide on including application logs because they play a huge role in its future performance.

Application logs are files that register and store data about the events inside the application while running. There may be different events depending on the functions of a specific application you are working on. Errors, warnings, authentications, threats, and information about consumed resources are just to name the main ones.

When it comes to the implementation, the choice of logging system is determined by application architecture and framework. Thus, the Django logging example will look different from the application with similar functions running on Ruby or Node.js.

Why do you need application logs?

As developing the event logging part means additional time for your software engineering team, you may wonder why spending the resources on it. A short answer is because it will be hard to keep up and running software without them. The longer arguments for implementing logs are as follows:

Easy troubleshooting

Even after proper testing and releasing software on production, it may happen that some functions are not working as expected. Error logs to the rescue! They will allow you to identify the root cause of the issue and check the exact path to a faulty piece of code. The more meaningful log entries are, the better. It’s because informative messages make troubleshooting and debugging much more efficient. “Unexpected error,” regardless of the matter, will not be much of a help, so you need to keep this in mind when crafting the error log messages for the most common cases.

Enhanced Monitoring

When running an application, it’s critical to monitor its uptime to assess reliability and performance. With the availability logs, you can see all the data at hand when your application experienced any downtimes, as well as warnings about resource overuse. So, you will be able to confirm that everything is fine or see if any improvements are required.

Preventing security incidents

Keeping the threat logs with collecting failed authentication attempts, file uploads, or invalid inputs will help you to detect signs of a security breach or a DDoS attack. This will enable your team to successfully mitigate them by blocking unwanted actions and user profiles and keep the application safe and sound.

Empowering Business Intelligence

Gathering application event logs can be a powerful source to supply your business intelligence with data to have a complete picture of the usability patterns and user behavior. Thus, you will be able to measure how often users log in to their accounts, what actions they perform, and what features are most widely used or are not used at all. It will help you to make data-driven decisions when developing your product.

Implementing a logging system during the development stage will give you additional benefits in maintaining your application regarding integrity and stable work. It will also help save time detecting and ousting the bugs to ensure a smooth user experience. And last but not least, it will give you the data to operate on when making crucial business decisions. So it’s definitely worth the effort. 

About the author:

Richard Grant has an established career as a technology consultant, helping business owners and CTOs harness new technologies for their business. He regularly writes and muses about emerging technology.