Logging with twisted.python.log

Basic usage

Twisted provides a simple and flexible logging system in the twisted.python.log module. It has three commonly used functions:


Logs a new message. For example:

from twisted.python import log
log.msg('Hello, world.')


Writes a failure to the log, including traceback information (if any). You can pass it a Failure or Exception instance, or nothing. If you pass something else, it will be converted to a string with repr and logged.

If you pass nothing, it will construct a Failure from the currently active exception, which makes it convenient to use in an except clause:

    x = 1 / 0
    log.err()   # will log the ZeroDivisionError


Starts logging to a given file-like object. For example:

log.startLogging(open('/var/log/foo.log', 'w'))




from twisted.python.logfile import DailyLogFile


By default, startLogging will also redirect anything written to sys.stdout and sys.stderr to the log. You can disable this by passing setStdout=False to startLogging .

Before startLogging is called, log messages will be discarded and errors will be written to stderr.

Logging and twistd

If you are using twistd to run your daemon, it will take care of calling startLogging for you, and will also rotate log files. See twistd and tac and the twistd man page for details of using twistd.

Log files

The twisted.python.logfile module provides some standard classes suitable for use with startLogging , such as DailyLogFile , which will rotate the log to a new file once per day.

Using the standard library logging module

If your application uses the Python standard library logging module or you want to use its easy configuration but don’t want to lose twisted-produced messages, the observer PythonLoggingObserver should be useful to you.

You just start it like any other observer:

observer = log.PythonLoggingObserver()

Then configure the standard library logging module to behave as you want.

This method allows you to customize the log level received by the standard library logging module using the logLevel keyword:

log.msg("This is important!", logLevel=logging.CRITICAL)
log.msg("Don't mind", logLevel=logging.DEBUG)

Unless logLevel is provided, logging.INFO is used for log.msg and logging.ERROR is used for log.err .

One special care should be made when you use special configuration of the standard library logging module: some handlers (e.g. SMTP, HTTP) use the network and so can block inside the reactor loop. Nothing in PythonLoggingObserver is done to prevent that.

Writing log observers

Log observers are the basis of the Twisted logging system. Whenever log.msg (or log.err ) is called, an event is emitted. The event is passed to each observer which has been registered. There can be any number of observers, and each can treat the event in any way desired. An example of a log observer in Twisted is the emit method of FileLogObserver . FileLogObserver , used by startLogging , writes events to a log file. A log observer is just a callable that accepts a dictionary as its only argument. You can then register it to receive all log events (in addition to any other observers):


The dictionary will have at least two items:


The message (a list, usually of strings) for this log event, as passed to log.msg or the message in the failure passed to log.err .


This is a boolean that will be true if this event came from a call to log.err . If this is set, there may be a failure item in the dictionary as will, with a Failure object in it.

Other items the built in logging functionality may add include:


This message was captured from sys.stdout , i.e. this message came from a print statement. If isError is also true, it came from sys.stderr .

You can pass additional items to the event dictionary by passing keyword arguments to log.msg and log.err . The standard log observers will ignore dictionary items they don’t use.

Important notes:

  • Never block in a log observer, as it may run in main Twisted thread. This means you can’t use socket or syslog standard library logging backends.
  • The observer needs to be thread safe if you anticipate using threads in your program.

Customizing twistd logging

The behavior of the logging that twistd does can be customized either with the --logger option or by setting the ILogObserver component on the application object. See the Application document for more information.