Tracing an application using AspectJ

Almost a year ago I developed a logging aspect so I could trace the program flow without writting to the log in each method call. Also it can be disabled a compile time, improving the performance. I think it’s worth remember it now:

/*
 * Copyright 2004 Carlos Sanchez.
 *
 * Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
 * you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
 * You may obtain a copy of the License at
 *
 *      http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0
 *
 * Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
 * distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
 * WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied.
 * See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
 * limitations under the License.
 */
package net.sf.oness.common.all.logging;

import org.aspectj.lang.*;

import org.apache.commons.logging.Log;
import org.apache.commons.logging.LogFactory;

/**
 * Aspect that logs method calling and exception throwing
 * using the apache commons logging package with the TRACE
 * facility.
 * Logs every method, avoiding recursion into the aspect and
 * into toString calls, which may lead to infinite recursion
 * and StackOverflowError exceptions
 *
 * @author Carlos Sanchez
 * @version $Revision: 1.4 $
 */
public aspect LoggingAspect {

    /**
     * The logging aspects should have the highest precedence.
     * This	way, the logging aspects before advice executes
     * before any of the other aspects before advice, and the
     * logging aspects after advice executes after the other
     * aspects after advice.
     * This makes the logging aspects dominate all other aspects
     */
    declare precedence : LoggingAspect, *;

    /**
     * Log every method avoiding recursion into the aspect and
     * into toString calls, which may lead to infinite recursion
     * and StackOverflowError exceptions
     */
    protected pointcut traceMethods() : (
        !cflow(execution(String *.toString()))
            && !cflow(within(LoggingAspect))
            && (execution(* *.* (..)))
            || execution(*.new (..)));

    /**
     * This advice logs method entries
     */
    before() : traceMethods() {
        Signature sig = thisJoinPointStaticPart.getSignature();
        Log log = getLog(sig);
        if (log.isTraceEnabled()) {
            log.trace(
                "Entering "
                    + fullName(sig)
                    + createParameterMessage(thisJoinPoint));
        }
    }

    /**
     * This advice logs method leavings
     */
    after() returning : traceMethods() {
        Signature sig = thisJoinPointStaticPart.getSignature();
        Log log = getLog(sig);
        if (log.isTraceEnabled()) {
            log.trace("Leaving " + fullName(sig));
        }
    }

    /**
     * This advice logs exception throwing
     */
    after() throwing(Throwable ex) : traceMethods() {
        Signature sig = thisJoinPointStaticPart.getSignature();
        Log log = getLog(sig);
        if (log.isTraceEnabled()) {
            log.trace("Thrown " + fullName(sig) + "\n\t" + ex);
        }
    }

    /**
     * Find log for current class
     */
    private Log getLog(Signature sig) {
        return LogFactory.getLog(sig.getDeclaringType());
    }

    /**
     * @return String with class name + method name
     */
    private String fullName(Signature sig) {
        return "["
            + sig.getDeclaringType().getName()
            + "."
            + sig.getName()
            + "]";
    }

    /**
     * @return String with current object + arguments
     */
    private String createParameterMessage(JoinPoint joinPoint) {
        StringBuffer paramBuffer = new StringBuffer();

        /*
         * Log the current object except if the method is a getter, setter or
         * constructor
         */
        if (joinPoint.getThis() != null) {
            String name = joinPoint.getStaticPart().getSignature().getName();

            if (!(name.startsWith("get"))
                && !(name.startsWith("set"))
                && !(name.equals("<init>"))) {

                paramBuffer.append("\n\t[This: ");
                paramBuffer.append(joinPoint.getThis());
                paramBuffer.append("]");
            }
        }

        Object[] arguments = joinPoint.getArgs();
        if (arguments.length > 0) {
            paramBuffer.append("\n\t[Args: (");
            for (int length = arguments.length, i = 0; i < length; ++i) {
                Object argument = arguments[i];
                paramBuffer.append(argument);
                if (i != length - 1) {
                    paramBuffer.append(",");
                }
            }
            paramBuffer.append(")]");
        }
        return paramBuffer.toString();
    }
}
  • very important to avoid infinite recursion!
  • avoid logging of getters, setters and constructors (it’d be better to disable it in the traceMethods pointcut)

This aspect will print a line to the log when you enter a method (with all the parameters), when you leave or when an exception is thrown. This is useful when you need to debug an application in an environment where you can’t use a debugger or it’s too complex to get it working.

Configuration can be done in commons-logging.properties file in the classpath to use Log4J for example:

org.apache.commons.logging.LogFactory=org.apache.commons.logging.impl.LogFactoryImpl
org.apache.commons.logging.Log=org.apache.commons.logging.impl.Log4JLogger

and log4j.properties:

# Global logging configuration
log4j.rootLogger=ERROR, stdout
log4j.logger.net.sf.oness=DEBUG, stdout

# Console output...
log4j.appender.stdout=org.apache.log4j.ConsoleAppender
log4j.appender.stdout.layout=org.apache.log4j.PatternLayout
log4j.appender.stdout.layout.ConversionPattern=%5p [%t] - %m%n

With this aspect debugging info can be added to classes not developed by you without needing the sources. Just use the AspectJ ability to weave jars and you’ll get it!

You can also check the Cactus LogAspect which does something similar.

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