Receivers do something interesting with entries. What they do is entirely up to them and dependent on their code and configuration. They are the final destination for entries. Indeed, they provide the reason that you bother to create entries in the first place.

Normally, receivers are used to write Entries to a file or terminal but they can do anything you please:

Built-in Stackable Receivers

Currently, timber comes with few built-in receivers but they handle most of the normal use cases. Anything they don’t handle can be done with a custom receiver. The built-in receivers are stackable. This means that there some composable behaviors (detailed in the following sections) that timber providers which you can mix into the receivers when you create them.

ConsoleOutReceiver writes to Console.out which is usually stdout but can be redirected
ConsoleErrReceiver writes to Console.err which is usually stderr but can be redirected
WriterBasedStackableReceiver writes to a Writer that you provide a creation function for at construction

Concurrency Policies

By default, receivers in timber have no concurrency control. Any thread can call the receiver methods and all the calls are handled concurrently. If you want to impose some control, which is usually a good idea if you’re application is multithreaded, you should use one of the following traits.

NoThreadSafety provides no concurrency control (the default)
Locking provides concurrency control through locking (better for minimizing thread count)
Queueing provides concurrency control through worker queues (better for message throughput)

Buffering Policies

By default, receivers in timber never flush their resources. They rely on the underlying resources themselves to flush when necessary. This provides the best performance, as it minimizes I/O calls. However, sometimes, you’ll want to flush more frequently. For example, suppose that you have a process watching a log file for errors so that it can send an alert. You want the error to be flushed immediately. You don’t want to wait until enough errors have amassed that the file’s buffer is full. By then, it’s too late.

If you want to change the default buffering behavior, mix in one of the following policies.

LazyFlushing never flushes (the default, better for throughput, worse for latency)
ImmediateFlushing flushes every time an entry is written (better for latency, worse for throughput)
PeriodicFlushing flushed at least as often as its specified period (defaults to 5 seconds)

It’s important to realize that this is just flushing that’s initiated from the receiver. Flushing can occur in the underlying resource and it will have no effect on the receiver’s policy (for example, a flush in the underlying resource won’t reset the PeriodicFlushing timer).


import org.scalawag.timber.backend.receiver._
import org.scalawag.timber.backend.receiver.buffering._
import org.scalawag.timber.backend.receiver.concurrency._
import org.scalawag.timber.backend.receiver.formatter._

val ra = new WriterBasedStackableReceiver(new FileWriter("/tmp/a")) with PeriodicFlushing with Locking
val rb = new ConsoleOutReceiver(DefaultEntryFormatter) with ImmediateFlushing with Queueing
val rc = new ConsoleErrReceiver(DefaultEntryFormatter)

Using the Configuration DSL

The configuration DSL provides some convenient methods for creating file-based (and filehandle-based) receivers. Since you aren’t using constructors, you can’t mix in the policy traits. The DSL functions still allow you to take advantage of them as parameters, though.

import org.scalawag.timber.backend.dispatcher.configuration.dsl._
import org.scalawag.timber.backend.receiver.buffering._
import org.scalawag.timber.backend.receiver.concurrency._
import scala.concurrent.duration._

val ra = file("/tmp/a",PeriodicFlushing,Queueing)
val rb = file("/tmp/b",PeriodicFlushing(1.minute),Locking)
val rc = file("/tmp/c",ImmediateFlushing,NoThreadSafety)
val rd = file("/tmp/d",LazyFlushing,Queueing)

Custom Receivers

If you need a receiver that does something other than what the timber built-ins receivers do, you’ll need to create a custom receiver. You must implement the org.scalawag.timber.backend.receiver.Receiver trait. If you want to take advantage of timber’s policy stacking, you have two options. You can either extend org.scalawag.timber.backend.receiver.StackableReceiver and then your users (including you) can use the policy mixins at construction or you can implement Receiver directly and inform your users (including you) to use the StackableReceiver constructor to allow the mixins.

Ensuring Receiver Closure

Timber doesn’t automatically close receivers (or their underlying resources). This is because you can change the configuration at any point and it doesn’t make sense to close and reopen all of the resources unless they’re actually being decommissioned. You could also change the dispatcher configuration so that it’s no longer dispatching to a specific receiver but another dispatcher is still using that receiver. This is messy enough that timber washes its hands of managing the receivers automatically. This means that you need to close your own receivers when you’re done using them. This is especially important if you’re using a aggressive buffering behavior. Anything not flushed will be lost when the process shuts down.

To make life a little easier for you, timber does provide a way to give it some responsibility. Passing your receiver to Receiver.closeOnShutdown() means that timber will install a shutdown hook to close your receiver during a normal system shutdown. This isn’t foolproof. There are situations (mostly crashes) where the JVM will exit without calling the shutdown hooks and your entries could be lost. If this isn’t OK with you, you should do something else – maybe change the buffering policy on your receiver to ImmediateFlushing. The shutdown hook strategy should cover most normal cases, though.

Integration with logrotate

If you want to integrate with an external service like logrotate, you’ll need a way for that service to inform your receivers when they need to close and reopen their file handles. Otherwise, your receiver will keep its existing filehandle and continue writing to the old file even if it has been moved or deleted. One of the preferred ways to provide this notification is through UNIX signals.

Similar to the way timber provide close-on-shutdown, it also provides the ability to easily wire your receivers up to a signal handler so that your receivers can close and reopen when the signal is received. This example ties the receiver to the SIGHUP signal (a common choice).

import org.scalawag.timber.backend.dispatcher.configuration.dsl._
import org.scalawag.timber.backend.receiver._

val r = file("application.log")
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