An application level tracing framework for logging, error handling, metrics, and more.

Programming language: Rust
License: MIT License
Tags: Performance     Asynchronous     Log     Async     futures     Logging     Structured     Error Handling     Metrics     Tracing    
Latest version: v0.9.0

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Tracing — Structured, application-level diagnostics

Crates.io Documentation Documentation (master) [MIT licensed][mit-url] Build Status Discord chat

Website | Chat | Documentation (master branch)


tracing is a framework for instrumenting Rust programs to collect structured, event-based diagnostic information. tracing is maintained by the Tokio project, but does not require the tokio runtime to be used.


In Applications

In order to record trace events, executables have to use a collector implementation compatible with tracing. A collector implements a way of collecting trace data, such as by logging it to standard output. tracing-subscriber's fmt module provides a collector for logging traces with reasonable defaults. Additionally, tracing-subscriber is able to consume messages emitted by log-instrumented libraries and modules.

To use tracing-subscriber, add the following to your Cargo.toml:

tracing = "0.1"
tracing-subscriber = "0.2"

Then create and install a collector, for example using init():

use tracing::info;
use tracing_subscriber;

fn main() {
    // install global collector configured based on RUST_LOG env var.

    let number_of_yaks = 3;
    // this creates a new event, outside of any spans.
    info!(number_of_yaks, "preparing to shave yaks");

    let number_shaved = yak_shave::shave_all(number_of_yaks);
        all_yaks_shaved = number_shaved == number_of_yaks,
        "yak shaving completed."

Using init() calls set_global_default() so this collector will be used as the default in all threads for the remainder of the duration of the program, similar to how loggers work in the log crate.

For more control, a collector can be built in stages and not set globally, but instead used to locally override the default collector. For example:

use tracing::{info, Level};
use tracing_subscriber;

fn main() {
    let collector = tracing_subscriber::fmt()
        // filter spans/events with level TRACE or higher.
        // build but do not install the subscriber.

    tracing::collector::with_default(collector, || {
        info!("This will be logged to stdout");
    info!("This will _not_ be logged to stdout");

Any trace events generated outside the context of a collector will not be collected.

This approach allows trace data to be collected by multiple collectors within different contexts in the program. Note that the override only applies to the currently executing thread; other threads will not see the change from with_default.

Once a collector has been set, instrumentation points may be added to the executable using the tracing crate's macros.

In Libraries

Libraries should only rely on the tracing crate and use the provided macros and types to collect whatever information might be useful to downstream consumers.

use std::{error::Error, io};
use tracing::{debug, error, info, span, warn, Level};

// the `#[tracing::instrument]` attribute creates and enters a span
// every time the instrumented function is called. The span is named after the
// the function or method. Parameters passed to the function are recorded as fields.
pub fn shave(yak: usize) -> Result<(), Box<dyn Error + 'static>> {
    // this creates an event at the DEBUG level with two fields:
    // - `excitement`, with the key "excitement" and the value "yay!"
    // - `message`, with the key "message" and the value "hello! I'm gonna shave a yak."
    // unlike other fields, `message`'s shorthand initialization is just the string itself.
    debug!(excitement = "yay!", "hello! I'm gonna shave a yak.");
    if yak == 3 {
        warn!("could not locate yak!");
        // note that this is intended to demonstrate `tracing`'s features, not idiomatic
        // error handling! in a library or application, you should consider returning
        // a dedicated `YakError`. libraries like snafu or thiserror make this easy.
        return Err(io::Error::new(io::ErrorKind::Other, "shaving yak failed!").into());
    } else {
        debug!("yak shaved successfully");

pub fn shave_all(yaks: usize) -> usize {
    // Constructs a new span named "shaving_yaks" at the TRACE level,
    // and a field whose key is "yaks". This is equivalent to writing:
    // let span = span!(Level::TRACE, "shaving_yaks", yaks = yaks);
    // local variables (`yaks`) can be used as field values
    // without an assignment, similar to struct initializers.
    let span = span!(Level::TRACE, "shaving_yaks", yaks);
    let _enter = span.enter();

    info!("shaving yaks");

    let mut yaks_shaved = 0;
    for yak in 1..=yaks {
        let res = shave(yak);
        debug!(yak, shaved = res.is_ok());

        if let Err(ref error) = res {
            // Like spans, events can also use the field initialization shorthand.
            // In this instance, `yak` is the field being initialized.
            error!(yak, error = error.as_ref(), "failed to shave yak!");
        } else {
            yaks_shaved += 1;

tracing = "0.1"

Note: Libraries should NOT install a collector by using a method that calls set_global_default(), as this will cause conflicts when executables try to set the default later.

In Asynchronous Code

To trace async fns, the preferred method is using the #[instrument] attribute:

use tracing::{info, instrument};
use tokio::{io::AsyncWriteExt, net::TcpStream};
use std::io;

async fn write(stream: &mut TcpStream) -> io::Result<usize> {
    let result = stream.write(b"hello world\n").await;
    info!("wrote to stream; success={:?}", result.is_ok());

The [tracing-futures] crate must be specified as a dependency to enable async support.

Special handling is needed for the general case of code using std::future::Future or blocks with async/await, as the following example will not work:

async {
    let _s = span.enter();
    // ...

The span guard _s will not exit until the future generated by the async block is complete. Since futures and spans can be entered and exited multiple times without them completing, the span remains entered for as long as the future exists, rather than being entered only when it is polled, leading to very confusing and incorrect output. For more details, see the documentation on closing spans.

This problem can be solved using the Future::instrument combinator:

use tracing::Instrument;

let my_future = async {
    // ...


Future::instrument attaches a span to the future, ensuring that the span's lifetime is as long as the future's.

Under the hood, the #[instrument] macro performs same the explicit span attachment that Future::instrument does.

Supported Rust Versions

Tracing is built against the latest stable release. The minimum supported version is 1.42. The current Tracing version is not guaranteed to build on Rust versions earlier than the minimum supported version.

Tracing follows the same compiler support policies as the rest of the Tokio project. The current stable Rust compiler and the three most recent minor versions before it will always be supported. For example, if the current stable compiler version is 1.45, the minimum supported version will not be increased past 1.42, three minor versions prior. Increasing the minimum supported compiler version is not considered a semver breaking change as long as doing so complies with this policy.

Getting Help

First, see if the answer to your question can be found in the API documentation. If the answer is not there, there is an active community in the Tracing Discord channel. We would be happy to try to answer your question. Last, if that doesn't work, try opening an issue with the question.


:balloon: Thanks for your help improving the project! We are so happy to have you! We have a [contributing guide][guide] to help you get involved in the Tracing project.

Project layout

The [tracing] crate contains the primary instrumentation API, used for instrumenting libraries and applications to emit trace data. The [tracing-core] crate contains the core API primitives on which the rest of tracing is instrumented. Authors of trace subscribers may depend on tracing-core, which guarantees a higher level of stability.

Additionally, this repository contains several compatibility and utility libraries built on top of tracing. Some of these crates are in a pre-release state, and are less stable than the tracing and tracing-core crates.

The crates included as part of Tracing are:

  • [tracing-futures]: Utilities for instrumenting futures. (crates.io|docs)

  • [tracing-macros]: Experimental macros for emitting trace events (unstable).

  • [tracing-attributes]: Procedural macro attributes for automatically instrumenting functions. (crates.io|docs)

  • [tracing-log]: Compatibility with the log crate (unstable).

  • [tracing-opentelemetry]: Provides a layer that connects spans from multiple systems into a trace and emits them to OpenTelemetry-compatible distributed tracing systems for processing and visualization. (crates.io|docs)

  • [tracing-serde]: A compatibility layer for serializing trace data with serde (unstable).

  • [tracing-subscriber]: Collector implementations, and utilities for implementing and composing Collectors. (crates.io|docs)

  • [tracing-tower]: Compatibility with the tower ecosystem (unstable).

  • [tracing-appender]: Utilities for outputting tracing data, including a file appender and non-blocking writer. (crates.io|docs)

  • [tracing-error]: Provides SpanTrace, a type for instrumenting errors with tracing spans

  • [tracing-flame]; Provides a layer for generating flame graphs based on tracing span entry / exit events.

  • [tracing-journald]: Provides a layer for recording events to the Linux journald service, preserving structured data.

Related Crates

In addition to this repository, here are also several third-party crates which are not maintained by the tokio project. These include:

  • tracing-timing implements inter-event timing metrics on top of tracing. It provides a subscriber that records the time elapsed between pairs of tracing events and generates histograms.
  • tracing-honeycomb Provides a layer that reports traces spanning multiple machines to honeycomb.io. Backed by tracing-distributed.
  • tracing-distributed Provides a generic implementation of a layer that reports traces spanning multiple machines to some backend.
  • tracing-actix-web provides tracing integration for the actix-web web framework.
  • tracing-actix provides tracing integration for the actix actor framework.
  • tracing-gelf implements a subscriber for exporting traces in Greylog GELF format.
  • tracing-coz provides integration with the coz causal profiler (Linux-only).
  • tracing-bunyan-formatter provides a layer implementation that reports events and spans in bunyan format, enriched with timing information.
  • tide-tracing provides a tide middleware to trace all incoming requests and responses.
  • color-spantrace provides a formatter for rendering span traces in the style of color-backtrace
  • color-eyre provides customized panic and eyre report handlers for eyre::Report for capturing span traces and backtraces with new errors and pretty printing them.
  • spandoc provides a proc macro for constructing spans from doc comments inside of functions.
  • tracing-wasm provides a Collector/Subscriber implementation that reports events and spans via browser console.log and User Timing API (window.performance).
  • test-env-log takes care of initializing tracing for tests, based on environment variables with an env_logger compatible syntax.
  • tracing-unwrap provides convenience methods to report failed unwraps on Result or Option types to a Collector.
  • diesel-tracing provides integration with diesel database connections.
  • tracing-tracy provides a way to collect Tracy profiles in instrumented applications.
  • tracing-elastic-apm provides a layer for reporting traces to Elastic APM.

(if you're the maintainer of a tracing ecosystem crate not in this list, please let us know!)

Note: that some of the ecosystem crates are currently unreleased and undergoing active development. They may be less stable than tracing and tracing-core.

External Resources

This is a list of links to blog posts, conference talks, and tutorials about Tracing.

Blog Posts


Help us expand this list! If you've written or spoken about Tracing, or know of resources that aren't listed, please open a pull request adding them.


This project is licensed under the [MIT license](LICENSE).


Unless you explicitly state otherwise, any contribution intentionally submitted for inclusion in Tracing by you, shall be licensed as MIT, without any additional terms or conditions.

*Note that all licence references and agreements mentioned in the tracing README section above are relevant to that project's source code only.