Automation tools often provide their own Test Log facilities, which can be extended or supplemented with additional
logging provided both through custom user-routines and the use of additional tools.
The output may take one single or many different forms. Typically, Test Logs have a tabular or spreadsheet-like
appearance, with each entry comprising some form of date and time stamp, a description of the event logged, some
indication the observed status, and possibly some additional contextual information.
If you are using automated test tools, such as those found in the Rational Suite family of products, much of the above
functionality is provided by default with the tool. These Test Log facilities typically provide the ability for the
capture, filtering and sorting and the analysis of the information contained in the log. This allows the Test Log to be
expanded in detail or collapsed to a summary view as required. The tools also offer the ability to customize and retain
views of the Test Log for reporting purposes.
Where the logic that produces an automated Test Log simply appends new information to an existing log file, it will be
necessary to provide sufficient storage to retain the Test Log file. An alternative solution to this approach is to use
a ring buffer. A good explanation of using Ring Buffer Logging to help find Bugs is presented in a pattern catalog by Brian Marick. (Get
Adobe reader.) This catalog provides
an overview of other classic problems with using automated Test Logs.