Logging is good for frameworks too

One thing I just don’t understand is why more people, especially framework designers, omit or skip logging. Django appears to, which is incredibly annoying to me. It is a complex framework, which makes all kinds of assumptions and relies on convention to infer a lot of functionality. That’s great, but being able to “turn up” the log-level and see some discussion about what decisions it is making, based on what criteria it is using would be incredibly valuable to me. Not only to me, I wager, but to everyone who is learning the framework, or who is teasing out a difficult bug. Yet going in and adding framework-level logging is almost impossible, even on an open-source project, since your changes will not be accepted and will quickly become a merge nightmare. Don’t believe me about changes “not being accepted”? Here’s proof. (That’s not my bug, by the way, just proof). The developers closed the ticket saying they “fail to see what this gains Django”. Foolish and shortsighted. Logging is preferred by most senior programmers over line-by-line code stepping. It is both more efficient, and allows for post-mortem analysis of problems in a way that debuggers never will. Yet many act as if it is a nice-to-have, or worse an irrelevant distraction.

Shortsightedness is deadly

I once worked on a team with a programmer who refused to add any logging to a super-awesome-framework he’d written for Java. Evidently the framework was the solution to everything we needed. I challenged him in a team-meeting about his refusal, talking about the numerous benefits of good logging throughout a system. He replied “I don’t write bugs, so I don’t need to waste time logging to find them”. I had him fired, and good riddance, within a week. Attitudes like that have no place on a software team. It was his foolish assertion that he didn’t write bugs that was the final nail, but his refusal to see the benefits of logging certainly didn’t help his case any. Logging is built-in to Python, and is a commonly available module for Java. It is high time to make this practice part of generally accepted programming standards for frameworks. Don’t want a log? Turn it off. But you should always be able to get one. Always.

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