Source context

Source context is meant to denote the sources of logging events, such as classes calling the log methods. This context also encodes the hierarchy of log's ownership. It is produced with ForContext method and bound to returned log instance. The dominant use case for source context is to obtain class-based logs:

class MyClass
private readonly ILog log;
public MyClass(ILog log)
this.log = log.ForContext<MyClass>();


Source context exhibits hierarchical structure: chained ForContext calls produce logs with multiple contexts ordered with respect to calls sequence.

log = log
// log's source context is now ["foo", "bar", "baz"]

Implementation details

Handling of source context is implementation-specific.

However, all built-in logs implement it by enriching incoming log events with a special well-known SourceContext property. Its value is represented by public SourceContextValue type that implements IReadOnlyList<string> and has a pretty ToString. This behavior can be replicated in custom log implementations by returning a SourceContextWrapper from ForContext method.

Serilog adapter does essentially the same.

Log4net adapter maps source contexts to logger names.

Rendering in text-based logs

Here's an example of how text-based logs render source context:

var log = new SynchronousConsoleLog() as ILog;
log = log.ForContext("foo");
log.Info("Message 1");
log = log.ForContext("bar");
log.Info("Message 2");
log = log.ForContext("baz");
log.Info("Message 3");

Sample output from this code:

2019-03-10 01:21:25,517 INFO [foo] Message 1
2019-03-10 01:21:25,554 INFO [foo => bar] Message 2
2019-03-10 01:21:25,555 INFO [foo => bar => baz] Message 3