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The goal of dyn.log is to be a comprehensive, dynamic, configuration-based logging package for R. While there are several excellent logging solutions already in the R ecosystem, I found none of them were both robust functionality-wise, and completely generic i.e., they are designed exclusively for use within a specific environment (shiny/plumber/etc).

This is the raison d’être for dyn.log: a flexible logging solution that:


In order to keep the package as light as possible dependency-wise, there are no demos that come integrated with the package. However, separate repositories are coming soon to demonstrate the above scenarios and will be linked here.



You can install the development version of dyn.log from GitHub with:



You can install the latest stable version of dyn.log from CRAN:

(coming soon)



Basic Usage

For basic/most common usage simply install the package from one of the above sources, load the package, initialize the logger, and a logging instance will show up in your global environment (by default, named ‘Logger’):



var1 <- "abc"; var2 <- 123; var3 <- runif(1)

Logger$debug("my log message - var1: {var1}, var2: {var2}, var3: {var3}")
basic log ouput

You can also skip the call to init_logger by setting a global option that specifies the configuration you wish to use, i.e., placing:

options("dyn.log.config" = "default")

In your .Rprofile will automatically configure the default logger and the global logging instance will be attached when you call:


The “dyn.log.config” variable can be either a predefined configuration (name) in the package, or a path to a local file that you have pre-customized. This is useful for sharing a single bespoke log configuration across multiple packages or projects.


There are three main components of a log message, each of them are covered in detail in their respective vignettes. For more detail about how logging works and how you can customize it, please see the package site:

The logging functionality is exposed by a R6 class, LogDispatch, is accessible as a global variable called, by default, Logger. The Logger will have methods that correspond to the log levels that are defined in its yaml configuration, which makes logging intuitive. Log messages are automatically assumed to be in standard glue format so local environment variables are captured in messages.

Simple Example

The “out of the box” (OTB) configuration specifies a default vanilla log format that displays the level that was logged, the current time-stamp (with the default TS format), and the log message:

var1 <- "abc"; var2 <- 123; var3 <- runif(1)

Logger$debug("my log message - var1: {var1}, var2: {var2}, var3: {var3}")
basic log ouput


Everything about dyn.log is configuration driven, the package comes with a basic configuration default.yaml, show below it its entirety and broken down in the sections that follow:

For a detailed look at customizing these settings please see Configurations vignette online.

variable: Logger
  threshold: TRACE
    max: 5
    start: -1
    stop: -1
- name: TRACE
  description: This level designates finer-grained informational events than the DEBUG.
  severity: 600
  log_style: !expr crayon::make_style("antiquewhite3")$bold
  msg_style: !expr crayon::make_style('gray60')
- name: DEBUG
  description: This level designates fine-grained informational events that are most useful to debug an application.
  severity: 500
  log_style: !expr crayon::make_style('deepskyblue2')$bold
  msg_style: !expr crayon::make_style('gray90')
- name: INFO
  description: This level designates informational messages that highlight the progress of the application at coarse-grained level.
  severity: 400
  log_style: !expr crayon::make_style('dodgerblue4')$bold
  msg_style: !expr crayon::make_style('gray100')
- name: SUCCESS
  description: This level designates that the operation was unencumbered.
  severity: 300
  log_style: !expr crayon::make_style('chartreuse')$bold
  msg_style: !expr crayon::bgGreen$bold$black
- name: WARN
  description: This level designates potentially harmful situations.
  severity: 350
  log_style: !expr crayon::make_style('darkorange')$bold
  msg_style: !expr crayon::bgYellow$bold$black
- name: ERROR
  description: This level designates error events that might still allow the application to continue running.
  severity: 200
  log_style: !expr crayon::make_style('firebrick1')$bold
  msg_style: !expr crayon::bgBlack$bold$white
- name: FATAL
  description: This level designates very severe error events that will presumably lead the application to abort.
  severity: 100
  log_style: !expr crayon::make_style('firebrick')$bold
  msg_style: !expr crayon::bgRed$bold$white
- association: default
  seperator: ' '
  new_line: \n
  formats: new_fmt_log_level(),
- association: level_msg
  seperator: ' '
  new_line: \n
  formats: new_fmt_log_level(),

Logger Variable

The first setting, variable, defines the name of the global variable you want to access the logger with. The default is Logger, but you can easily change it to: log, my_log, msg or any other value (as long as it’s a valid R variable name). The LogDispatch object is also a singleton, so you always access the logger directly:

nums <- paste0(round(rnorm(25, 0, 5), digits = 2), collapse = ", ")

LogDispatch$new()$warn("These numbers '{nums}' are out of the expected range.")
custom var name


The settings node contains the core settings of the log dispatcher, by attribute. These are covered in detail in the Configuration section of the manual.


The levels node contains the log levels you want available in your environment. When a log level is defined in the configuration, it automatically becomes accessible via a first-class function on the dispatcher, e.g.:

Logger$info("This will be logged with 'INFO' severity level")

You can view all configured log levels, and get a quick summary about them by calling display_log_levels():

log levels

The default logging configuration closely resembles the fairly ubiquitous log4j scheme. For a detailed look at log levels refer to the Levels vignette online.


Every log message needs to have a format so the dispatcher knows what to render on a log call. Formats are defined in the yaml config and comes with some basic ones pre-configured.

The default log layout is a standard format: {LEVEL} - {TIMESTAMP} - {MSG}, with space as a separator between format objects.

Customizing a Log Message

Log message layouts are exposed as an S3 type in the package called log_layout. Layouts are composed from a series of objects that inherit from fmt_layout.

  format = list(
    new_fmt_metric(crayon::green$bold, "sysname"),
    new_fmt_metric(crayon::red$bold, "release"),
  seperator = '-',
  association = "custom"

Logger$info("my log message - var1: {var1}, var2: {var2}, var3: {var3}", layout = "custom")
custom log ouput

For a detailed look at layouts refer to the Layouts vignette online.

Logging Associations

One thing you may have noticed about the previous log layout definition was the association parameter. Associations are a useful way to build a customized log layout for your custom R6 types. This can be especially useful in larger applications, such as plumber services or shiny dashboards.

A TestObject is defined as below, who’s primary responsibly is to assign a randomly generated identifier to the instance via the constructor. There is also a method on the object that will call the logger with some local scope variables that will be logged as well.

TestObject <- R6::R6Class(
  classname = "TestObject",

  public = list(
    id = NULL,

    initialize = function() {
      self$id <- private$generate_id()

    test_method = function() {
      a <- "test"; b <- 123; c <- runif(1)

      Logger$info("these are some variables: {a} - {b} - {c}")

  private = list(
    generate_id = function(n = 15) {
      paste0(sample(LETTERS, n, TRUE), collapse =  '')

obj <- TestObject$new()

With the above class defined, we can create a custom log layout that associated with this R6 type with a new log layout:

  format = list(
    new_fmt_literal(crayon::cyan$bold, "Object Id:"),
    new_fmt_cls_field(crayon::bgCyan$silver$bold, "id"),
    new_fmt_metric(crayon::green$bold, "sysname"),
    new_fmt_metric(crayon::red$bold, "nodename"),
    new_fmt_literal(crayon::blue$bold, "R Version:"),
    new_fmt_metric(crayon::blue$italic$bold, "r_ver"),
  association = "TestObject"

# notice above, "Logger$info" is called inside the context of the Test Object,
# and the variables are scoped to inside the function.
Logger$debug("this is a normal log msg")
custom log ouput

As you can see, only when the logger is invoked from inside the class that has a custom layout associated with it does the custom layout get used. The follow-up log call (outside the class scope) reverts back to the standard layout settings.

For a detailed look at customizing a layout for a specific type, please see Configurations vignette online for an example.