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Version: v1.7.0

Logging in Web API applications

The Arcus.WebApi.Logging package provides a way to log several kinds of information during the receival and handling of HTTP requests.

💡 To send the logging information to Application Insights, see Arcus Observability.

Installation#

These features require to install our NuGet package

PM > Install-Package Arcus.WebApi.Logging

Logging unhandled exceptions#

The ExceptionHandlingMiddleware class can be added to the ASP.NET Core pipeline to log unhandled exceptions that are thrown during request processing. The unhandled exceptions are caught by this middleware component and are logged through the ILogger implementations that are configured inside the project.

⚡ The HTTP status code 500 is used as response code when an unhandled exception is caught. However, when the runtime throws a BadHttpRequestException we will reflect this by returning the corresponding status code determined by the runtime.

Usage#

To use this middleware, add the following line of code:

using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Builder;
WebApplicationBuilder builder = WebApplication.CreateBuilder();WebApplication app = builder.Build();
app.UseRouting();
app.UseExceptionHandling();
app.UseEndpoints(endpoints => endpoints.MapControllers());

If you have multiple middleware components configured, it is advised to put the ExceptionHandlingMiddleware as soon as possible. By doing so, unhandled exceptions that might occur in other middleware components will also be logged by the ExceptionHandlingMiddleware component.

Configuration#

When custom exception handling is required, you can inherit from the ExceptionHandlingMiddleware to create your own middleware component and register it with Arcus' extension.

This example implements the exception handling middleware to influence the log message and adds a custom determination of the HTTP response status code.

using Arcus.WebApi.Logging;using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Http;using Microsoft.Extensions.Logging;
public class MyExceptionHandlingMiddleware : ExceptionHandlingMiddleware{    public MyExceptionHandlingMiddleware(RequestDelegate next) : base(next)    {    }
    protected override void LogException(ILogger logger, Exception exception)    {        logger.LogCritical(exception, "Custom exception handling!");    }
    protected override void WriteFailureToResponse(Exception exception, HttpStatusCode defaultFailureStatusCode, HttpContext context)    {        if (exception is ValidationException)        {            context.Response.StatusCode = (int) HttpStatusCode.BadRequest;        }        else if (exception is TimeoutException)        {            context.Response.StatusCode = (int) HttpStatusCode.ServerTimeout;        }        else         {            context.Response.StatusCode = (int) defaultFailureStatusCode;        }    }}

Next, make sure that you pass along the exception middleware to the exception handling extension.

using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Builder;
WebApplicationBuilder builder = WebApplication.CreateBuilder();WebApplication app = builder.Build();
app.UseExceptionHandling<MyExceptionHandlingMiddleware>();

Logging incoming requests#

The RequestTrackingMiddleware class can be added to the ASP.NET Core pipeline to log all received HTTP requests. The incoming requests are logged by this middleware component using the ILogger implementations that are configured in the project.

⚠ The HTTP request body is not logged by default.

⚡ The HTTP request headers are logged by default, except certain security headers are by default omitted: Authentication, X-Api-Key and X-ARR-ClientCert. See configuration for more details.

Example#

HTTP Request POST http://localhost:5000/weatherforecast completed with 200 in 00:00:00.0191554 at 03/23/2020 10:12:55 +00:00 - (Context: [Content-Type, application/json], [Body, {"today":"cloudy"}])

Usage#

To use this middleware, add the following line of code in the Startup.Configure method:

using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Builder;
WebApplicationBuilder builder = WebApplication.CreateBuilder();WebApplication app = builder.Build();
app.UseRouting();
app.UseRequestTracking();app.UseExceptionHandling();
app.UseEndpoints(endpoints => endpoints.MapControllers());

Configuration#

The request tracking middleware has several configuration options to manipulate what the request logging emits should contain.

using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Builder;
WebApplicationBuilder builder = WebApplication.CreateBuilder();WebApplication app = builder.Build();
app.UseRouting();
app.UseRequestTracking(options =>{    // Whether or not the HTTP request body should be included in the request tracking logging emits.    // (default: `false`)    options.IncludeRequestBody = true;
    // Whether or not the configured HTTP request headers should be included in the request tracking logging emits.    // (default: `true`)    options.IncludeRequestHeaders = true;
    // All omitted HTTP request header names that should always be excluded from the request tracking logging emits.    // (default: `[ "Authentication", "X-Api-Key", "X-ARR-ClientCert" ]`)    options.OmittedRequestHeaderNames.Add("X-My-Secret-Header");
    // Size of the request body buffer (in bytes) which should be tracked. Request bodies greater than this buffer will only be partly present in the telemetry.    // (default: no limit)    options.RequestBodyBufferSize = 10 * 1024 * 1024; // 10MB
    // Whether or not the HTTP response body should be included in the request tracking logging emits.    // (default: `false`)    options.IncludeResponseBody = true;
    // Size of the response body buffer (in bytes) which should be tracked. Response bodies greater than this buffer will only be partly present in the telemetry.    // (default: no limit)    options.ResponseBodyBufferSize = 10 * 1024 * 1024; // 10MB
    // All response HTTP status codes that should be tracked. If not defined, all status codes are considered included and will all be tracked.    // (default: empty list, which means all will be tracked)    // Following example will change the default behavior so that only HTTP responses with the status code 500 `InternalServerError` will be tracked.    options.TrackedStatusCodes.Add(HttpStatusCode.InternalServerError);
    // All response HTTP status code ranges that should be tracked. If not defined, all status codes are considered included and will be tracked.    // (default: empty list, which means all will be tracked)    // Following example will change the default behavior so that only HTTP response status codes in the range of 500 to 599 (inconclusive) will be tracked.    options.TrackedStatusCodeRanges.Add(new StatusCodeRange(500, 599));
     // All omitted HTTP routes that should be excluded from the request tracking logging emits.    // (default: no routes).    options.OmittedRoutes.Add("/api/v1/health");});
app.UseEndpoints(endpoints => endpoints.MapControllers());

Excluding certain routes#

You can opt-out for request tracking on one or more endpoints (operation and/or controller level). This can come in handy if you have certain endpoints with rather large request bodies or want to boost performance or are constantly probed to monitor the application. This can easily be done by using the ExcludeRequestTrackingAttribute on the endpoint or controller of your choosing.

using Arcus.WebApi.Logging;
[ApiController][ExcludeRequestTracking]public class OrderController : ControllerBase{    [HttpPost]    public IActionResult BigPost()    {        Stream bigRequestBody = Request.Body;        return Ok();    }}

Excluding request/response bodies on specific routes#

When used as in the example above, then all routes of the controller will be excluded from the telemetry tracking. The exclude attribute allows you to specify on a more specific level what part of the request should be excluded.

using Arcus.WebApi.Logging;
[ApiController]public class OrderController : ControllerBase{    // Only exclude the request body from the request tracking.     // The request will still be tracked and will contain the request headers and the response body (if configured).    [HttpPost]    [RequestTracking(Exclude.RequestBody)]    public IActionResult BigRequestBodyPost()    {        Stream bigRequestBody = Request.Body;        return Ok();    }
    // Only exclude the response body from the request tracking.    // The request will still be tracked and will contain the request headers and the request body (if configured).    [HttPost]    [RequestTracking(Exclude.ResponseBody)]    public async Task<IActionResult> BigResponseBodyPost()    {        Stream responseBody = ...        responseBody.CopyToAsync(Response.Body);
        return Ok();    }}

Including HTTP status codes/status code ranges on specific routes#

With the RequestTracking attribute, you can include a fixed HTTP status code or a range of HTTP status codes on a specific route. This allows for a more finer grained control of the request tracking than to specify these status codes in the request tracking options.

using System.Net;using Arcus.WebApi.Logging;
[ApiController]public class OrderController : ControllerBase{    // Only when the response returns a 500 `InternalServerError` will the request tracking occur for this endpoint.    [HttpPost]    [RequestTracking(HttpStatusCode.InternalServerError)]    public IActionResult PostThatTracksInternalServerError()    {        return Ok();    }
    // Only when the response returns a HTTP status code in the range of 500 to 599 (inconclusive) wll the request tracking occur for this endpoint.    [HttpPost]    [RequestTracking(500, 599)]    public IActionResult PostThatTracksServerErrors()    {        return Ok();    }}

Customization#

Optionally, one can inherit from this middleware component and override several default functionality:

  • by default, all the request headers (except some known authentication headers) are tracked
  • by default, when tracking the request body, the entire body is tracked
  • by default, when tracking the response body, the entire body is tracked

Following example shows how specific headers can be redacted without omitting them:

using Arcus.WebApi.Logging;
public class EmptyButNotOmitRequestTrackingMiddleware : RequestTrackingMiddleware{    public EmptyButNotOmitRequestTrackingMiddleware(        RequestDelegate next,        ILogger<RequestTrackingMiddleware> logger)         : base(next, logger)        {        }
    protected override IDictionary<string, StringValues> SanitizeRequestHeaders(IDictionary<string, StringValues> requestHeaders)    {        requestHeaders["X-Api-Key"] = "<redacted>";        return requestHeaders;    }
    // Also available to be overridden:    // `SanitizeRequestBody`    // `SanitizeResponseBody`}

And, configure your custom middleware like this in the Startup.cs:

using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Builder;
WebApplicationBuilder builder = WebApplication.CreateBuilder();WebApplication app = builder.Build();
app.UseRouting();
app.UseRequestTracking<EmptyButNotOmitRequestTrackingMiddleware>(options => options.OmittedHeaderNames.Clear());
app.UseEndpoints(endpoints => endpoints.MapControllers());

So the resulting log message becomes:

HTTP Request POST http://localhost:5000/weatherforecast completed with 200 in 00:00:00.0191554 at 03/23/2020 10:12:55 +00:00 - (Context: [X-Api-Key,])

Reducing requests to specific HTTP status code(s)#

By default, all the responded HTTP status codes will be tracked but this can be altered according to your choosing.

Consider the following API controller. When we configure request tracking, both the 400 BadRequest response as the 201 Created response will be tracked.

[ApiController]public class OrderController : ControllerBase{    [HttpPost]    public IActionResult Create([FromBody] Order order)    {        if (order.Id is null)        {            // Request tracking will happen on this response.            return BadRequest("Order ID should be filled out");        }
        // Request tracking will happened on this response.        return Created($"/orders/{order.Id}", order);    }}

Let's change the request tracking to only track successful '201 Created' responses. This can be changed via the options:

using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Builder;
WebApplicationBuilder builder = WebApplication.CreateBuilder();WebApplication app = builder.Build();
app.UseRouting();
app.UseRequestTracking(options => options.TrackedStatusCodes.Add(HttpStatusCode.Created));
app.UseEndpoints(endpoints => endpoints.MapControllers());

This means that every endpoint will only track 201 Created responses. Changing this in the options is usually for when you want to streamline your entire application to only track a certain set of status codes. More fine grained control can be achieved via placing an attribute on either the controller's class definition or the endpoint method:

using Arcus.WebApi.Logging;
[ApiController]public class OrderController : ControllerBase{    [HttpPost]    [RequestTracking(HttpStatusCode.Created)]    public IActionResult Create([FromBody] Order order)    {        if (order.Id is null)        {            // No request tracking will appear in the logs.            return BadRequest("Order ID should be filled out");        }
        // Request tracking will only happen on this response.        return Created($"/orders/{order.Id}", order);    }}

Note that this RequestTracking attribute can be added multiple times and works together with the configured options. The end result will be the accumulated result of all the applied attributes, both on the method and on the controller, and the configured options.

Tracking application version#

The Arcus.WebApi.Logging library allows you to add application version tracking to your ASP.NET application which will include your application version to a configurable response header.

This functionality uses the IAppVersion, available in the Arcus.Observability library, for retrieving the current application version. Such an instance must be registered in order for the version tracking to work correctly.

Warning: Only use the version tracking for non-public endpoints otherwise the version information is leaked and it can be used for unintended malicious purposes.

Adding the version tracking can be done by the following:

using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Builder;
WebApplicationBuilder builder = WebApplication.CreateBuilder();
builder.Services.AddSingleton<IAppVersion, MyAppVersion>();
WebApplication app = builder.Build();
// Uses the previously registered `IAppVersion` service to include the application to the default `X-Version` response header.app.UseVersionTracking();
// Uses the previously registered `IAppVersion` service to include the application to the custom `X-My-Version` response header.app.UseVersionTracking(options => options.Header = "X-My-Version");