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Retrospective 4.2.0 - Column Split is back!

Posted: 25 Aug 2017, 10:23
by centeractive
Retrospective version 4.2.0 has been released and that the “Column Split” feature is back but in a much more versatile version than ever before.

The now named “Custom Columns” feature grants you full control over how data shall be extracted from log entries and how it has to be presented in the result table. In many cases there are no strict rules on how to produce log data, hence the semantically same information can appear in different places and with distinct formats all over your log files. Therefore Retrospective now allows you to assign multiple name-value pattern fields and character separated fields to individual Custom Columns. The features allows for quick and effective extraction of tabular data from unstructured log data.

Name-value pattern fields
A common practice in programming is to log contextual information using name-value patterns. Often many different patterns make it hard to extract meaningful data and work on it in a column-oriented way. Fortunately Retrospective now thinks like many programmers and knows about commonly used name-value patterns. Thus it actively assists you by detecting such patterns during auto-configuration of new log sources and optionally also during the search and monitoring process. Potential data patterns are proposed as fields to be assigned to Custom Columns. Beside the automatically detected fields, you may also define your own fields using regular expressions. Additionally a range of predefined fields are available for common use cases such as currencies, e-mail addresses, IP addresses, and more.

Character Separated Fields
Sometimes you’ll face situations where your log files contain CSV formatted data (comma separated values). When individual log entries of such files are split by a certain character like the comma or the semicolon, a number of fields is obtained. All fields at a given position, but from different log entries, have typically the same semantics. The field at position one may contain the customer number, the field at position two its name, the field at position three an action code, and so on. Retrospective splits such data and displays the resulting fields in individual columns.

The collected data in the result table can be filtered and sorted by Custom Columns and these columns can be exported to Excel and now also to CSV files.

The new Highlighting feature lets you emphasize individual rows and data in the result detail view through instant color highlighting or by selecting predefined or self-made highlighting sets. Highlighting Sets are based on a collection of matchers. Each matcher contains an expression for finding a phrase and a definition (color and font) for highlighting that phrase.

Custom Columns, Highlighting Sets and many other new features make Retrospective version 4.2.0 a milestone in our efforts to provide the best possible ad-hoc log analysis experience. More Retrospective extensions are coming soon. That tenacious little data analyzer will not stop evolving.