Friday, November 18, 2011

How to display XML data in Adiscon LogAnalyzer?

Log files usually do not contain XML data. However, this does not mean logs are necessarily non-XML. A prominent example is IHE, which transports XML documents inside syslog message. My post on Adiscon LogAnalyzer 3.3 drew some interesting comments from John Moerke, who sees use for it in an IHE environment.

I have now discussed with Andre on how to integrate such functionality inside the log analyzer. There are obviously a couple of questions to address, but a core question is how to deal with the hierarchic structure that XML offers. Traditionally, log file contain flat name-value pairs, so they can easily be mapped into a two-dimensional array (which is what you see when you look at Adiscon LogAnalyzer). The application is build around this concept. So a fundamental question is how to make sense out of an XML stream. An obvious answer is that we may display some fields in a flat overview, but display the full structure in detail view. This makes sense, but there are ample complexities in things like queries. Plus, it would probably require big changes to the engine.

Putting implementation effort aside for the moment, the big question is how users (you!) would like to work with XML data in a tool like Adiscon LogAnalyzer. Feedback is most appreciated!

1 comment:

John Moehrke said...

The XML used by IHE is defined by DICOM (the standard defined for use with X-Ray like devices and others that use images in healthcare). The specific section that defines this audit log message XML is at ftp://medical.nema.org/medical/dicom/final/sup95_ft.doc

This also includes, embedded in the document, the XML schema.