A big part of troubleshooting is getting the necessary information. That's the main reason why it is so simple in Mail Archiver to send the session logs. Select Help -> Send Error Report, click on the Send button, done. With the logs I usually need the end to see roughly where a crash happened.

Why use BackLog and not Console

Since a couple of macOS versions the Console has too much information. There is chatter and more chatter. Even using the Console has a lot of steps.

Even worse is that users usually need to know after a crash what happened in the Console. That's not possible in the Console at all. Instead it's necessary to "start streaming" before a crash.

The app BackLog from Eternal Storms improves the troubleshooting process of getting log information.

Using BackLog

BackLog has a simple interface:

Backlog interface

I need to set three things to get started:

  1. The process needs to be set to a running app.
  2. The date time range needs to be set. The smaller the date range the better. There is a context menu to set a the datetime from a time interval:
    Set time intervall
  3. Of course, I want to fetch information for another app. So the checkbox "Include logs not directly created by this binary" needs to be set.

Clicking on Load Logs gives me the log information for my app:

The above logs are from Mail Archiver starting up.

This is a so much better interface than the Console has. But BackLog has a super clever additional "trick". Anyone who has tried to build a cupboard from Ikea knows that following instructions is hard. The less the number of instructions and the more simple the instructions the better.

If a user has a crash at a specific time then I can make a special link for the user to fetch the logs for that time.

After setting the app and the datetime values in BackLog for the time of the crash I can use a menu entry in the file menu to make a special url:

File menu

The result is something like the url below:

backlog://?process=Mail%20Archiver%20X&start=2022-02-12%2012:12:35+0100&end=2022-02-12%2012:40:16+0100&verbose=0&debug=0&info=0&release=0&error=0&fault=0&v=1

I can now send the url to a user. The user only has to click on the url to fill in the values needed by BackLog. The user then only needs to fetch the log data and can use the sharing menu:

Sharing menu in BackLog

to send me an email. Even the email has a better format than the Console sharing has. The data is added as text attachment and not added to the message body.

There is one feature missing from BackLog. Sometimes the time of the crash is not known or the user wants to experiment himself with BackLog. Therefore, the url needs to be able to have a relative time ("last 30 minutes") in addition to a fixed date time. I've asked the developer to consider the feature for a possible new version.

Other than the small missing feature I think BackLog is much easier to use than the Console app.