Logging practices in software engineering : A systematic mapping study

Journal article


Gu, Shenghui, Rong, Guoping, Zhang, He and Shen, Haifeng. (2023). Logging practices in software engineering : A systematic mapping study. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering. 49(2), pp. 902-923. https://doi.org/10.1109/TSE.2022.3166924
AuthorsGu, Shenghui, Rong, Guoping, Zhang, He and Shen, Haifeng
Abstract

Background: Logging practices provide the ability to record valuable runtime information of software systems to support operations tasks such as service monitoring and troubleshooting. However, current logging practices face common challenges. On the one hand, although the importance of logging practices has been broadly recognized, most of them are still conducted in an arbitrary or ad-hoc manner, ending up with questionable or inadequate support to perform these tasks. On the other hand, considerable research effort has been carried out on logging practices, however, few of the proposed techniques or methods have been widely adopted in industry. Objective: This study aims to establish a comprehensive understanding of the research state of logging practices, with a focus on unveiling possible problems and gaps which further shed light on the potential future research directions. Method: We carried out a systematic mapping study on logging practices with 56 primary studies. Results: This study provides a holistic report of the existing research on logging practices by systematically synthesizing and analyzing the focus and inter-relationship of the existing research in terms of issues, research topics and solution approaches. Using 3W1H — Why to log , Where to log , What to log and How well is the logging —as the categorization standard, we find that: (1) the best known issues in logging practices have been repeatedly investigated; (2) the issues are often studied separately without considering their intricate relationships; (3) the Where and What questions have attracted the majority of research attention while little research effort has been made on the Why and How well questions; and (4) the relationships between issues, research topics, and approaches regarding logging practices appear many-to-many, which indicates a lack of profound understanding of the issues in practice and how they should be appropriately tackled. Conclusions: This study indicates a need to advance the state of research on logging practices. For example, more research effort should be invested on why to log to set the anchor of logging practices as well as on how well is the logging to close the loop. In addition, a holistic process perspective should be taken into account in both the research and the adoption related to logging practices.

Keywordslogging practices; log; systematic mapping; empirical study
Year2023
JournalIEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
Journal citation49 (2), pp. 902-923
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
ISSN0098-5589
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1109/TSE.2022.3166924
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85128270661
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
Page range902-923
FunderNational Key Research and Development Program of China
Research Council of Norway
National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)
Key Research and Development Program of Jiangsu Province
Intergovernmental Bilateral Innovation Project of Jiangsu Province
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online12 Apr 2022
Publication process dates
Accepted05 Apr 2022
Deposited08 Jun 2023
Grant ID2019YFE0105500
62072227
309494
BE2021002-2
BZ2020017
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