For many applications (especially server based applications) its essential to provide some sort of logging for support and troubleshooting.
While logging to Windows Event logs is a good idea if you need to get an administrators attention its not really suitable for detailed logging, and if you have a problem you need to have already been collecting details … lots of them.
There has to be as many different logging schemes as there are programmers. A quick search gives you Microsoft’s Logging Application Block, Apache Log4Net, NLog and Google App Engine Logging – and that’s just for starters. You may even think it would be trivial to roll your own? (You would be wrong of course, developers always underestimate things like this).
But all of these options are lacking in one vital part – what do you do with your logs when you have them? Most require you to fire up your text editor and start jumping around a 10MB text file! Give me a break, my sanity is hanging by a thread as it is 😉
The logging library is very good – fast, feature rich, lots of transport options, easy to use and extremely well documented. But where it stands head and shoulders above everything else is the log viewer.
It’s blindingly fast, easy to use, clear and has all manner of time saving features – easy navigation, graphs, filters, colours and much more. Yes the software is a few hundred dollars but will more than pay for itself in time savings the very first time you use it in anger.
Take a look – no connection other than a satisfied customer.
P.S. If you are in the software business and want to know how your product can compete with FOSS alternatives then I think Gurock make an excellent case study.