Working on the UI for Seq 2 involved a lot of time at the command line with Node.js-based tools like npm, Gulp and Mocha, and the output from these is great. There’s heaps of love put into great formatted and colored output in the Node.js ecosystem, and switching back to .NET on the server left me with console envy…!

A few months back I decided to take matters into my own hands and see how Serilog’s trusty old colored console output could be improved upon. The result was the Literate Console sink, it’s now become my go-to option for command line apps.

Here are a few typical Serilog events:

Log.Debug("Starting up on {MachineName} at {WorkingSet} bytes", machineName, workingSet);
Log.Information("Hello, {Name}!", userName);
Log.Information("Recieved order {@Order}", new { Item = "Dessert", Quantity = 3, IsReady = true });
Log.Error(ex, "Could not divide {Numerator} by {Denominator}", numerator, denominator);

And here’s how they’re rendered by the Literate Console sink:

Literate

If you look closely, you’ll see that in fact all of the properties are colored according to type: strings are cyan, numbers magenta, Booleans blue and other miscellany get a fetching green.

Hence the name: Literate Programming intersperses readable text with chunks of executable code; Literate Logging (okay, I confess I just made that up) intersperses the text with chunks of structured data.

You can WriteTo.LiterateConsole() by installing the Serilog.Sinks.Literate NuGet package. Enjoy!

(Know a .NET project with great console output? I’d love to check it out - let’s hear about it! :-))