A Comprehensive Guide to Logging in Drupal

22 / Feb / 2024 by Somesh Sharma 0 comments

In the intricate world of Drupal development, effective logging is a cornerstone for building robust and error-free websites. Logging provides developers with crucial insights into the inner workings of their applications, aiding in the identification and resolution of issues. This comprehensive guide dives deep into various logging techniques and scenarios in Drupal, offering developers an in-depth understanding through practical code examples. By mastering logging, developers can streamline debugging, enhance error handling, and ensure the resilience of their Drupal projects.

Database logging with dblog module

In Drupal, the dblog module is a built-in module that provides a simple logging system for database logging. It allows you to log events and errors on your Drupal site into the database, making tracking and troubleshooting issues easier.

1. Enable the dblog module:

  • Log in to your Drupal site with administrative privileges.
  • Navigate to Admin > Extend (/admin/modules).
  • Look for the “Database logging” module and enable it.
  • Save the configuration.

2. Configure dblog settings:

  • After enabling the module, you can configure its settings by navigating to Admin > Configuration > Development > Logging (/admin/config/development/logging).
  • Adjust the log message severity levels based on your requirements.

3. Generate a log entry programmatically:

  • // Log a message with severity ‘info’.
    watchdog('my_module', 'This is an informational message.');
  • // Log an error message with severity ‘error’.watchdog('my_module', 'An error occurred: %error', array('%error' => $error_message), WATCHDOG_ERROR);

3. View logged messages:

  • You can view the logged messages by navigating to Admin > Reports > Recent log messages (/admin/reports/dblog).
  • Here, you will see a list of logged events, including their severity, message, and timestamp.

Logging from a Service using Dependency Injection

Drupal’s commitment to modern PHP practices includes the use of dependency injection. This example delves into logging errors from a service using dependency injection.

# In custom_module.services.yml
class: Drupal\custom_module\CustomService
arguments: ['@config.factory', '@logger.factory']
// In CustomService.php
use Drupal\Core\Logger\LoggerChannelFactoryInterface;
class CustomService {
* Logger factory.
* @var \Drupal\Core\Logger\LoggerChannelFactoryInterface
protected $logger;
public function __construct(ConfigFactoryInterface $config_factory, LoggerChannelFactoryInterface $channel_factory) {
$this->logger = $channel_factory->get('custom_module');
// Log errors in the service.
public function logErrors() {
$this->logger->error("Error occurred in CustomService");

Logging Exceptions from a Try-Catch Block

Exception handling is a critical aspect of building reliable applications. The following example demonstrates how to log exceptions caught within a try-catch block.

public function build() {
try {
} catch (\Exception $e) {
// Log the exception.
watchdog_exception('custom_module', $e);
// Display a message in the notification area.
\Drupal::messenger()->addError("An exception occurred: " . $e->getMessage());
// Additional build logic.
function test() {
throw new \Exception("Test exception", 42);

By logging exceptions, developers gain visibility into unexpected issues, facilitating effective debugging and proactive issue resolution.

Displaying Messages with Messenger

Drupal’s Messenger service provides a flexible mechanism for communicating with users. The following example illustrates displaying different types of messages.

// Display a status message.
\Drupal::messenger()->addStatus("This is a status message");

// Display a warning message.
\Drupal::messenger()->addWarning("This is a warning message");

// Display an error message.
\Drupal::messenger()->addError("This is an error message");

The Messenger service empowers developers to communicate with users seamlessly, providing feedback and guidance where necessary.

Displaying Messages with Links:

Building messages with links enhances user interaction. The following example demonstrates how to incorporate links into messages in the notification area.

use Drupal\Core\Url;

// Generate a link.
$google_url = Url::fromUri('https://www.google.com');
$google_url->setOptions(['attributes' => ['target' => '_blank']]);
$google_link = \Drupal::service('link_generator')->generate('submit a help ticket here', $google_url);

// Display a message with a link.
\Drupal::messenger()->addMessage("For assistance, please $google_link");

Debugging and Displaying Variables:

Debugging is an integral part of the development process. The following code snippet demonstrates how to debug and display variable values effectively.

$is_front = \Drupal::service('path.matcher')->isFrontPage();
$is_front = $is_front ? "YES" : "NO";

// Display a message with the variable value.
\Drupal::messenger()->addMessage("Is front page? $is_front");

Effectively debugging and displaying variable values is essential for gaining insights into the application’s behavior during development.


In conclusion, mastering logging in Drupal is an indispensable skill for developers aiming to build resilient and high-performing websites. This guide, enriched with detailed code examples, covers a spectrum of logging scenarios – from foundational database logging to advanced techniques like dependency injection and exception handling. By incorporating these practices into their development workflow, Drupal developers can elevate their error-handling capabilities, streamline debugging processes, and deliver web solutions that stand the test of time.

When implemented thoughtfully, logging becomes a guiding light in the development journey, ensuring Drupal websites perform reliably in various scenarios.


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