Log4Net vs Loupe

What is Log4Net?

Based on the log4j logging framework started in 1996 by the Apache Foundation, the Log4Net .NET port helps developers filter and output log statements from .NET projects to a variety of outputs (usually plain text files).

Installation is easy, simply download the relevant DLLs, reference them in your project and add a few lines of code and you’re good to go.

While the log files Log4Net produces aren’t too difficult to manage in a local test environment, in production the sheer volume of logs produced will be too high to be of any use. Even if you make good use of it’s configurable filters, you’ll need a viewing tool such as Apache Chainsaw or Loupe (free) in order to make sense of this volume of data.

While Log4Net is highly extensible via many 3rd party plugins, you don’t get any centralization or viewing capability out of the box. This is critical when your software is running on multiple servers or desktop environments.

What is Loupe?

Loupe (originally known as Gibraltar) was created by Gibraltar Software to fulfill some of the shortcomings of Log4Net and similar local logging frameworks on the market. It comes in three parts: A free agent which is bundled with your app, a free desktop viewing tool (for analysis and basic viewing of local log files) and a web platform which collects, organizes and categorizes potential issues to make them easier to search across and digest.

Loupe Log Viewer

For local logging, installation is pretty much exactly the same process as Log4Net, it’s easy to switch from Log4Net to Loupe by changing just a few lines of config once the agent is installed. After that it’s simply a case of installing Loupe (for free local log analysis) or signing up for a trial of the web platform which gives you the centralized log collection and much more detailed analysis and search capability.

So which should I choose?

It honestly depends on what stage you’re project is at. If you’re just getting started on something and need to view an enormous log file locally, free tools like Log4Net and Loupe will get you there. However, we believe that Log4Net, and logging restricted to local machines in general is never going to cut it in a production environment (which is where logging really counts). Once software is out in the wild, you can’t afford not to know the issues your users might potentially be experiencing.

What if I’m already using Log4Net?

The great news is that Loupe can extend Log4Net to capture all of the log data you’re already recording. Most customers chose to phase out Log4Net in favor of using Loupe’s native API over time except for cases where Log4Net-specific features are particularly valuable. Whether you use Log4Net and Loupe together over the long term or just as a means of migrating to Loupe you’re in good hands.

Integration is easy

Just add an assembly reference and a few lines of code or XML. See details for ASP.NET Web Forms, ASP.NET MVC, WinFormsWPF, Services  and Entity Framework or read our complete Log4Net integration documentation.

Rock solid centralized logging

Unlimited applications, unlimited errors, scalable from solo startup to enterprise.