LogCat methods are:
Log.v(); // Verbose Log.d(); // Debug Log.i(); // Info Log.w(); // Warning Log.e(); // Error
What are the appropriate situations to use each type of Logging? I know that perhaps it’s just a little bit of semantics and perhaps it doesn’t really matter, but for
LogCat filtering in Android Studio and Eclipse, it would be nice to know I am using the proper methods at the appropriate times.
Let’s go in reverse order:
Log.e: This is for when bad stuff happens. Use this tag in places like inside a catch statement. You know that an error has occurred and therefore you’re logging an error.
Log.w: Use this when you suspect something shady is going on. You may not be completely in full on error mode, but maybe you recovered from some unexpected behavior. Basically, use this to log stuff you didn’t expect to happen but isn’t necessarily an error. Kind of like a “hey, this happened, and it’s weird, we should look into it.”
Log.i: Use this to post useful information to the log. For example: that you have successfully connected to a server. Basically use it to report successes.
Log.d: Use this for debugging purposes. If you want to print out a bunch of messages so you can log the exact flow of your program, use this. If you want to keep a log of variable values, use this.
Log.v: Use this when you want to go absolutely nuts with your logging. If for some reason you’ve decided to log every little thing in a particular part of your app, use the Log.v tag.
And as a bonus…
- Log.wtf: Use this when stuff goes absolutely, horribly, holy-crap wrong. You know those catch blocks where you’re catching errors that you never should get…yeah, if you wanna log them use Log.wtf
The different methods are indications of priority. As you’ve listed them, they’re going from least to most important. I think how you specifically map them to debug logs in your code depends on the component or app you’re working on, as well as how Android treats them on different build flavors (eng, userdebug, and user). I have done a fair amount of work in the native daemons in Android, and this is how I do it. It may not apply directly to your app, but there may be some common ground. If my explanation sounds vague, it’s because some of this is more of an art than a science. My basic rule is to be as efficient as possible, ensure you can reasonably debug your component without killing the performance of the system, and always check for errors and log them.
V – Printouts of state at different intervals, or upon any events occurring which my component processes. Also possibly very detailed printouts of the payloads of messages/events that my component receives or sends.
D – Details of minor events that occur within my component, as well as payloads of messages/events that my component receives or sends.
I – The header of any messages/events that my component receives or sends, as well as any important pieces of the payload which are critical to my component’s operation.
W – Anything that happens that is unusual or suspicious, but not necessarily an error.
E – Errors, meaning things that aren’t supposed to happen when things are working as they should.
The biggest mistake I see people make is that they overuse things like V, D, and I, but never use W or E. If an error is, by definition, not supposed to happen, or should only happen very rarely, then it’s extremely cheap for you to log a message when it occurs. On the other hand, if every time somebody presses a key you do a Log.i(), you’re abusing the shared logging resource. Of course, use common sense and be careful with error logs for things outside of your control (like network errors), or those contained in tight loops.
Log.i("I am here");
Log.e("I shouldn't be here");
With all this in mind, the closer your code gets to “production ready”, the more you can restrict the base logging level for your code (you need V in alpha, D in beta, I in production, or possibly even W in production). You should run through some simple use cases and view the logs to ensure that you can still mostly understand what’s happening as you apply more restrictive filtering. If you run with the filter below, you should still be able to tell what your app is doing, but maybe not get all the details.
logcat -v threadtime MyApp:I *:S
The source code provides some basic guidance:
The order in terms of verbosity, from least to most is ERROR, WARN, INFO, DEBUG, VERBOSE. Verbose should never be compiled into an application except during development. Debug logs are compiled in but stripped at runtime. Error, warning and info logs are always kept.
For more detail, Kurtis’ answer is dead on. I would just add: Don’t log any personally identifiable or private information at
INFO or above (
ERROR). Otherwise, bug reports or anything else that includes logging may be polluted.
I think the point of those different types of logging is if you want your app to basically self filter its own logs. So Verbose could be to log absolutely everything of importance in your app, then the debug level would log a subset of the verbose logs, and then Info level will log a subset of the debug logs. When you get down to the Error logs, then you just want to log any sort of errors that may have occured. There is also a debug level called Fatal for when something really hits the fan in your app.
In general, you’re right, it’s basically arbitrary, and it’s up to you to define what is considered a debug log versus informational, versus and error, etc. etc.
You can use LOG such as :
Log.e(String, String) (error) Log.w(String, String) (warning) Log.i(String, String) (information) Log.d(String, String) (debug) Log.v(String, String) (verbose)
private static final String TAG = "MyActivity"; ... Log.i(TAG, "MyClass.getView() — get item number " + position);
Even though that this question was already answered I feel that there are missing examples in the answer that was answered.
Therefore I’ll bring here what I wrote in a blog post “Android Log Levels”
Is the lowest level of logging. If you want to go nuts with logging then you go with this level. I never understood when to use Verbose and when to use Debug. The difference sounded to me very arbitrary. I finally understood it once I was pointed to the source code of Android¹ “Verbose should never be compiled into an application except during development.” Now it is clear to me, whenever you are developing and want to add deletable logs that help you during the development it is useful to have the verbose level this will help you delete all these logs before you go into production.
Is for debugging purposes. This is the lowest level that should be in production. Information that is here is to help during development. Most times you’ll disable this log in production so that less information will be sent and only enable this log if you have a problem. I like to log in debug all the information that the app sends/receives from the server (take care not to log passwords!!!). This is very helpful to understand if the bug lies in the server or the app. I also make logs of entering and exiting of important functions.
For informational messages that highlight the progress of the application. For example, when initialising of the app is finished. Add info when the user moves between activities and fragments. Log each API call but just little information like the URL , status and the response time.
When there is a potentially harmful situation.
This log is in my experience a tricky level. When do you have a potential harmful situation? In general or that it is OK or that it is an error. I personally don’t use this level much. Examples of when I use it are usually when stuff happens several times. For example, a user has a wrong password more than 3 times. This could be because he entered the password wrongly 3 times, it could also be because there is a problem with a character that isn’t being accepted in our system. Same goes with network connection problems.
Error events. The application can still continue to run after the error. This can be for example when I get a null pointer where I’m not supposed to get one. There was an error parsing the response of the server. Got an error from the server.
WTF (What a Terrible Failure)
Fatal is for severe error events that will lead the application to exit. In Android the fatal is in reality the Error level, the difference is that it also adds the fullstack.
The Android Studio website has recently (I think) provided some advice what kind of messages to expect from different log levels that may be useful along with Kurtis’ answer:
- Verbose – Show all log messages (the default).
- Debug – Show debug log messages that are useful during development only, as well as the message levels lower in this list.
- Info – Show expected log messages for regular usage, as well as the message levels lower in this list.
- Warn – Show possible issues that are not yet errors, as well as the message levels lower in this list.
- Error – Show issues that have caused errors, as well as the message level lower in this list.
- Assert – Show issues that the developer expects should never happen.