Node.js

This guide will show you how to get started with tracing in Node.js.

Prerequisites

Ensure that you have the following installed locally:

Example Application

This is a small example application we will monitor in this guide.

Dependencies

Create an empty package.json:

npm init -f

Install dependencies used by the example.

npm install express typescript ts-node @types/express @types/node 
npm install express

Code

If you are using TypeScript, then run following command:

tsc --init

Create app.ts|js and add the following code to the file:

/*app.ts*/
import express, { Express } from "express";

const PORT: number = parseInt(process.env.PORT || "8080");
const app: Express = express();

app.get("/", (req, res) => {
  res.send("Hello World");
});

app.listen(PORT, () => {
  console.log(`Listening for requests on http://localhost:${PORT}`);
});
/*app.js*/
const express = require("express");

const PORT = parseInt(process.env.PORT || "8080");
const app = express();

app.get("/", (req, res) => {
  res.send("Hello World");
});

app.listen(PORT, () => {
  console.log(`Listening for requests on http://localhost:${PORT}`);
});

Run the application with the following request and open http://localhost:8080 in your web browser to ensure it is working.

$ ts-node app.ts
Listening for requests on http://localhost:8080
$ node app.js
Listening for requests on http://localhost:8080

Tracing

Dependencies

The following dependencies are required to trace a Node.js application.

Core Dependencies

These dependencies are required to configure the tracing SDK and create spans.

npm install @opentelemetry/sdk-node @opentelemetry/api

Exporter

In the following example, we will use the ConsoleSpanExporter which prints all spans to the console.

In order to visualize and analyze your traces, you will need to export them to a tracing backend. Follow these instructions for setting up a backend and exporter.

You may also want to use the BatchSpanProcessor to export spans in batches in order to more efficiently use resources.

Instrumentation Modules

Many common modules such as the http standard library module, express, and others can be automatically instrumented using autoinstrumentation modules. To find autoinstrumenatation modules, you can look at the registry.

You can also install all instrumentations maintained by the OpenTelemetry authors by using the @opentelemetry/auto-instrumentations-node module.

npm install @opentelemetry/auto-instrumentations-node

Setup

The tracing setup and configuration should be run before your application code. One tool commonly used for this task is the -r, --require module flag.

Create a file named tracing.ts|js, which will contain your tracing setup code.

/*tracing.ts*/
// Require dependencies
import * as opentelemetry from "@opentelemetry/sdk-node";
import { getNodeAutoInstrumentations } from "@opentelemetry/auto-instrumentations-node";
import { diag, DiagConsoleLogger, DiagLogLevel } from '@opentelemetry/api';

// For troubleshooting, set the log level to DiagLogLevel.DEBUG
diag.setLogger(new DiagConsoleLogger(), DiagLogLevel.INFO);

const sdk = new opentelemetry.NodeSDK({
  traceExporter: new opentelemetry.tracing.ConsoleSpanExporter(),
  instrumentations: [getNodeAutoInstrumentations()]
});

sdk.start()
/*tracing.js*/
// Require dependencies
const opentelemetry = require("@opentelemetry/sdk-node");
const { getNodeAutoInstrumentations } = require("@opentelemetry/auto-instrumentations-node");
const { diag, DiagConsoleLogger, DiagLogLevel } = require('@opentelemetry/api');

// For troubleshooting, set the log level to DiagLogLevel.DEBUG
diag.setLogger(new DiagConsoleLogger(), DiagLogLevel.INFO);

const sdk = new opentelemetry.NodeSDK({
  traceExporter: new opentelemetry.tracing.ConsoleSpanExporter(),
  instrumentations: [getNodeAutoInstrumentations()]
});

sdk.start()

Run Application

Now you can run your application as you normally would, but you can use the --require flag to load the tracing code before the application code.

$ ts-node --require './tracing.ts' app.ts
Listening for requests on http://localhost:8080
$ node --require './tracing.js' app.js
Listening for requests on http://localhost:8080

Open http://localhost:8080 in your web browser and reload the page a few times, after a while you should see the spans printed in the console by the ConsoleSpanExporter.

View example output
{
  "traceId": "3f1fe6256ea46d19ec3ca97b3409ad6d",
  "parentId": "f0b7b340dd6e08a7",
  "name": "middleware - query",
  "id": "41a27f331c7bfed3",
  "kind": 0,
  "timestamp": 1624982589722992,
  "duration": 417,
  "attributes": {
    "http.route": "/",
    "express.name": "query",
    "express.type": "middleware"
  },
  "status": { "code": 0 },
  "events": []
}
{
  "traceId": "3f1fe6256ea46d19ec3ca97b3409ad6d",
  "parentId": "f0b7b340dd6e08a7",
  "name": "middleware - expressInit",
  "id": "e0ed537a699f652a",
  "kind": 0,
  "timestamp": 1624982589725778,
  "duration": 673,
  "attributes": {
    "http.route": "/",
    "express.name": "expressInit",
    "express.type": "middleware"
  },
  "status": { code: 0 },
  "events": []
}
{
  "traceId": "3f1fe6256ea46d19ec3ca97b3409ad6d",
  "parentId": "f0b7b340dd6e08a7",
  "name": "request handler - /",
  "id": "8614a81e1847b7ef",
  "kind": 0,
  "timestamp": 1624982589726941,
  "duration": 21,
  "attributes": {
    "http.route": "/",
    "express.name": "/",
    "express.type": "request_handler"
  },
  "status": { code: 0 },
  "events": []
}
{
  "traceId": "3f1fe6256ea46d19ec3ca97b3409ad6d",
  "parentId": undefined,
  "name": "GET /",
  "id": "f0b7b340dd6e08a7",
  "kind": 1,
  "timestamp": 1624982589720260,
  "duration": 11380,
  "attributes": {
    "http.url": "http://localhost:8080/",
    "http.host": "localhost:8080",
    "net.host.name": "localhost",
    "http.method": "GET",
    "http.route": "",
    "http.target": "/",
    "http.user_agent": "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_15_7) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/91.0.4472.114 Safari/537.36",
    "http.flavor": "1.1",
    "net.transport": "ip_tcp",
    "net.host.ip": "::1",
    "net.host.port": 8080,
    "net.peer.ip": "::1",
    "net.peer.port": 61520,
    "http.status_code": 304,
    "http.status_text": "NOT MODIFIED"
  },
  "status": { "code": 1 },
  "events": []
}

Next Steps

Enrich your instrumentation generated automatically with manual instrumentation of your own codebase. This gets you customized observability data.

You’ll also want to configure an appropriate exporter to export your telemetry data to one or more telemetry backends.

Troubleshooting

Did something go wrong? Remember that you need to explicitly enable logging in order to see logs from OpenTelemetry:

/*tracing.ts*/
import { diag, DiagConsoleLogger, DiagLogLevel } from '@opentelemetry/api';

// For troubleshooting, set the log level to DiagLogLevel.DEBUG
diag.setLogger(new DiagConsoleLogger(), DiagLogLevel.INFO);

// const sdk = new opentelemetry.NodeSDK({...
/*tracing.js*/
// Require dependencies
const { diag, DiagConsoleLogger, DiagLogLevel } = require('@opentelemetry/api');

// For troubleshooting, set the log level to DiagLogLevel.DEBUG
diag.setLogger(new DiagConsoleLogger(), DiagLogLevel.INFO);

// const sdk = new opentelemetry.NodeSDK({...

Last modified December 5, 2022: Update nodejs.md (#2075) (219f5c4)