Posted by: lrrp | August 15, 2005

How does the Java logging API stack up against log4j? by Kevin Brown

In a previous article, I covered a Java logging API called log4j. In that article, I mentioned that if you were going to be using the Java 2 SDK version 1.4, a logging API was included in the standard distribution. At that time, I felt that with the release of the logging API in the standard JDK, it was better to stick with log4j since it was more mature and proven. I still use log4j in my projects, but I decided it was time to take a look at the built-in logging, see how it is implemented, and find out how well it works compared to the log4j package.

If you are not familiar with the log4j package, you may want to read the previous article before continuing. As I write this article, the most recent log4j release is 1.2.4. It features two changes that make it more compatible with the JDK logging API implemented. The changes involve the Category class moving to the Logger class and the Priority class moving to the Level class. The Category and Priority classes are still supported, so your existing log4j code will work if you are upgrading from a previous version. Now, let’s take a closer look at adding logging to your applications.

Put a Logger in your code
The main object your code will use to interface with the logging API is the Logger class. The Logger class contains the necessary methods for retrieving a Logger instance and for logging various levels of messages. You can use code similar to the following to get an instance of the Logger class:
private static final Logger logger = Logger.getLogger(JavaLoggingExample.class.getName());

This code retrieves an instance of the Logger using the current class name. In this case, the name of the class is JavaLoggingExample. The getLogger() method accepts a String argument specifying the Logger class name. The logging API uses a hierarchical namespace so that settings can be inherited to lower levels of the hierarchy (more on settings in a moment). For instance, if the full name of the class were com.versatilesolutions.builder.JavaLoggingExample, the settings for the Logger could be inherited from com.versatilesolutions since it is considered the parent of the class. All Loggers inherit from the LogManager such that newly created Loggers will have the settings declared in the LogManager.

Log something
Logs are based upon levels, which are represented by integers. The Level class in the java.util.logging package contains fields for the preset levels. The levels are SEVERE, WARNING, INFO, CONFIG, FINE, FINER, and FINEST. To log a message of a particular level, you call the log method with the level and message you desire:
logger.log(Level.SEVERE, “This is a severe level message!”);

This logs a SEVERE level message. There are a number of log methods designed to save time by logging directly to a particular level:
logger.severe(“This is another severe level message!”);

When you run these log methods, the output to the console looks something like this:
Jun 25, 2002 4:40:34 PM JavaLoggingExample
SEVERE: This is a severe level message!

The first line lists the date and time information followed by the name of the class and the logging API’s best guess as to the routine that made the call. In this case, indicates the constructor of the class. The logging API does not guarantee the accuracy of the trace information since accurate stack traces can be affected by many of the optimized runtime environments.

Configure logging
You use handlers and formatters to customize logging. A handler lets you control the destination for your log statements. The formatter, as you might guess, controls the actual output. The API includes these handlers: ConsoleHandler, SocketHandler, and FileHandler. If you browse the API Javadocs, you will see other handlers listed, but they are just support classes used for other handlers. Only two formatters are included in the standard API—SimpleFormatter and XMLFormatter.

The entire logging configuration is accomplished through a property file that is read from the lib directory within the JRE directory. This file is named You can also adjust the logging properties dynamically by declaring and adding a handler and or formatter to a Logger instance. I’ve created a small test class (

Listing A

) that establishes a file handler in addition to the default console handler. By default, this file handler uses XMLFormatter. You can see the file (output) in

Listing B


You may adjust the logging properties by specifying an alternate property file or class using a Java system property (java.util.logging.config.class or java.util.logging.config.file). The configuration class will be instantiated and will be responsible for configuration.

Standard API or log4j?
After examining the standard logging API, my opinion is to stick with the log4j package if you are looking for a robust logging implementation. The logging API is adequate, but it is missing many of the features available in log4j. For instance, log4j already has a file rotation class that can rotate based upon the date. (You could extend the FileHandler class in the logging API, but why create more work for yourself?)

Another log4j advantage is the ease with which you can configure it by loading a configuration object with a specified property file. The logging API’s method of specifying the file or class as a system property seems difficult to manage, and in my projects, I like a simple startup. Log4j also has a much more robust formatting system that allows you to apply simple patterns to your log output without having to write a class that extends the formatter. The numerous add-on programs and handlers available for the log4j package make it an excellent choice, since almost anything you would need is probably already available.

There are ways to make the logging API a robust solution for many logging needs, but at this time, I think the log4j package offers a better solution. Still, if you just want some simple console, socket, or file logging, the logging API is already built into the JDK.

(July 24, 2002 –



  1. Hot News From The Automotive Lending Industry!!

    +++++++++Current Profile+++++++++
    InterFinancial Holdings, Corp (IFLH)
    Current Price $0.036

    Is this an undiscovered gem priced to go higher!!
    Please read the following Announcement in its Entirety and Consider the Possibilities�
    Watch this One to Trade!

    IFLH announces Senator David Cain has joined its Board of Directors!!

    IFLH volume trading is beginning to surge with landslide Announcement. The value of this
    stock appears poised for growth! This one should not remain on the ground floor for long.

    InterFinancial Holdings, Corp. (OTC Pink Sheets: IFLH – News) announced that they have added
    David Cain to their board of directors. David Cain is currently the Chairman of the advisory
    board to TTI (Texas Transportation Institute). Senator Cain represented Senate District 2 for
    eight years in the Texas Senate and Chaired the Senate State Affairs Subcommittee on
    Transportation and served nine terms in the Texas House of Representatives for District 107.

    During his twelve years as Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, Senator Cain�s
    efforts on behalf of the people of Texas have been widely recognized. He was named to Texas
    Monthly Magazine�s list of Ten Best Legislators, the Dallas Morning News said he was one of
    the outstanding legislators of the 73rd session, and the Texas Department of Transportation
    awarded him the Russell H. Perry Award in 1995 for his efforts to gain public awareness of
    the need for and benefits of transportation facilities in the State of Texas.

    Jeffrey C. Bruteyn, Managing Director, stated, We at InterFinancial are proud to have such a
    widely recognized Senator join our board and oversee out automotive lending division. His
    affiliations and connections to the automotive industry will be invaluable to our company.
    Senator Cain will be instrumental in expediting our approval to use a government issued Seller
    Finance License.

    Seller Finance Licenses are very difficult to obtain and are usually reserved for the Big Boys
    with heavy lobbyists. These licenses are highly coveted because it allows the finance company
    to collect the entire down payment, instead of paying a portion of it to the taxing authority.
    This dramatically helps a finance company�s bottom line if the buyer defaults on the loan.

    With the new GPS tracking systems being installed on every car to dramatically improve
    repossessions and with Senator Cain on the Board of Directors, InterFinancial Holdings
    is ready to take their business to the next level.


    The examples above show the Awesome, Earning Potential of little known Companies
    That Explode onto Investor�s Radar Screens. This stock will not be a Secret for long.
    Then You May Feel the Desire to Act Right Now! And Please Watch This One Trade!!
    GO IFLH!

    All statements made are our express opinion only and should be treated as such. We may own,
    take position and sell any securities mentioned at any time. Any statements that express or
    involve discussions with respect to predictions, goals, expectations, beliefs, plans,
    projections, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance are not statements of
    historical fact and may be “forward looking statements.” Forward looking statements are based
    on expectations, estimates and projections at the time the statements are made that involve a
    number of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results or events to differ materially
    from those presently anticipated. This newsletter was paid four thousand dollars from a party
    (IR Marketing). Forward looking statements in this action may be identified through the use of
    words such as: “projects”, “foresee”, “expects”. in compliance with Section 17(.b), we disclose
    the holding of IF LH shares prior to the publication of this report. Be aware of an inherent
    conflict of interest resulting from such holdings due to our intent to profit from the liquidation
    of these shares. Shares may be sold at any time, even after positive statements have been made
    regarding the above company. Since we own shares, there is an inherent conflict of interest in
    our statements and opinions. Readers of this publication are cautioned not to place undue reliance
    on forward-looking statements, which are based on certain assumptions and expectations involving
    various risks and uncertainties that could cause results to differ materially from those set forth
    in the forward- looking statements. This is not solicitation to buy or sell stocks, this text is
    for informational purpose only and you should seek professional advice from registered financial
    advisor before you do anything related with buying or selling stocks, penny stocks are very high
    risk and you can lose your entire investment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: