Spring Boot - LoggingSystem abstraction and logging configuration properties

[Updated: Oct 4, 2017, Created: Oct 3, 2017]

To take control of the underlying logging framework initialization, Spring Boot uses an implementation of LoggingSystem. That also allows Spring Boot to provide us a set of logging configuration properties which can be specified in Environment (e.g. application.properties).

The implementations of LoggingSystem provided by Spring Boot are LogbackLoggingSystem (for logback), Log4J2LoggingSystem (for Log4J2) and JavaLoggingSystem (for Java Util Logging).

We can also set up a custom logging system by using the org.springframework.boot.logging.LoggingSystem system property. The value should be the fully-qualified class name of the LoggingSystem implementation. We also have the choice to disable Spring Boot specific logging configuration entirely by using "none" value for this property.

Spring Boot uses LoggingApplicationListener (an implementation of ApplicationListener) to bootstrap the LoggingSystem.

Logging Properties

Following are the logging properties which can be specified in application.properties.

  • logging.config This property specifies the location of the logging configuration file. For instance 'classpath:logging-config/logback.xml' (where logging-config is a folder on the classpath)
    This property overrides the default configuration file location (underlying logging framework specific e.g. logback.xml or log4j2.xml).
    If this property is not specified and the default configuration file is also not present then Spring initializes the logging system with its own default configuration (as specified here).
    This logic is implemented in LoggingApplicationListener#initializeSystem() (Spring Boot 1.5.7).
    For Logback, the Spring Boot specific default configuration is performed in DefaultLogbackConfiguration class.
    For Log4j2, it is loaded from spring-boot/src/main/resources/org/springframework/boot/logging/log4j2/ location; log4j2.xml for console output and log4j2-file.xml for file output.

  • logging.exception-conversion-word This property specifies a 'conversion word' pattern for logging exceptions. This conversion word maps to a converter which converts an exception in more readable form. The default is %wEx which maps to ExtendedWhitespaceThrowableProxyConverter. This is logback specific way of binding a log pattern to a converter.
    The default conversion word '%wEx' is specified in the pattern declared with constants CONSOLE_LOG_PATTERN and FILE_LOG_PATTERN in DefaultLogbackConfiguration class.
    The binding of the conversion can be found in the same class as:
    private void base(LogbackConfigurator config) {
        config.conversionRule("wEx", ExtendedWhitespaceThrowableProxyConverter.class);
    Log4j2 also configure similar converter (default %wEx) in the default log4j2.xml or log2j2-file.xml file (see above).

  • logging.file This property is used to set the location of a file to log to (in addition to the console). By default the logs are not saved in any file. The location can be absolute or relative (to where application is running).

  • logging.path Location of the log file. If the logging.file property is not specified "spring.log" will be written in the logging.path directory.

  • logging.level.xyz Specifies Log levels. The value can be one of TRACE, DEBUG, INFO, WARN, ERROR, FATAL, OFF. The root logger can be configured using logging.level.root. The wildcards are not supported for the property key.


    Note that, regardless of logging configuration loaded via 'logging.config' property or by the default file (logging framework specific e.g. logback.xml) or via LoggingSystem defaults , logging levels will always be applied as specified by this property.

  • logging.pattern.console This property specifies the pattern for console output. By default, DefaultLogbackConfiguration#CONSOLE_LOG_PATTERN value is used. This property can only be specified for Logback. Log4j2's default console pattern is in the log4j.xml (the default config file as mentioned in logging.config property above)

  • logging.pattern.file The pattern for file output. By default, DefaultLogbackConfiguration#FILE_LOG_PATTERN value is used. This property can only be specified for Logback. Log4j2's default file pattern is in the log4j-file.xml (the default config file as mentioned in logging.config property above)

  • logging.pattern.level Pattern for log Level part usually in "%np" format (for space padding) where n is an integer. If n is positive then spaces are padded to the left otherwise to the right. The default is %5p . This property can only be specified with logback system.

  • logging.register-shutdown-hook If true, Runtime.getRuntime().addShutdownHook() is used to register a shutdown handler for the logging system . The handler forwards call to the corresponding logger context to clean up, remove listeners and stop logging. The default value of this property is false.

See Also