A lot of my work at Abstract revolves around Ops - planning and deploying the servers and software that we use behind our software to make it all run smoothly. We use Amazon Web Services extensively, and as we were getting set up we decided to test Amazon CloudWatch Logs before using another service like Papertrail that we’d all used in the past. The main reason behind this decision was that Amazon CloudWatch Logs includes some nice integrations with the core CloudWatch monitoring that we were already using.

Like many of Amazon’s services, the default interface on both the CLI and web was pretty spartan. The CLI only outputs log entries as JSON data. The web interface is nicer, but has a pretty slow login process and can make it difficult to recall past searches. As the person mainly responsible for designing the logging I wasn’t super happy with those tools, so I decided to put together something simple: CWL - or CloudWatch Logs Tool.

CWL has a super simple interface - you use it on the command line and it allows you to choose a log group and output messages from that group. You can choose specific log streams within that log group or display them all. It also allows you to choose a start and end time in both RFC 3339 syntax or with fuzzier date syntax like “3 days ago”.

Check out CWL on GitHub