glTail.rb – Realtime Logfile Visualization

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Screenshot of glTail demo movie

For the techies in the crowd, I have been playing with glTail.rb for the past few days, a new ruby-based log file visualization script. Installed locally on a PC or laptop, glTail.rb SSH connects to and tails multiple Apache, Rails, or IIS web server log files and provides realtime site traffic visualization. (Instead of trying to explain the interface, see the movie above or demo on the glTail site.) Installation and setup is easy. I use Locomotive as my local ruby environment so I opened an existing Rails project, launched the Locomotive terminal and completed the required gem installs which added the gems the Locomotive library.

Watching glTail is incredibly addictive. Most interesting is seeing the single requests for email forms and single site images, such as the Linux and Apache icons on the lower right of my blog, from places in the Netherlands and South America, and from various web forum sites. Needless to say I’ve been having fun with these would be spammers and bandwidth thieves. More on that in another post. In the meantime, give glTail a try.