Using Multitail with Docker Compose to group interspersed logsOctober 05, 2017
Docker combined with Docker Compose has proved itself to be valuable tooling for heavy lifting a lot of container creation and management boilerplate. The unified logging available via
docker-compose logs -f, is nice as one can see all the logs from various services. One can also filter and view logs only relevant to a particular service with additional parameters
docker-compose logs -f <service-name>.
However, it would be superb to be able to tail all the logs for various services, but grouped together in their own window/pane/splits etc. This is where
multitail comes in.
multitail is a generic tool for viewing multiple logs at once, and is not necessarily tied to docker ecosystem, but it makes a great combo with services run via docker-compose. It is terminal friendly and uses ncurses interface, which allows for nifty interactive things right in the terminal.
Needless to mention, sharing it here so that I can look it up later.
The end goal is to be able to tail logs from various docker-compose services, all of them grouped in their own panes. A screenshot should make things more clear.
- Docker and Docker-compose with relevant Dockerfile/Compose files.
- Optionally, Make for the example here.
I’ll be using a
docker-compose.yml to demo this. The core idea is to run
multitail and ask it to tail logs for each of the services (in
docker-compose.yml that we will be running.
version: '3' services: db: image: library/postgres:9.5.2 cache: image: library/redis:4.0 search: image: library/elasticsearch:5.5.2
and, here’s the
Makefile. Note the
.DEFAULT_GOAL:=start DOCKER_COMPOSE:=docker-compose -f docker-compose.yml .PHONY: start stop multitail start: $(DOCKER_COMPOSE) up -d stop: $(DOCKER_COMPOSE) down multitail: multitail -o beep_method:popup \ -cT ansi -l '$(DOCKER_COMPOSE) logs -f db' \ -cT ansi -l '$(DOCKER_COMPOSE) logs -f cache' \ -cT ansi -l '$(DOCKER_COMPOSE) logs -f search' logs: $(if $(SERVICE_NAME), $(info -- Tailing logs for $(SERVICE_NAME)), $(info -- Tailing all logs, SERVICE_NAME not set.)) $(DOCKER_COMPOSE) logs -f $(SERVICE_NAME)
multitail to use a popup when beeping (instead of flash+beep) which can be annoying. Further, we also enable ansi terminalmode, so that ANSI terminal sequences (color etc.) are interpreted properly.
While the above should get you a long way, I prefer to have more configuration for
multitail. We can ask multitail to not wrap long lines (
-p l), and to truncate a few characters at the beginning (
-p o 10). Here’s the modified
multitail: multitail -o beep_method:popup \ -p o 10 -p l -cT ansi -l '$(DOCKER_COMPOSE) logs -f db' \ -p o 10 -p l -cT ansi -l '$(DOCKER_COMPOSE) logs -f cache' \ -p o 10 -p l -cT ansi -l '$(DOCKER_COMPOSE) logs -f search'
multitail has an in-built interactive help that you should be able to learn a lot from.
h is your friend. I won’t mention all the shorcuts here, but here’s a list of quick one that I use fairly often.
hfor interactive help
qto get back one step / quit
Uto get back to default view
uto exclusively view a log
zto hide a log
bto scrollback a log
Bto scrollback the interspered log
Thanks to a colleague of mine, who demo-ed
multitail, I have started using it on all my projects. Many thanks to the author of
multitail, without which this simple would not have been possible.
Do check out the manual for
multitail to find out all the cool stuff you can do with it. And, let me know in the comments if there’s further tricks that I’ve been missing out on.
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