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Improve Applications with Execution Logs

Last Modified: March 3, 2017

Well-written applications use execution logs for both activity audit and monitoring. An execution log makes it easy for a developer or user to track and identify issues that occur throughout the application without excessive effort. Maintaining an execution log allows you to review all activity and make improvements to your application accordingly.

An application should record data from multiple execution points throughout an application—errors, exceptions, successful execution, and so on. An execution log can help you recreate a certain behavior and improve your application effectively. For example, you can use the log to do one or more of the following:
  • Modify the code to be able to handle a situation that caused an error
  • Modify the code based on the most common use case
  • Update the documentation for the application so that users interact with the application in a more predictable way
  • Validate successful execution
The execution log should include as much information as you need to understand the state of the product at the time the data was collected. You might include one or more of the following components in each entry of an execution log:
  • The current time and date
  • A pre-defined category for the activity
  • A running count of the specific type of activity
  • A description of the activity
  • The value of data that was generated during or prior to the activity
  • The location of the activity within the application
  • The type and severity of the problem, if there is one
You can use the String nodes to generate, combine, and write the text for each entry of an execution log to one or more text files. A log file should be human- and computer-readable, but you can format your file in a way that fits the needs of your application.

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