6 releases (2 stable)

1.1.0 Oct 28, 2019
1.0.0 Jul 10, 2019
1.0.0-rc6 Jun 12, 2019
0.1.0 Jun 12, 2019

#212 in Debugging

MIT license




Follow, transform, and explore all your unwieldly microservice logs from the terminal.

  • Ingests logs in any format, in real-time
  • Converts all logs to one of several unified formats:
    • formatted plain-text for sharing
    • stylized and wrapped for easy reading
    • JSON for machine processing
  • Interactive terminal interface adds painless searching, filtering, text reflow, and clipboard support
  • Built-in Kubernetes support follows multiple pods and containers at once
  • User-customizable output styles and custom log formats (see customization)

Quick Start

  1. Grab a pre-built binary from the releases page or run:

    cargo install woodchipper

    See the install page for detailed instructions.

  2. Follow some logs:

    tail -f /var/log/my-app.log | woodchipper
  3. Use the kubectl plugin wrapper script and watch some pods:

    kubectl woodchipper -n my-namespace app=my-app


Pipe any logs to woodchipper:

cat my-log.txt | woodchipper

This opens the interactive viewer by default. Use up, down, page up, page down, home, and end to navigate.

woodchipper also follows any streaming output:

./some-long-running-script.sh | woodchipper

When piped, woodchipper automatically outputs nicely formatted plaintext, appropriate for sharing:

./some-hard-to-read-json-logs.sh | woodchipper | cat

Alternatively, if you'd just like to print the colorized logs to your terminal:

./logs.sh | woodchipper -r styled

If you don't like the interactive viewer but still want a pager, try less:

cat logs.txt | woodchipper -r styled | less

(try less -R if your less doesn't pass through ANSI escapes by default)

Interactive Viewer

The interactive viewer provides an improved pager with regex searching and filtering. It's enabled by default if woodchipper is attached to a tty.

A number of keyboard shortcuts are available:

  • up, down: move the cursor one message at a time
  • page up, page down: scroll one screenful at a time
  • home, end: move to the start or end of all messages
  • f, |: add a filter to the stack
    • a filter regex may be freely entered
    • invalid filter regexes are highlighted in red
    • matching messages are highlighted as you type
    • enter: add the filter to the stack and remove all non-matching messages
    • esc: cancel filter
  • p: pop the last filter from the stack
  • /, ctrl-f: search for a particular message; when in filter mode:
    • a search regex may be freely entered
    • invalid search regexes are highlighted in red
    • all matching messages will be highlighted; the cursor will jump to the nearest forward match as you type
    • enter: next match
    • ctrl-p: previous match
    • esc: end search; if a result is highlighted, it will remain highlighted
  • c: copy the selected message to the clipboard as shareable plain text
  • shift-c: copy the current screen to the clipboard as shareable plain text
  • q: quit

The interactive viewer works best with terminal emulators that treat mouse wheel input as up / down keypresses when in alternate screen mode. KDE's Konsole behaves this way by default, and this may be enabled in iTerm2 in Preferences -> Advanced -> Mouse -> "Scroll wheel sends arrow keys when in alternative screen mode". An option to capture mouse events on all terminals may be added in the future, however doing so disables text selection and isn't ideal.

kubectl plugin

For kubectl 1.13+, read more

To make full use of the Kubernetes integration:

  • Ensure kubectl is available and configured on your $PATH
  • Install the wrapper script on your $PATH

Woodchipper uses kubectl proxy to access the Kubernetes API, so it can connect to your cluster if kubectl can.

To follow a pod named my-pod-1234, run:

kubectl woodchipper -n my-namespace my-pod-1234

Alternatively, if you don't want to use the kubectl plugin, this is equivalent:

woodchipper --reader=kubernetes -n my-namespace my-pod-1234

Woodchipper matches pods continually using substrings, so a partial pod name will follow pods even between restarts or deployment upgrades:

woodchipper --reader=kubernetes -n my-namespace my-pod

Multiple substrings can be used:

kubectl woodchipper -n my-namespace my-pod my-other-pod

Alternatively, if you give it a label-like selector, it will perform a label query:

kubectl woodchipper -n my-namespace app=my-app

Note that only one label selector may be used at a time.

Woodchipper honors your configured kubectl default namespace, so you can leave off -n my-namespace if kubectl is configured to use it already. Alternatively, the WD_NAMESPACE environment variable can be set to override the default.

Supported Log Formats

Woodchipper can parse, format, and stylize any of the following logs, potentially mixed together:

  • Several varieties of JSON logs, e.g. {"time": "...", "msg": "hello world"}
  • logrus-style key/value pair logs, e.g. time="..." msg="hello world"
  • klog logs for Kubernetes components
  • Plaintext logs with inferred timestamps and log levels
  • User-specified custom formats with the regex parser

Similar Projects

  • stern has similar Kubernetes tailing features
  • logrus has built-in pretty printing when a TTY is attached
  • slog provides structured pretty printing
  • less supports paging, searching, and input following


Bug reports, feature requests, and pull requests are welcome! Be sure to read though the code of conduct for some pointers to get started.

Note that - as mentioned in the code of conduct - code contributions must indicate that you accept the Developer Certificate of Origin, essentially indicating you have rights to the code you're contributing and that you agree to the project's license (MIT). With the Git CLI, simply pass -s to git commit:

git commit -s [...]

... and Git will automatically append the required Signed-off-by: ... to the end of your commit message.

Additionally, the design documentation may be a helpful resource for understanding how woodchipper works.


~542K SLoC