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Set up log4net in 2018

log4net is a logging library for .Net projects, it can be a bit tricky to set up, so here are my personal notes:

1. Install the package

Either from the NuGet Package Manager or with Install-Package log4net

2. Add a log4net.config

Create a new file in your project called log4net.config. Open its Properties window (F4) and set the 'Copy to Output Directory' to 'Copy always' or 'Copy if newer'.

Here is my example content for a console app. For a web app, lose the console appender and appender-ref nodes:

    <level value="ALL" />
    <appender-ref ref="console" />
    <appender-ref ref="file" />
  <appender name="console" type="log4net.Appender.ConsoleAppender">
    <layout type="log4net.Layout.PatternLayout">
      <conversionPattern value="%date %level %logger - %message%newline" />
  <appender name="file" type="log4net.Appender.RollingFileAppender">
    <staticLogFileName value="false" />
    <file value="logs\" />
    <datePattern value="yyyy-MM-dd'.log'" />
    <appendToFile value="true" />
    <rollingStyle value="Size" />
    <maxSizeRollBackups value="5" />
    <maximumFileSize value="10MB" />
    <layout type="log4net.Layout.PatternLayout">
      <conversionPattern value="%date [%thread] %level %logger - %message%newline" />

3. Tell the assembly where to find the log4net config

Open the Properties/AssemblyInfo.cs for your project and add the following somewhere (I like to put it in the middle just after the assembly GUID):

// Tell log4net where to find its config
[assembly: log4net.Config.XmlConfigurator(ConfigFile = "log4net.config")]

Contrary to some advice, you don't need a similar XmlConfigurator.Configure() line in your web project Global.asax, it works fine without.

4. Log some nets!

At the top of a class where you want to use log4net, add the following field definition:

private static readonly log4net.ILog log = log4net.LogManager.GetLogger(System.Reflection.MethodBase.GetCurrentMethod().DeclaringType);

Or slightly tidier:

using log4net; 
private static readonly ILog log = LogManager.GetLogger(System.Reflection.MethodBase.GetCurrentMethod().DeclaringType);

Then, anywhere you want to log something (in a method or property body), call log4net like this:

log.Info("Found my keys");
log.Warn("Skipped invalid file " + fileName);
log.Error("Galaxy collapsed", ex);

5. There is no five

You're done. Hope this helps you, future people :)