Browsing your log with Woodpile: Clarity and detail

If you’ve been scared off looking in Sierra’s, or High Sierra’s, new log, take a look at this latest version of Woodpile, which now has its core function complete. It can take you down to look at brief moments – a few seconds if you wish – with amazing clarity, without the clutter of irrelevant messages.

Its starting point is a logarchive, which it will make for you, or you could examine one brought over from another Mac, or possibly an iOS device. It analyses data on the logs which have been gathered over the last three months or so (macOS), so that you can select one of the processes which has made significant numbers of log entries in that period.


Here I’ve selected the kernel, for which it first reveals historic patterns. Logs shown using dark blue or red bars are still accessible, most in full. I then clicked on one of those peaks, to zoom in on that log file alone.


Woodpile then displays a frequency chart for the duration of that log file, here a total of about ten hours, in which the kernel wrote messages in two main peaks. Each of those represents over 10,000 log messages in the course of less than ten minutes – far to much to try browsing using a conventional log browser, even Consolation. So I clicked on one of those peaks to examine that period in more detail.


Within those ten minutes or so, almost all the messages are concentrated in a period of about two minutes, when the kernel wrote over 1,000 messages every 13 seconds or so. I then Command-clicked on one of those peaks to zoom in further and browse a log excerpt.


This shows bursts of an identical message about a sandbox violation.

To zoom back out, I right-click (two-finger tap) back up to the top level.

You can open multiple windows, looking at different processes over the same time periods, or the same process over different time periods, as you wish.

This new version of Woodpile no longer needs you to browse the log entries separately in Consolation: they are shown here for you when you Command-click on a chart bar.

It also fixes a crashing bug in the previous version, which resulted when Woodpile was unable to extract any log entries from an existing log file, typically an older Special file which had been weeded heavily by logd.

It’s available from here: woodpile10b1
and in Downloads above.