Java, log4j, howto technologies

How to intercept and log stdout and stderr messages with log4j

Log4j doesn't allow to catch stdout and stderr messages out of the box. However, you can still intercept them with a custom output stream, which is especially useful when you have to log data that third-party libraries write to the standard streams.

This has already been done by Jim Moore (have a look at the LoggingOutputStream in the log4j source code). The issue is that this LoggingOutputStream requires org.apache.log4j.Category and org.apache.log4j.Priority which are now partially deprecated.

Here is a modified LoggingOutputStream that avoids deprecated methods:

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public class LoggingOutputStream extends OutputStream {

    /**
     * Default number of bytes in the buffer.
     */
    private static final int DEFAULT_BUFFER_LENGTH = 2048;

    /**
     * Indicates stream state.
     */
    private boolean hasBeenClosed = false;

    /**
     * Internal buffer where data is stored.
     */
    private byte[] buf;

    /**
     * The number of valid bytes in the buffer.
     */
    private int count;

    /**
     * Remembers the size of the buffer.
     */
    private int curBufLength;

    /**
     * The logger to write to.
     */
    private Logger log;

    /**
     * The log level.
     */
    private Level level;

    /**
     * Creates the Logging instance to flush to the given logger.
     *
     * @param log         the Logger to write to
     * @param level       the log level
     * @throws IllegalArgumentException in case if one of arguments is  null.
     */
    public LoggingOutputStream(final Logger log,
                               final Level level)
            throws IllegalArgumentException {
        if (log == null || level == null) {
            throw new IllegalArgumentException(
                    "Logger or log level must be not null");
        }
        this.log = log;
        this.level = level;
        curBufLength = DEFAULT_BUFFER_LENGTH;
        buf = new byte[curBufLength];
        count = 0;
    }

    /**
     * Writes the specified byte to this output stream.
     *
     * @param b the byte to write
     * @throws IOException if an I/O error occurs.
     */
    public void write(final int b) throws IOException {
        if (hasBeenClosed) {
            throw new IOException("The stream has been closed.");
        }
        // don't log nulls
        if (b == 0) {
            return;
        }
        // would this be writing past the buffer?
        if (count == curBufLength) {
            // grow the buffer
            final int newBufLength = curBufLength +
                    DEFAULT_BUFFER_LENGTH;
            final byte[] newBuf = new byte[newBufLength];
            System.arraycopy(buf, 0, newBuf, 0, curBufLength);
            buf = newBuf;
            curBufLength = newBufLength;
        }

        buf[count] = (byte) b;
        count++;
    }

    /**
     * Flushes this output stream and forces any buffered output
     * bytes to be written out.
     */
    public void flush() {
        if (count == 0) {
            return;
        }
        final byte[] bytes = new byte[count];
        System.arraycopy(buf, 0, bytes, 0, count);
        String str = new String(bytes);
        log.log(level, str);
        count = 0;
    }

    /**
     * Closes this output stream and releases any system resources
     * associated with this stream.
     */
    public void close() {
        flush();
        hasBeenClosed = true;
    }
}

Now you can intercept and log messages that are flushed to stderr or stdout:

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System.setErr(new PrintStream(new LoggingOutputStream(
        Logger.getLogger("outLog"), Level.ERROR)));

The log4j.properties configuration example:

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log4j.logger.outLog=error, out_log

log4j.appender.out_log=org.apache.log4j.RollingFileAppender
log4j.appender.out_log.file=/logs/error.log
log4j.appender.out_log.MaxFileSize=10MB
log4j.appender.out_log.threshold=error

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