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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

NLog, NUnit, NDoc, NAnt. DotNet development tools brought to you by the letter N.

Do all developer tools that target the .Net platform need to start with N? Ok, I have to admit that it makes it easy to identify .Net developer tools and that I might be influenced by the naming convention when looking for such tools.

For instance, the other day I was looking for a good .Net library for logging and found a few that looked interesting. The one I decided to download and install was NLog.

NLog Project

Although I don't have much experience with NLog yet (or experience with other logging libraries for that matter), I like what I've seen so far. Within a few minutes of installing it, I was logging simple messages. I was able to figure out how to log different levels of messages (simply call different methods on the logger) and how to change what gets logged.

NLog uses a XML config file that is separate from the application config file which is very convenient for portability reasons (I can send somebody a NLog config file and not have it mess up their app settings). It also has a XSD file that makes it very easy to discover the elements and attributes that are available.

According to the website, NLog claims that their interface is similar to Log4Net (a port of the log4j framework for java by the Apache Software Foundation), but simpler to configure and use.

The main gripe I have with it is the documentation. Perhaps I just haven't spent enough time with it to understand how it's put together, but for the most part, the documentation seems to be comprised of a dump of the code comments with a couple of incomplete tutorials thrown in. Of course, lack of good documentation for development tools is as common as development tools that start with the letter N.

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