Cocoon-Style Logging in Non-Cocoon Java Classes

This page explains how to implement Cocoon-style logging, in a Java class that is not inherited from a Cocoon or Avalon component class. The class is however used within a Cocoon application.

A typical use for this might be to implement logging in a Java Bean used in a Cocoon application.

How to Implement Logging

In Cocoon, like in Perl, there's more than one way to do it. In the case of logging the following solutions are possible:

=== Solution One: Extend ===AbstractLogEnabled

In your class you extend the AbstractLogEnabled class.

To write log messages you simply call the appropriate log method using the Logger provided by the getLogger() method, which is available from the parent class AbstractLogEnabled.

  import org.apache.avalon.framework.logger.AbstractLogEnabled;

  public class SomeClass extends AbstractLogEnabled {
  public void someMethod() {
      getLogger().debug( "Hello, log. It worked!" ); 
      getLogger().info(  "Hello, log. Here is info" ); 
      getLogger().error( "Hello, log. Here is an error" ); 

This works fine, provided you class doesn't already extend some other class.

=== Solution Two: Implement ===LogEnabled

Have your class implement the LogEnabled interface. A typical class might do the following:

  import org.apache.avalon.framework.logger.Logger;
  import org.apache.avalon.framework.logger.LogEnabled;

  class SomeBean extends SomeOtherBean implements LogEnabled {
    // The LogEnabled interface is one method: enableLogging
    private Logger logger;
    public void enableLogging( Logger logger ) { 
      this.logger = logger; 

    // Example method that writes to the log
    public void setThing( String thing ) {
      logger.debug( "SomeBean: thing = " + thing );

Note that in this case you use the logger directly and don't need to use the getLogger() accessor method. Note that a maintainance aware developer would probably implement their own getLogger().

Enabling Logging

For both of these solutions you must enable logging by calling the enableLogging() method on the class. This requires that you have a valid Logger object to provide to enableLogging().

Generally you can get the Logger from a Cocoon component class. In my application I called enableLogging() from my Cocoon action class, which extends AbstractXMLFormAction:

  SomeClass myClass = new SomeClass();
  myClass.enableLogging( getLogger() );
  myClass.someMethod(); // Writes some log messages

Note that many of the Cocoon classes extend Avalon Component classes.

Remember to call enableLogging() before you call any methods that write log messages. In Cocoon application it is not always obvious when to call enableLogging() as the creation and initialization of many of your classes will be handled automatically by Avalon, one of the Cocoon sub-systems.

The ContainerUtil class provides a convenient way to enable logging:

ContainerUtil.enableLogging(object, logger);

This method takes care of the following issues:

To be absolutely sure that you are writing solid code, you'll need a basic understanding of the Avalon component life-cycle. This is a big subject and beyond the scope of this page. You can read more at

The Avalon Logkit, which is used by Cocoon:

The Avalon Component Lifecycle:

If you're still curious, here is a link to an excellent white paper explaining development using avalon:

..and that's all there is to it.

Many thanks to Marcus Crafter, Judith Andres and KonstantinPiroumian for their helpful input.

-- AlanHodgkinson

JavaLogging (last edited 2009-09-20 23:42:08 by localhost)