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A simple log collator

Project description


A simple log collator. That is, given one or more log file paths, collate them together such that they are in chronological order.


In complicated projects, it is common to have an assortment of logs being generated simultaneously. In a perfect world, these would all have the same log format, and thus could be easily collated/reconciled by appending them all and then sorting them.

However, the world is not perfect, and you may be dealing with a variety of log formats, perhaps (and most importantly) even differences in timestamp format. collatelogs handles the consumption of logs based on the given regular expressions, then collates them and outputs them in a common format (also configurable).


$ pip install collatelogs


This script probably won't work out of the box, unless your log files happen to have a prefix structure that matches one of the regular expressions in the example configuration. So, you'll probably see something like this:

$ collatelogs PATH_WITH_LOGS/*.log
ValueError: Line 'some line from the logs' did not match against any of the given regexes!

So, the first thing you will need to do is define information on the expected log prefixes.

The config file

For ease of use, it is recommended that you create a config file to avoid having to pass a bunch of arguments every time you run the script. An example is included in the repo, at collatelogs/example_config.yaml. This will also be installed alongside the package.

The recommended place for a permanent config file is ~/.cl_config.yaml. Other paths searched are listed in the help.

It is probably easiest to $ cp example_config.yaml ~/.cl_config.yaml before beginning to make your changes.

timestamp_output_format (optional)

The format of the timestamp output. This will have no affect unless --parse-timestamps is passed as an argument at runtime, or parse_timestamps is set to True in the config file.

line_output_format (required)

A PEP-3101 compliant format string that defines the output format for each line. The keywords here must be a subset of the regex capturing groups plus any keywords contributed by the meta handlers (see below). Put another way: if you try to include keywords here that aren't being captured in each regular expression, you are going to get an error.

log_parsing_info (required)

then begin replacing the example entries in log_parsing_info with your own entries (leaving the examples will only slow down execution if they are never going to match anything).

Each dict in the log_parsing_info list has four possible parts:

  • regex (required): The regular expression used to parse log lines
  • timestamp_input_format (optional): The format of the timestamp for lines captured by regex. If this is not given, dateutil.parse will be used to generically consume the timestamp, but this will be ~5x slower!
  • timestamp_input_timezone (optional): The timezone that the log timestamps were output in. If this is not given, it defaults to the local timezone of your computer
  • timestamp_output_timezone (optional): The timezone that the output log timestamps will be in. If this is not given, it defaults to the local timezone of your computer

Note that this must utilize capturing groups such that every keyword in the line_output_format format string is represented.

Creating Regex Prefixes and Output Format Strings

This isn't too hard, provided you have experience with regular expressions.

  1. Examine the log and identify the prefix
  2. Break it down into useful parts (timestamp, message, etc. -- see config.yaml for examples)
  3. Formulate a regular expression that captures these parts into aptly-named groups
  4. Formulate a format string that outputs these groups into a sensible format

Let's see an example. Let's say our log lines are of this format:

2018-04-20 11:30:01 circus[1624] [INFO] circusd-stats stopped

Even without examining the logger that created this, it can be broken down into four parts:

    'timestamp': '2018-04-20 11:30:01'
    'module': 'circus[1624]', # Not technically a module, but close enough
    'level': 'INFO'
    'message': 'circusd-stats stopped'

The above is what the regex should output via its groupdict. So, what regular expression will accomplish this? Well, this is actually pulled from config.yaml:

(?P<timestamp>\d{4}-\d{2}-\d{2} \d{2}:\d{2}:\d{2}) (?P<module>\S+) (?P<level>\S+) (?P<message>.*)

Because this prefix format is delimited by spaces (and I'm not exactly a regex expert), the regex is pretty verbose. I find that a tool such as regex 101 helps a lot:

Now that the regex has been constructed, add it to the config file as per the above section.


These handle metadata associated with each log file, making it available to line_output_format as keyword arguments.

There are currently two available handlers:

  • user: The owner of the log file
  • filename: The filename (base name) of the log file

You will see that these are both present in the example line_output_format

There's currently no clean way of adding your own, but you can easily hack them into by defining them, then mapping a name to them in all_meta_handlers.

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