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RCL - Remote Client Logging

A websocket bridge allowing persistent debug logging from client to server/local node instance

Official doc at

Getting started

Include the logging client in your application

<script src="path/to/rcl.js"></script>

For AMD/RequireJS, It is still recommended that you add it as a script source for easy removal with grunt-preprocess

  deps : [

Install the rcl npm package

$ sudo npm install -g rcl

Run rcl

$ rcl
Running "rcl" task
   info  - started
[2012-09-25 09:14:48.863] [DEBUG] rcl - Connected on port 8888

Log to your heart's content"Hi, I am your app.");
rcl.debug("Foo is now : %s", 42);

Logs will show up in your console, rcl (if running), and any client connected to your rcl instance.


Include the client source file in your client application and you can use the following commands immediately

Getting the client source file

You can download it at or you can output the version that matches your npm install via

$ rcl rcl.js > path/for/rcl.js

Specify a different host to connect to


Configure log levels


Turn off logging

rcl.server = false; // || true 
rcl.client = false; // || true 

Sprintf like formatting

For console logging, the support is the native console's capabilities. Terminal and web client support use string-format syntax (mostly the same).

How to strip logging

Two grunt tasks have been extracted from this project and packaged independently, grunt-strip and grunt-preprocess. Both have more documentation at their project sites, but basic usage is below.

Both are designed to be run as part of a build chain, usually after concatenation and before minification.

Installing grunt tasks

Add grunt-strip and grunt-preprocess to your package.json's dependencies hash, or run

$ npm install --save grunt-strip grunt-preprocess

Remember to load these tasks as part of your gruntfile


Removing the script source using grunt-preprocess


<!-- exclude -->
<script src="path/to/rcl.js"></script>
<!-- endexclude -->

Configuration in your Gruntfile

preprocess : {
  main : {
    src : 'src/index.html',
    dest : 'build/index.html'

See grunt-preprocess for advanced configurations

Removing the log statements using grunt-strip

Example grunt configuration

strip : {
  main : {
    src : 'src/main.js',
    dest : 'build/main.built.js',
    nodes : ['rcl','console']

See grunt-strip for advanced configurations


Why use RCL?

You are programming in a language stretched beyond its design across environments spanning years of standards and are delivering your source code directly to the client to be run outside of your control.

It's hard but so, so awesome and you are a brilliant genius to have gotten this far.

At the base, RCL is just a websocket bridge to log from your browser to another client. It could be anything, but right now is something like a server, another browser tab, or a mobile device.

RCL aggregates and classifies your log messages so that they are configurable in verbosity, using log4js on the server side for more flexibility.

Does my application break if rcl is not running?

No, you will still get console messages in your browser.

Why is this not recommended for production logging?

Because logging will bloat your code, expose intent behind your logic, and be an extra burden on the client. But, that said, if production logging is important enough to you, then try it out and we'd love to hear how it works.

Our primary frustration for large JavaScript projects is the lack of extensive logging during development and testing. This is a solution to that works very well and allows for fewer issues to occur in production.

One avenue being considered is to have grunt-strip support removing properties of nodes so that only certain log levels can be removed.

rcl as a grunt plugin

RCL was initially written with grunt in mind and can be used as a grunt plugin in a task chain.

Install next to your gruntfile with

$ npm install rcl

Add this line to your gruntfile


Example task chain

grunt.registerTask('dev', 'server rcl watch');

Configuration as grunt plugin

rcl : {
  port : 3000,
  wait : true

log4js configuration

Please visit the project page for documentation log4js-node


In lieu of a formal styleguide, take care to maintain the existing coding style. Add unit tests for any new or changed functionality. Lint and test your code using [grunt][grunt].

Release History

  • v0.3.4 Fix for usage via AMD and requirejs
  • v0.3.3 Fixes to client
  • v0.3.2 Small fallback for client error
  • v0.3.1 Fixed some rcl client bugs
  • v0.3.0 Abstracted grunt from direct cli use. Removed async for better usage as a grunt task.
  • v0.2.4 Client use fix
  • v0.2.3 Bugfixes
  • v0.2.2 Fixed new use cases
  • v0.2.0 Initial release


Copyright (c) 2012 Jarrod Overson
Licensed under the MIT license.