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A real time log file viewer

, 17 May 2004
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A real time log file viewer.

ABLogFile Screen Shot


ABLogFile is a very simple and easy to use real time log file viewer. All that is required is to open a text based log file, this program will check for any changes to the file and automatically display them on the screen. The new changes are displayed in a bright color and then fade to the normal text color. It also automatically scrolls to the newest line. ABLogFile supports a very basic find function.


This program was thought up in the early hours of the night a couple of weeks ago. I was doing some work, a program that updated a file every couple of seconds. My problem was, if I wanted to see the changes, I had to keep reopening the file, thus ABLogFile was thought of.

Points of Interest

The hardest part of the project was how to organize the data in memory, so that it is easy to add new data, keep track of the changes, and quick to display the data. What I ended up doing after a number of sleepless nights of coding, was to store the entire log file in memory, create an array of pointers that point to the starting position of each line, and another array of sections which keep track of the changes to the log file. Another tricky bit was to work out what the line delimiter was in the file, the way that I ended up writing it was to search for a number of different delimiters, this part will definitely be redesigned shortly. Apart from the above mentioned, it was pretty straight forward.


Of course, there are some limitations:

  • The log file is currently stored in memory, therefore there may be a problem viewing very large files.
  • With the way that the auto delimiter works, if the second line is blank then the file will not be displayed properly.
  • This program will only keep track of data newly appended to the file, it will not work with data getting changed in the file.


  • Tabbed MDI view Copyright © by Dundas Software.


I believe this project to be of great benefit, I will be willing to add features as people suggest them. This program currently does what was originally required by myself. So, please let me know of any features required.

  • V 2004-05-13
    • First public release of binary and source code.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Software Developer (Senior)
Australia Australia
Started programming many many years ago, now a full time C++ developer writing medical software. I have also been known to dabble in electronics. Currently looking to go back to university to study electronic engineering.

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Comments and Discussions

QuestionHow to use it ...? Pin
Nusha2415-Jul-05 21:41
memberNusha2415-Jul-05 21:41 
AnswerRe: How to use it ...? Pin
amleth15-Jul-05 22:00
memberamleth15-Jul-05 22:00 
GeneralNew Version Available Pin
amleth1-Jul-04 19:22
memberamleth1-Jul-04 19:22 
GeneralUnable to load file > 1MB thru mapped drive Pin
Hilary Wong27-May-04 19:00
memberHilary Wong27-May-04 19:00 
GeneralRe: Unable to load file > 1MB thru mapped drive Pin
amleth27-May-04 19:16
memberamleth27-May-04 19:16 
GeneralA nice, freeware alternative: baretail Pin
dtr227-May-04 2:51
memberdtr227-May-04 2:51 
GeneralVer Pin
amleth26-May-04 18:41
memberamleth26-May-04 18:41 
GeneralRe: Ver Pin
Jaroslav Klumpler28-May-04 0:20
memberJaroslav Klumpler28-May-04 0:20 
GeneralRe: Ver Pin
sylvain222228-May-04 6:53
membersylvain222228-May-04 6:53 
GeneralEven more troubles Pin
Jaroslav Klumpler26-May-04 2:15
memberJaroslav Klumpler26-May-04 2:15 
GeneralRe: Even more troubles Pin
amleth26-May-04 3:09
memberamleth26-May-04 3:09 
GeneralRe: Even more troubles Pin
Jaroslav Klumpler26-May-04 3:52
memberJaroslav Klumpler26-May-04 3:52 
GeneralTabs Pin
Stas Elensky26-May-04 0:39
memberStas Elensky26-May-04 0:39 
Nice tool Smile | :)
I have a suggestion for you regarding the UI of the program.
When openning several files and the tabs do not fit one line some tabs are placed at the top while others are at the bottom. When selecting a tab at the top it moves to the bottom. This confuses... I think it will be better to always use one line for displaying the tabs and use scrolling if necessary. Also the part of tab title may be omitted. This will make more tabs visible at a time.
GeneralRe: Tabs Pin
amleth26-May-04 1:54
memberamleth26-May-04 1:54 
GeneralNice try but... :-) Pin
Peter Hendrix26-May-04 0:26
memberPeter Hendrix26-May-04 0:26 
GeneralRe: Nice try but... :-) Pin
amleth26-May-04 2:02
memberamleth26-May-04 2:02 
GeneralAhhh, for some tail -f logfile.txt Pin
Anonymous25-May-04 14:50
sussAnonymous25-May-04 14:50 
GeneralSetting Pin
Bydia20-May-04 17:22
sussBydia20-May-04 17:22 
GeneralRe: Setting Pin
amleth20-May-04 17:54
memberamleth20-May-04 17:54 
GeneralRe: Setting Pin
Bydia20-May-04 19:39
memberBydia20-May-04 19:39 
GeneralRe: Setting Pin
amleth20-May-04 19:48
memberamleth20-May-04 19:48 
GeneralTraceTool Pin
Thierry Parent18-May-04 7:52
memberThierry Parent18-May-04 7:52 
GeneralRe: TraceTool Pin
amleth18-May-04 10:41
memberamleth18-May-04 10:41 
GeneralTroubles Pin
JCrane218-May-04 7:31
memberJCrane218-May-04 7:31 
GeneralRe: Troubles Pin
amleth18-May-04 10:36
memberamleth18-May-04 10:36 
GeneralRe: Troubles Pin
JCrane219-May-04 10:46
memberJCrane219-May-04 10:46 
GeneralRe: Troubles Pin
amleth19-May-04 12:35
memberamleth19-May-04 12:35 
GeneralRe: Troubles Pin
amleth20-May-04 0:39
memberamleth20-May-04 0:39 

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