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2.2.2 • Public • Published

Turbo Log

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Simple but powerful nested logging for debugging and testing!

Works in both the Browser and NodeJS with zero-dependencies and a tiny bundle size of 5kb (2kb gzipped!).



As turbo-log is intended to be included with your production application (see below for enabling/disabling), it should be installed as a direct dependency.

npm install turbo-log


The public API consists of the following functions.

Function Description
log(label: string, ...data?: any:[]): void Add a log entry to current stack head with the given label and data
pushLog(label: string): void Increase the indentation level and create a new stack head with the given label
popLog(): void Decrease the indentation level and pop the stack head
clearLog(): void Clear the log buffer
printLog(logOptions?: LogOptions & { silent?: boolean }): string Render the current log buffer to the the console (pass silent:true to skip console output), and returns the outputted string (will contain formatting if useColor:true)
snaphotLog(): string Return the current log buffer as a plain text snapshot as a string
setLogOptions(options: Partial<LogOptions>): void Set global logging options

Import as es6 modules, commonjs, or UMD.

// es6 modules
import { log, ... } from 'turbo-log';

// or commonjs
const { log, ... } = require('turbo-log');

// or UMD global in the browser
const { log, ... } = window.turbo_log;

// log it!
log('some-event', someValue, anotherValue...);

Safari Usage

If using turbo-log with Safari you'll need to ensure the default encoding setting is set to UTF-8 so the dev tools display the characters correctly. Open the "Advanced" page of the Safari's preferences and see this link for an example.


Logging is broken down into individual log entries. Each entry consists of a string label, followed by any arbitrary values using the log(label: string, ...data?: any[]) function. Only the label is required. Entries can be nested (see "Nesting" section for more info).

The label is an arbitrary string used for context and can be anything, usually you would make it something to do with the current context reason of the log entry. Think of it like an event name.

The rest of the function parameters become the data stored for that log entry.

import { log } from 'turbo-log';

log('some label', someValue, anotherValue, someObject...);

Values after the label are optional, you can just log the label if required.

log('just a label');

NOTE: Objects you log are stored by turbo-log so please be aware of this if garbage collection is an important detail of your application design since there will always be a reference to the object (if logged).

Clearing the log with clearLog() will remove that reference, but you'll also loose any previous log data so ensure you have printed or used the log before that clear.


Log entries can be nested by increasing or decreasing indentation with pushLog(label: string) and popLog(). This creates a stack-like mechanism and any further log() entries get nested under the current stack head. This is very useful to capture the stack-like behaviour of executing code.

Here's a complete example:

import { log, pushLog, popLog, printLog, setLogOptions } from 'turbo-log';

// setup as part of our app initialisation
  enabled: !!process.env.LOGGING,
  showTimeStamp: true,
  useTimeDelta: false,
  useColor: true,

async function main() {
  await sub2Func();

async function sub2Func() {
  pushLog('sub2'); // <- push a new indentation level onto the stack
  log('thing 1', 1, /a/g, new Date(0)); // <- subsequent log calls are now nested
  await sub3Func();
  log('thing 2', 4, { x: 1 });
  popLog(); // <-- pop the stack when we're done

function sub3Func() {
  return new Promise((resolve) => {
    setTimeout(() => {
      log('thing a', 3, false, ['a', 'b', true]);
      log('thing b', 3, true);
    }, 1000);

// do stuff, then print the log to the console
main().then(() => {

Just remember for every pushLog() call to include a corresponding popLog() call to balance the stack.

Viewing Log Output

To output the log to the console or terminal, use printLog() to return a string.

import { printLog } from 'turbo-log';

// do some logging...

// now print the output to the console when ready

You'll see something like this in the console:


If you just want to return the rendered string and skip output to the console then pass the silent: true option.

// just return the rendered string and don't output to console
const logOutput = printLog({ silent: true });

Log Options

There are several global options to control logging which can be set via the setLogOptions(options: Partial<LogOptions>) function where LogOptions is defined as:

Property Default Description
enabled: boolean false Enable or disable logging. By default logging is disabled and must be opted-in. This allows for the integration of logging as a first class citizen without creating noise for end users by default
showTimeStamp: boolean true Show the timestamp prefix for each line
useTimeDelta: boolean false Use the milliseconds delta since the last entry, or use the full date and time
useColor: boolean true Output using ansi color codes, or just plain text
stringProviderMethodName: string "toLogInfo" The method name to look for when converting argument objects to strings. This method will be called if found on an object, falling back to native string conversion for that type. This makes objects "log aware" if needed. For example logging this object {toLogInfo: () => 'my log data'} will display "my log data" for the log entries data

If you want to know the relative time between each log entry then setLogOptions({ useTimeDelta: true }) will show the delta in milliseconds instead of the full datetime.


Or if you don't want the timestamp prefix at all then setLogOptions({ showTimeStamp: false }).


For CI environments or terminals which don't support color setLogOptions({ useColor: false }).


Enabling / Disabling Logging

By default logging is enabled, though you may not want the output during production.

Therefore it's recommended to use an environment or build variable, query parameters, or localStorage to dynamically enable it at runtime based on the environment during your application startup.

/// during app startup...

import { setLogOptions } from 'tree-log';

setLogOptions({ enabled: !!process.env.LOGGING });

In Browser environments you'll receive a single message turbo-log is disabled. if logging is disabled and log calls are made.

This library is designed to be integrated with production code and left in place, but create zero overheads. When disabled, logging calls are still called however there will no updates to the log buffer, or extra memory consumed to store the log. This effectively turns the log functions into no-ops which ensures virtually zero overhead for leaving the logging calls in place. The same code base than then provide useful diagnostics for local development, or even special case debugging in production.


From 2.0.x to 2.1.x

  • Logging enabled by default, no need to opt-in though still recommended to use env/build vars during app startup to enable/disable as needed

From 1.x to 2.x

  • Browser support added
  • renderLog() was replaced with printLog() and snapshotLog(). printLog() now renders to the console (unless {silent:true} is passed)

From 0.x to 1.x

  • setLogEnabled() was replaced with global settings setLogOptions({ enabled: boolean })
  • renderLog(options) was replaced with global settings setLogOptions(...). Use the same properties globally once rather per render call

Use Cases

Integrated Logging & Diagnostics

This library is lightweight and can be used a general purpose logging tool. Logging is retained in memory and can be serialised when needed. Being able to nest statements creates a great tool for diagnostics, troubleshooting, and performance tuning. Logging statements can be left in production and the logging functionality is disabled by default. This allows for debugging and logging to be a first class citizen of a code base without requiring constant local development changes or accidental code garbage, in both Node and the Browser.

Recommended use case is to integrate logging statements in desired locations of application, then run a known sequence and print the log to see what was captured.

Snapshots for Unit Tests

Since the log can be serialised with or without a timestamp or color, it can be used as a text snapshot for integration testing (eg. using Jest text snapshots) via snapshotLog(). Having your application log during testing and then comparing that serialised log to the previous snapshot will uncover any changes in determinism or order of events, race conditions, or over calling.

Note that snapshotLog() disables the timestamp prefix since times or deltas would vary between tests and cause noisy failures.

// using Jest...

import { snapshotLog } from 'turbo-log';

it('should match snapshot', () => {
  // setup, perform test operations with logging enabled...



This project is actively under development. The following features are planned for upcoming releases.

Feature Bump Description
Realtime logging minor Currently logging needs to be rendered and printed to the console as needed. Will provide a setting to stream log to the console in realtime
Log buffer limit minor Current log buffer is unlimited. Will provide an API to adjust max length and purge last in when limit exceeded
Expose log buffer minor The log buffer will be exposed which will allow for custom queries on log details
Themes minor Current theme is dark biased but works in light consoles. Will add a dedicated light theme as part of options or possibly ability to set token colors
Multi-Instance Logging major Currently there is only one log buffer. Would like to make the ability to create multiple log buffers, to isolate diagnostics as needed
Browser Widget separate package Browser logging would benefit from more functionality including search, filtering, and deeper inspection. This is beyond basic console output and would require a floating widget in page. A floating widget would be preferred over a browser extension for full browser support.

Issues & Contributing

Found a bug or problem? Please let me know! Pull Requests and feature ideas always welcome!

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