A generic logger factory facade for classic ASP.NET

ASP.NET Core already has this feature. There is a ILoggerFactory to create a logger. You are able to inject the ILoggerFactory to your component (Controller, Service, etc.) and to create a named logger out of it. During testing you are able to replace this factory with a mock, to not test the logger as well and to not have an additional dependency to setup.

Recently we had the same requirement in a classic ASP.NET project, where we use Ninject to enable dependency injection and log4net to log all the stuff we do and all exceptions. One important requirement is a named logger per component.

Creating named loggers

Usually log4net gets created inside the components as a private static instance:

private static readonly ILog _logger = LogManager.GetLogger(typeof(HomeController));

There already is a static factory method to create a named logger. Unfortunately this isn't really testable anymore and we need a different solution.

We could create a bunch of named logger in advance and register them to Ninject, which obviously is not the right solution. We need to have a more generic solution. We figured out two different solutions:

// would work well
public MyComponent(ILoggerFactory loggerFactory)
    _loggerA = loggerFactory.GetLogger(typeof(MyComponent));
    _loggerB = loggerFactory.GetLogger("MyComponent");
    _loggerC = loggerFactory.GetLogger<MyComponent>();
// even more elegant
public MyComponent(
    ILoggerFactory<MyComponent> loggerFactoryA
    ILoggerFactory<MyComponent> loggerFactoryB)
    _loggerA = loggerFactoryA.GetLogger();
    _loggerB = loggerFactoryB.GetLogger();

We decided to go with the second approach, which is a a simpler solution. This needs a dependency injection container that supports open generics like Ninject, Autofac and LightCore.

Implementing the LoggerFactory

Using Ninject the binding of open generics looks like this:


This binding creates an instance of LoggerFactory<T> using the requested generic argument. If I request for an ILoggerFactory<HomeController>, Ninject creates an instance of LoggerFactory<HomeController>.

We register this as an singleton to reuse the ILog instances as we would do using the usual way to create the ILog instance in a private static variable.

The implementation of the LoggerFactory is pretty easy. We use the generic argument to create the log4net ILog instance:

public interface ILoggerFactory<T>
	ILog GetLogger();

public class LoggerFactory<T> : ILoggerFactory<T>
    private ILog _logger;
    public ILog GetLogger()
        if (_logger == null)
            var type = typeof(T);
            _logger = LogManager.GetLogger(typeof(T));
        return _logger;

We need to ensure the logger is created before creating a new one. Because Ninject creates a new instance of the LoggerFactory per generic argument, the LoggerFactory don't need to care about the different loggers. It just stores a single specific logger.


Now we are able to create one or more named loggers per component.

What we cannot do, using this approach is to create individual named loggers, using a specific string as a name. There is a type needed that gets passed as generic argument. So every time we need an individual named logger we need to create a specific type. In our case this is not a big problem.

If you don't like to create types just to create individual named loggers, feel free to implement a non generic LoggerFactory and make a generic GetLogger method as well as a GetLogger method that accepts strings as logger names.

If you found any error on this post, feel free to tell me: Add a comment below, file an issue on GitHub or edit this page on GitHub and send me an PullRequest.

Do you like this post? If yes, please share this post on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Reddit or just share this and click on the banner below. Thanks :)

Jürgen Gutsch Jürgen Gutsch
.NET junkie, addicted to web and software development, clean coder, MVP for Developer Technologies