Thursday 9 June 2011

Configurability tweaks for SysLogHandler and Formatter

There have been some recent changes to SysLogHandler and Formatter which will appear in Python releases.

  1. SysLogHandler currently appends a NUL byte to messages it sends to syslog daemons. This is because earlier versions of these daemons expected the NUL terminator to be present, even though it’s not part of the relevant specification (RFC 5424). More recent releases of these daemons don’t expect the NUL byte to be there, but strip it off if it’s present. And some even more recent daemons follow the specification more strictly, and pass the NUL byte on as part of the message. In order to facilitate dealing with all the various possible destinations for SysLogHandler messages, a new class-level attribute, append_nul, has been added to SysLogHandler. The default value is True, thus preserving current behaviour; however, you can set it to False for specific handler instances where you don’t want the NUL byte to be appended. This change is expected to appear in Python 3.2.1, which should be released soon.
  2. In the same vein, the date formatting logic used by Formatter has been changed to make it more configurable. Previously, the default ISO 8601 format was hard-coded as in this example: 2010-09-06 22:38:15,292 where the part before the comma is handled by a strptime format string ('%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S'), and the part after the comma is a millisecond value. Because strptime does not have a format placeholder for milliseconds, the millisecond value is appended using another format string, '%s,%03d' – both of these format strings have been hardcoded into the Formatter.formatTime method. That’s set to change with Python 3.3 – these strings will be defined as class-level attributes which can be overridden at the instance level when desired. The names of the attributes are default_time_format (for the strptime format string) and default_msec_format (for appending the millisecond value).

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