Enabling E2E Tracing for WCF

Tracking down bugs in distributed systems can be really difficult. One of the technologies we’re using in Indigo to help make this easier is known as “E2E Tracing” (for End to End Tracing). Of course, this technology is only as good as the traces that a system emits. In Beta 1, we weren’t so good about our traces, but in the past few months we’ve made a concerted effort to improve them. And we need your feedback on what is easy to track down and (just as importantly) what was a pain in the butt to figure out. I recommend starting at “Warning” level. Verbose traces are very, well, verbose and can often be hard to navigate through.

Indigo also includes a Trace Viewer (svcTraceViewer.exe) which allows you to make heads (or tails) of the Xml files that are generated. Again, feedback on the tool is highly encouraged.

Here’s a sample config file snippet that will enable tracing in Indigo Applications and will generate Xml file with the traces.

The generated file can then be opened with svcTraceViewer.exe

   <!-- The 'switchValue' determines the level of traces that will
             be outputted, e.g. 'Verbose', 'Warning', 'Error', etc -->
   <source name="System.ServiceModel" switchValue="Warning, ActivityTracing"
     <clear />
     <!-- The 'initializeData' attribute determines to which file
              the traces will be written -->
     <add name="xml" type="System.Diagnostics.XmlWriterTraceListener"
                initializeData="e2eTraceTest.xml" />
     <!-- To log to a Console, use this instead of previous Node:
     <add name="console" type="System.Diagnostics.ConsoleTraceListener" />
  <!-- Setting he 'autoflush' attribute to 'true' ensures that the trace
            sources flush to disk after each trace -->
  <trace autoflush="true" />

6 thoughts on “Enabling E2E Tracing for WCF

  1. Jose Antonio

    Hello Kenny,

    I am currently using the Jan CTP release and the XML editor of VS2005 tells me that:
    – propagateActivity : The attribute is not declared
    – clear : The element listeners has invalid child element clear. List of possible elements expected: ‘add, remove’.

    Could you please check that?

    Thank you in advance.

  2. Kenny

    propagateActivity is valid for System.ServiceModel. Unfortunately it’s not in the VS2005 schema so they will flag this as a warning.

    clear should work fine. Does your app still run? This could be a bug in the VS2005 schema in which case I’ll followup with this

  3. Pingback: kennyw.com » Blog Archive » Tracing Tidbit: Getting Callstacks Automatically

  4. Jose Antonio

    Sorry about the delay and yes, the app is still working. For me enabling tracing in Indigo has been the biggest discovery just after Indigo itself (I regret to call it WCF :P).

    Thanks for sharing your experiencies.

  5. Pingback: mattonsoftware.com : .NET Resources

  6. Pingback: kennyw.com » Blog Archive » Channel 9: Using WCF Tracing

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