SharePoint Internals – Hristo Pavlov’s Blog

19 June, 2008

SPTraceView – Lightweight Tool for Monitoring the SharePoint Diagnostic Logging in Real-Time

Filed under: SharePoint — Tags: , , — hristopavlov @ 11:56 pm

What it does

SPTraceView moniors in real time all SharePoint diagnostic tracing (also called ULS tracing) and can notify you using a balloon-style messages in the tray bar when any information of particular interest to you is sent (traced) by any of the MOSS services and components. For example if you haven’t disposed all SPSite/SPWeb objects properly from your web part, which also will cause unmanaged memory leak, you will see a message similar to the one below as soon as the page that contains your web part is rendered:

 

Because SPTraceView processes the tracing in real time you can identify errors and events as they happen. That is as soon as you interact with the SharePoint GUI when testing/debugging your custom SharePoint solutions including web parts, event receivers, workflows and all other SharePoint technology components.

SPTraceView is a very light weight software. It is a single 88kb executable file that doesn’t need to be installed and will work simply after you copy it to your machine. It can run in a farm and can provide the trace events from individual servers in the farm to a central location where you can monitor them in real time. It can also save the events of your particular interest in it’s own XML log files which you can review later. It can be also very useful to administrators for determining how healthy their SharePoint farm is.

 

Where to download it from

Use this direct link to download the 65 Kb zip file. No installation is required. It is a .NET application and will work on both 32 and 64 bit environments.

 

What information is traced

SharePoint provides diagnostics logging via ULS trace messages. Some (but not all) of the messages are saved by the SharePoint Tracing windows service in log files which reside by default under the 12 hive in the LOGS directory. Note that not everything is saved to those log files by default but everything is available to SPTraceView for real time analysis on the fly. Also most times it is unpractical to save everything as the log files will grow with gigabytes per day. To find out more about how to enable/disable the logging of various diagnostic categories check the SharePoint documentation or have a look for example at this post from the SharePoint Platform Team Blog:

http://www.sharepointplatform.com/teamblog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?List=427bfca2%2Db731%2D4c19%2D87c6%2D83c90460e02c&ID=48

Additionally Microsoft allows your custom applications to trace their own diagnostic information in the SharePoint log files. Your custom trace messages will also be available to SPTraceView. See this MSDN article about how to implement this sort of custom tracing.

 

More Information

More information about how to use SPTraceView and how it works is available on its own page.

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12 Comments »

  1. Cool tool – great idea. Looking forward to using it.

    Comment by Tony Bierman [MVP WSS] — 20 June, 2008 @ 3:34 am

  2. [...] SPTraceView – Lightweight Tool for Monitoring the SharePoint Diagnostic Logging in Real-Time [...]

    Pingback by Links (6/22/2008) « Steve Pietrek - Everything SharePoint — 23 June, 2008 @ 12:23 am

  3. [...] none of them was the case for us. Trying to get more info on the issue I run SPTraceView which saved the day. After getting the error message in SharePoint, SPTraceView immediately [...]

    Pingback by Operation aborted (Exception from HRESULT: 0×80004004 (E_ABORT)) « SharePoint Internals - Hristo Pavlov’s Blog — 2 July, 2008 @ 4:32 am

  4. Excellent idea! This enables admins/devs to monitor what is going on at the backend. I am looking forward to using this tool to help resolve several issues. I have already resolve one issue. Now I am focused to getting the variation issues resolvd which is failing when it comes to create hierarchies abruptly..
    Hristo, way to go man >>>
    Cheers

    Comment by Ashar — 4 July, 2008 @ 4:13 am

  5. Really cool tool! I used it to debug a weird error in AdvancedSearchBox, where i could see a ULS.SendTraceTag was send but it didnt show up in the log. SPTraceView however picked it up immediately!

    Two questions:
    Is it possible to detect from the tracetag method call if a log entry is written or not?
    How do you pick up the trace if its not send? Diagnostics class?

    thx for the tool!
    Anders

    Comment by AndersR — 2 September, 2008 @ 8:56 am

  6. Hi Anders,

    ULS log is based on the Event Tracing for Windows (ETW) technology. This is a message based unmanaged tracing system. The events are *always* sent and this is why SPTraceView can intercept and show them however the SharePoint trace service ignores many of the events and don’t save them. You can control from the SharePoint administration pages which trace entries go in the SharePoint log files but the log files would become huge if everything traced is saved the whole time.

    Hristo.

    Comment by hristopavlov — 2 September, 2008 @ 9:20 am

  7. [...] Also dont forget SPTraceView by Hristo Pavlov (Thanks Anders for the [...]

    Pingback by How do I troubleshoot SharePoint? So many logs! - The Bamboo Team Blog — 4 October, 2008 @ 6:10 am

  8. [...] of the extra load that the LRO causes. I usually keep a note of the time of failure or even better, SPTraceView if I am watching over it in real time.They provided me with enough information to identify the [...]

    Pingback by Creating a SharePoint variation hierarchy fails: “An error was encountered performing this operation” - Integrating Radi with SharePoint and Dynamics CRM — 20 January, 2009 @ 5:36 am

  9. [...] on Jan.20, 2009, under Microsoft, Office, Sharepoint Server, Windows SharePoint Services SPTraceView (by Hristo Pavlov) is a tool which allows a user (with console and/or RDP access to a SharePoint [...]

    Pingback by Tools for your SharePoint Toolbox: SPTraceView - mylifeinaminute.com — 20 January, 2009 @ 6:58 pm

  10. [...] you need something very simple to monitor your logs in real-time, you can use SPTraceView utility by Hristo Pavlov. SPTraceView also offers table view of active log file and you can open it [...]

    Pingback by SharePoint Weekly » Test — 5 August, 2009 @ 2:45 pm

  11. [...] SPtraceview This is one of my favorite tools because it provides a view of performance issues in real time. It’s useful for monitoring diagnostic tracing when working with custom Web parts. For more information, see SPTraceView – Lightweight Tool for Monitoring the SharePoint Diagnostic Logging in Real-Time. [...]

    Pingback by Inside SharePoint Improving SharePoint Performance « Training and Certification — 6 August, 2009 @ 5:33 am

  12. [...] you need something very simple to monitor your logs in real-time, you can use SPTraceView utility by Hristo Pavlov. SPTraceView also offers table view of active log file and you can open it [...]

    Pingback by SharePoint Weekly » Reading and writing SharePoint logs — 7 August, 2009 @ 7:54 pm


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