Horde/Log Rewrite goes PSR-3

I have rewritten Horde/Log based on the PSR-3 Logging standard published by PHP-FIG.

Why?

It had to been done at some point. The current wave of Corona pandemic has cancelled some joyful other activities planned for this weekend and I had been looking into PSR-3 loggers for quite some time. Most importantly, I wanted to do something else which needed a separeate logging facility and I was not ready to invest time into the various pitfalls of the old logger design. Just look at the Logger Factory – it is much too complex. Currently, there is no good balance between having too few logs in general or being flooded with mostly useless details of all the different aspects of horde. Filtering is essential, but the data cannot easily be divided into the contexts that are relevant to different problems and tasks.

Goals

My main goal was simple: Consuming code should be able to give the Logger more context about the messages it sends. This can be helpful to sort out what is interesting and what is just distracting noise. For example, a logger-aware library or application may send markers along with the actual message. All messages go to the same logger, but different log handlers may be set up to only care about certain aspects. Want to write all caldav sync errors for a specific user to a separate file? Want to keep a separate log of failed login attempts? Want to forward your time tracking application’s “project closed” log events to an external json-consuming system? Even though the old logger had all the necessary parts, it made these tasks too difficult.

As a product, the new logger is not very interesting outside the Horde context. While it can be used for logging in PSR-3 aware libraries, it still has too many dependencies on other parts of the Horde ecosystem. To reduce this, I may factor out the Constraints log filter into a separate library. The opposite case is more interesting: If PSR-3 replaces tight coupling to a custom logger, projects may use their existing logger. They have one less alien dependency to deal with. This might make some libraries more attractive, like Horde/Activesync or Horde/Imap.

From a code quality perspective, I also wanted to make the code more transparent to readers and tools. The old implementation relied on a __call magic method without really needing it, multiple parts relied on tersely documented array structures. The new implementation passes PHPStan Level 8. Coverage with parameter and return type hints is very high, with native property and return types following where possible. The current implementation is based on version 1.1.4 of the standard. When moving to a PHP 8 minimum requirement, this can be upgraded to the more strictly typed version 3.0 standard.

However, I am still missing unit tests against the new code. As it is substantially different from the H5 implementation, I could not easily adapt the existing test cases. This will require more work.

Also, integration of the new Logger into the core system is a separate task. Old and new logger infrastructure will have to coexist for some time. There is simply too much code that needs to be touched.

Architecture

The logger is architected as a modular system. The consuming code only has to deal with the Horde\Log\Logger. It implements the Psr\Log\LoggerInterface. The logger can support custom log levels not covered by RFC 5424. Log Levels are implemented as objects with a string name and a criticality number value.

The PSR-3 standard mandates log messages may be strings or any object that can be turned into a string. Internally, we convert them into LogMessage objects containing the string message, a reference to the LogLevel object and a hash of context attributes.

LogFilters are gatekeepers which look into a LogMessage and decide if it may be logged. They can be used as global LogFilters to suppress a log message altogether or as local filters which only affect a certain log handler. The Logger may include many different LogHandlers. These implement the actual processing of logs, writing them to a file, to a local syslog program or sending them over the network. Log messages may further be formatted for different needs. One handler may want to send XML documents to another server, another handler may store plaintext in a structured file. PSR-3 proposes a templating format where the logger can fill placeholders in the message with data from the context array. In Horde/Log, this job is done by a series of LogFormatters. Depending on configuration, a LogHandler can have zero, one or many such LogFormatters. Not all combinations make sense.

PHP 8 readiness

The new code is ready to run on PHP 7.4 and PHP 8. However, the horde/constraint and horde/thrift dependencies have not yet been upgraded for PHP 8, limiting usefulness. This will be done as time permits, with many other topics having higher priority.

References

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