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What is PLog?

PLog allows you to easily organize and file log targets within the PHP5 (PHP Hypertext Preprocessor) scripting of your website. If you are attempting to run PLog, note that support will be unavailable, and its code may be incompatible with newer PSR-3 compatible loggers. Learn more about PLog and alternatives below.

Server-side scripting languages such as PHP have many advantages, the most significant of which being that each user’s request is handled and completed by the script before becoming available to the user. This gives you the ability to control the amount of data your clients are able to access, and also lets your script tailor the final result of each request based on the users’ specifications and privileges.

Things get complicated, however, when you consider the vast number of log targets the script has to work with in order to produce satisfactory results. Text files and databases are only the tip of the iceberg—there are also syslog servers and networks to contend with. This is where PLog comes in.

PLog isn’t a specific kind of hosting package; it is, in the simplest terms, a logging library for PHP5 scripts. It allows you to easily manage and classify all of your log targets. And, since it is also extensible, its capabilities can be adjusted to fit your needs perfectly.

As of April, 2015, PLog was unavailable for download, and development appears to have stopped. The program’s entry on SourceForge includes only a short description, and all downloadable files have been removed. If you are attempting to run PLog, note that support will be unavailable, and its code may be incompatible with newer PSR-3 compatible loggers. This is particularly important if you’re developing a large site, or if you’re managing code across multiple platforms.

System Requirements

PLog requires a hosting plan which gives you access to the server, and you’ll also need to use PHP5 as your server-side script. If you are unfamiliar with PHP5 or installing applications on your Web server, be sure to check with your hosting provider for details.

Alternatives

There are a number of PHP log managers available, depending on your particular needs.

When it comes to identifying and fixing log errors, Stackify allows you to manage and search logs across multiple apps and servers, setup error tracking, pull up all logging statements related to a specific error, and set up custom notification based on errors and log queries. You can also aggregate application errors and set alerts for new errors or high error rates, which can be received via email or text. You can track error rates by URL and create a variety of reports to assist in diagnosing and resolving errors. Unlike PLog, Stackify is a paid service.

Another free PHP logging library, Lugnar PHP Log, allows you to log events to multiple sources, such as database, file, email and console. You can create prebuilt or custom layouts for logging, and track errors, messages, and audit trails. Lugnar is highly configurable and extendable.

Apache log4php is another logging framework for PHP that provides configuration through XML, properties, or PHP files, and allows you to log events to console, files, email, databases, sockets, syslog or syslog. It includes built-in log message formats for html and xml, and also allows user-defined patterns.

If you’re looking for something that’s lightweight and simple to use, KLogger provides basic logging functionality, ideal for developers building a small web application or site who don’t require logging libraries. This simple logging class provides safe logging, smart file management, and priority hierarchies.

Particularly if you’re considering an older program, you should check to see whether or not it adheres to PSR-3 specifications, which were designed to create a universal interface for loggers. One such solution, Monolog, allows you to send logs to files, sockets, inboxes, databases and web services. And because the library implements the PSR-3 interface, your output can be used with other compatible loggers.

Other Analytic Tools

There are a number of analytic tools available for managing website performance and traffic, many of which focus on broader data than PHP loggers. While Google Analytics is the best known of these, there a number of options that might better suit your particular needs.

ChromeLogger is an extension for google chrome that allows you to install server-side libraries for a variety of languages, including Python, PHP, Ruby, Node.js, .Net, ColdFusion, Go, Java, and Perl. ChromeLogger is open protocol, so you can create your own custom library.

If you’re looking for a solution similar to Google Analytics, you might consider Webalizer. Webalizer aggregates various data items from the access and log files produced during a website visit. The data is then analyzed, grouped together by type of item, and made available as easily configurable reports. These would not be specific to PHP, but they will assist in analyzing server calls, traffic, errors, etc.

Your web host may also offer their own logging service. Be sure to check with them to see what’s available, as this may provide a simple, pre-configured solution.

Plog Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is PSR-3?

    PSR-3 is a set of specifications that are designed to provide a universal interface for loggers. This means, as long as the logger you’re using has implemented PSR-3, you should be able to manage that same code using another logger, rather than being tied to the original logger. This is particularly important if your setup uses multiple loggers.

  • Do I need a log manager?

    The simple answer is no, provided you don’t mind tracking down log targets manually through endless lines of code. If that sounds appealing, then a logging library probably isn’t for you. Or, if you’re creating a very simple application with limited output, you might not need a log.

  • Why should I use logging?

    If you’re trying to maintain even an average-size website or application, and you’re using PHP to send and receive a variety of data to and from your visitors, having a logging library in place makes it much easier to analyze usage, scout for trends, and troubleshoot any issues that may develop. There are a number of logging systems available, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding one that can be easily customized to your needs.

  • How do I choose the best log manager?

    That will depend on a number of variables, including your personal needs, the amount of money you have to devote to the project, the server you’re running, and what type of logs you need to generate. There are a number of free options available for budget-conscious developers, but if you have money to spend, the paid options will provide more robust data and better support. If it’s likely that multiple logs will exist across your site, consider only using loggers that adhere to PSR-3 specifications, as this will ensure compatibility and make your life much easier in the event that you migrate to a new logging service.

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