Consolation 3.0b6 (fc1): building an infinitely customizable log browser

I am delighted to offer the sixth beta-release, and first final candidate, of my log browser for macOS Sierra’s unified log, which is now I think fully feature-complete and functional. This offers the following major new features:

  • a user-defined library of predicates, which make repeated log extracts much easier, and support complex predicates with many terms;
  • a user-defined library of display styles, so that you can see only the log information that you want; these include selection and ordering of any of the sixteen different fields of log entries, and colour styles which greatly aid browsing;
  • a user-defined library of search terms, with which to filter log extracts for display; you can use simple case-insensitive search, or apply regular expressions, which are case-sensitive;
  • those custom libraries can now be exported to, and imported from, property list files, which add great flexibility and power.

This release also fixes a problem which required you to close a window in order to access changes to those custom menus, and adds remaining Tooltips. It does not yet have an updated Help book, which is my next remaining task (in addition to fixing bugs) prior to final release.


Consolation 3 stores custom settings in its normal preferences file, but the addition of menu commands to import and export those settings is powerful. You can, for example, build a general-purpose library which you could import when you need to run Consolation on another Mac – this enables portability for sysadmins, developers, and forensic analysts.

It also allows you to build suites of custom features for specific purposes – such as debugging apps, or looking at systems within macOS. I will describe in a future article some of the neat ways that these property lists can be used. Because they are outside the Mac’s somewhat painful management of preference files, you can also edit them independently, using any decent text, XML or PList editor.

With the addition of this feature, Consolation 3 can now do a lot of things with Sierra’s log that no other tool – not even the log command itself – can do, but remains quick and easy to use for routine tasks such as checking Time Machine backups.

The latest release is available from Downloads above. It comes with an example custom library, and a ‘factory defaults’ one, and extensive documentation in addition to its Help book.

I hope that you find it useful. Please report any bugs or problems here, or by email to me.