Logging in Go with slog

Author

Gurleen Sethi on 05 February 2023

Logging in Go with slog

What is slog? #

slog is an experimental logging package from the Go team that provides the functionality of structured logging.

Note: At the time for writing this article, the package is still being developed separately from the Go core.

This article gives you an overview of logging functionality in this package.

Installation #

Create a new go project or use an existing and install slog.

go get golang.org/x/exp/slog

Using the logger #

Import and start using the logger right away.

package main

import (
	"golang.org/x/exp/slog"
)

func main() {
	slog.Info("Go is best language!")
}
main.go

Output:

$ go run main.go
2022/12/15 01:31:23 INFO Go is best language!

By default the output includes time, log level and message.

The following log leves are available.

Debug
Info
Warn
Error

Structured logging #

slog is a structured logger that supports logging in two formats: text and json.

Let's take a look at text logger.

Text Handler #

You start off by creating a text handler and a new logger.

package main

import (
	"os"

	"golang.org/x/exp/slog"
)

func main() {
	textHandler := slog.NewTextHandler(os.Stdout)
	logger := slog.New(textHandler)

	logger.Info("Go is the best language!")
}
main.go

Output:

$ go run main.go
time=2022-12-15T01:41:25.277-05:00 level=INFO msg="Go is the best language!"

Pay close attention, you will see the output is formatted as key=value pairs. This is also commonly referred to as logfmt format.

Many modern systems can process logs in logfmt format. For example, DataDog, Splunk, Grafana Loki. Logfmt is human readable and fairly easy to parse.

JSON Handler #

You can also output the logs in JSON format, all you have to do is switch out the handler.

package main

import (
	"os"

	"golang.org/x/exp/slog"
)

func main() {
	jsonHandler := slog.NewJSONHandler(os.Stdout)  // πŸ‘ˆ
	logger := slog.New(jsonHandler)

	logger.Info("Go is the best language!")
}
main.go

Output:

$ go run main.go
{"time":"2022-12-17T18:05:48.479126-05:00","level":"INFO","msg":"Go is the best language!"}

Each log is logged as a json object with properties inside of it.

Attributes #

slog being a structured logger, provides the ability to specify attributes.

package main

import (
	"os"

	"golang.org/x/exp/slog"
)

func main() {
	textHandler := slog.NewTextHandler(os.Stdout)
	logger := slog.New(textHandler)

	logger.Info("Usage Statistics", slog.Int("current-memory", 50))
}
main.go

Output:

$ go run main.go
time=2022-12-17T18:28:38.246-05:00 level=INFO msg="Usage Statistics" current-memory=50

In the above example, an integer attributes has been added using slog.Int.

Various types of attributes are available:

String
Int64
Int
Uint64
Float64
Bool
Time
Duration

You can add as many attributes as required.

package main

import (
	"os"

	"golang.org/x/exp/slog"
)

func main() {
	textHandler := slog.NewTextHandler(os.Stdout)
	logger := slog.New(textHandler)

	logger.Info("Usage Statistics",
		slog.Int("current-memory", 50),
		slog.Int("min-memory", 20),
		slog.Int("max-memory", 80),
		slog.Int("cpu", 10),
		slog.String("app-version", "v0.0.1-beta"),
	)
}
main.go

Output:

$ go run main.go
time=2022-12-17T18:34:12.781-05:00 level=INFO msg="Usage Statistics" current-memory=50 min-memory=20 max-memory=80 cpu=10 app-version=v0.0.1-beta

Grouping Attributes #

You can group attributes under a single key. For example, all the memory attributes can be grouped under the memory key.

package main

import (
	"os"

	"golang.org/x/exp/slog"
)

func main() {
	textHandler := slog.NewTextHandler(os.Stdout)
	logger := slog.New(textHandler)

	logger.Info("Usage Statistics",
		slog.Group("memory",
			slog.Int("current", 50),
			slog.Int("min", 20),
			slog.Int("max", 80)),
		slog.Int("cpu", 10),
		slog.String("app-version", "v0.0.1-beta"),
	)
}
main.go

Output:

$ go run main.go
time=2022-12-17T18:36:46.660-05:00 level=INFO msg="Usage Statistics" memory.current=50 memory.min=20 memory.max=80 cpu=10 app-version=v0.0.1-beta

Using a JsonHandler the output in json would be as follow.

$ go run main.go | jq
{
  "time": "2022-12-17T18:38:04.74786-05:00",
  "level": "INFO",
  "msg": "Usage Statistics",
  "memory": {
    "current": 50,
    "min": 20,
    "max": 80
  },
  "cpu": 10,
  "app-version": "v0.0.1-beta"
}

Common Attributes #

Let's say you want to have an attribute that should be included in all the logs being generated, examples of such an attribute would include name of the service, application version.

You can attach attributes to the handler that will be included in each log statement.

package main

import (
	"context"
	"os"

	"golang.org/x/exp/slog"
)

func main() {
	textHandler := slog.NewTextHandler(os.Stdout).
		WithAttrs([]slog.Attr{slog.String("app-version", "v0.0.1-beta")}) // πŸ‘ˆ add attributes to all logs
	logger := slog.New(textHandler)

	logger.Info("Generating statistics")
	logger.Info("Usage Statistics",
		slog.Group("memory",
			slog.Int("current", 50),
			slog.Int("min", 20),
			slog.Int("max", 80)),
		slog.Int("cpu", 10),
	)
}
main.go

Output:

$ go run main.go
time=2022-12-17T20:21:27.664-05:00 level=INFO msg="Generating statistics" app-version=v0.0.1-beta
time=2022-12-17T20:21:27.664-05:00 level=INFO msg="Usage Statistics" app-version=v0.0.1-beta memory.current=50 memory.min=20 memory.max=80 cpu=10

You can see the app-version attribute being included in both the logs. Attributes specified using WithAttrs function on the handler will be included in all the logs.

Passing logger in context #

You would ideally want to create a single logger with certain configurations, attributes and use it throughout the application.

slog has inbuilt functions that let you pass around the logger inside a context.

package main

import (
	"context"
	"os"

	"golang.org/x/exp/slog"
)

func main() {
	textHandler := slog.NewTextHandler(os.Stdout).
		WithAttrs([]slog.Attr{slog.String("app-version", "v0.0.1-beta")})
	logger := slog.New(textHandler)

	ctx := slog.NewContext(context.Background(), logger) // πŸ‘ˆ context containing logger
	sendUsageStatus(ctx)
}

func sendUsageStatus(ctx context.Context) {
	logger := slog.FromContext(ctx) // πŸ‘ˆ grab logger from context

	logger.Info("Generating statistics")

	logger.Info("Usage Statistics",
		slog.Group("memory",
			slog.Int("current", 50),
			slog.Int("min", 20),
			slog.Int("max", 80)),
		slog.Int("cpu", 10),
	)
}
main.go

Output:

$ go run main.go
time=2022-12-17T20:27:58.797-05:00 level=INFO msg="Generating statistics" app-version=v0.0.1-beta
time=2022-12-17T20:27:58.797-05:00 level=INFO msg="Usage Statistics" app-version=v0.0.1-beta memory.current=50 memory.min=20 memory.max=80 cpu=10

NewContext creates a new context containing the logger.

FromContext grabs the logger from a context. In case the context doesn't contain a logger, it returns the default logger.

Log Level Logging #

If you are using the default logger, it doesn't log debug logs because the default log level is Info.

You can create a new logger with the default log level set to Debug to show debug logs.

package main

import (
	"os"

	"golang.org/x/exp/slog"
)

func main() {
	opts := slog.HandlerOptions{
		Level: slog.LevelDebug,
	}

	textHandler := opts.NewTextHandler(os.Stdout)
	logger := slog.New(textHandler)

	logger.Debug("Debug")
	logger.Info("Info")
	logger.Warn("Warn")
}
main.go

Output:

$ go run main.go
time=2022-12-17T23:28:29.130-05:00 level=DEBUG msg=Debug
time=2022-12-17T23:28:29.130-05:00 level=INFO msg=Info
time=2022-12-17T23:28:29.130-05:00 level=WARN msg=Warn

It is amazing to see these types of packages that could potentially make there way to golang core, makes the language so much more powerful and appealing.

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