How to write a Java input pluginedit

To develop a new Java input for Logstash, you write a new Java class that conforms to the Logstash Java Inputs API, package it, and install it with the logstash-plugin utility. We’ll go through each of those steps.

Set up your environmentedit

Copy the example repoedit

Start by copying the example input plugin. The plugin API is currently part of the Logstash codebase so you must have a local copy of that available. You can obtain a copy of the Logstash codebase with the following git command:

git clone --branch <branch_name> --single-branch https://github.com/elastic/logstash.git <target_folder>

The branch_name should correspond to the version of Logstash containing the preferred revision of the Java plugin API.

Note

The GA version of the Java plugin API is available in the 7.2 and later branches of the Logstash codebase.

Specify the target_folder for your local copy of the Logstash codebase. If you do not specify target_folder, it defaults to a new folder called logstash under your current folder.

Generate the .jar fileedit

After you have obtained a copy of the appropriate revision of the Logstash codebase, you need to compile it to generate the .jar file containing the Java plugin API. From the root directory of your Logstash codebase ($LS_HOME), you can compile it with ./gradlew assemble (or gradlew.bat assemble if you’re running on Windows). This should produce the $LS_HOME/logstash-core/build/libs/logstash-core-x.y.z.jar where x, y, and z refer to the version of Logstash.

After you have successfully compiled Logstash, you need to tell your Java plugin where to find the logstash-core-x.y.z.jar file. Create a new file named gradle.properties in the root folder of your plugin project. That file should have a single line:

LOGSTASH_CORE_PATH=<target_folder>/logstash-core

where target_folder is the root folder of your local copy of the Logstash codebase.

Code the pluginedit

The example input plugin generates a configurable number of simple events before terminating. Let’s look at the main class in the example input.

@LogstashPlugin(name="java_input_example")
public class JavaInputExample implements Input {

    public static final PluginConfigSpec<Long> EVENT_COUNT_CONFIG =
            PluginConfigSpec.numSetting("count", 3);

    public static final PluginConfigSpec<String> PREFIX_CONFIG =
            PluginConfigSpec.stringSetting("prefix", "message");

    private String id;
    private long count;
    private String prefix;
    private final CountDownLatch done = new CountDownLatch(1);
    private volatile boolean stopped;


    public JavaInputExample(String id, Configuration config, Context context) {
            this.id = id;
        count = config.get(EVENT_COUNT_CONFIG);
        prefix = config.get(PREFIX_CONFIG);
    }

    @Override
    public void start(Consumer<Map<String, Object>> consumer) {
        int eventCount = 0;
        try {
            while (!stopped && eventCount < count) {
                eventCount++;
                consumer.accept.push(Collections.singletonMap("message",
                        prefix + " " + StringUtils.center(eventCount + " of " + count, 20)));
            }
        } finally {
            stopped = true;
            done.countDown();
        }
    }

    @Override
    public void stop() {
        stopped = true; // set flag to request cooperative stop of input
    }

    @Override
    public void awaitStop() throws InterruptedException {
        done.await(); // blocks until input has stopped
    }

    @Override
    public Collection<PluginConfigSpec<?>> configSchema() {
        return Arrays.asList(EVENT_COUNT_CONFIG, PREFIX_CONFIG);
    }

    @Override
    public String getId() {
        return this.id;
    }
}

Let’s step through and examine each part of that class.

Class declarationedit

@LogstashPlugin(name="java_input_example")
public class JavaInputExample implements Input {

Notes about the class declaration:

  • All Java plugins must be annotated with the @LogstashPlugin annotation. Additionally:

    • The name property of the annotation must be supplied and defines the name of the plugin as it will be used in the Logstash pipeline definition. For example, this input would be referenced in the input section of the Logstash pipeline defintion as input { java_input_example => { .... } }
    • The value of the name property must match the name of the class excluding casing and underscores.
  • The class must implement the co.elastic.logstash.api.Input interface.
  • Java plugins may not be created in the org.logstash or co.elastic.logstash packages to prevent potential clashes with classes in Logstash itself.

Plugin settingsedit

The snippet below contains both the setting definition and the method referencing it.

public static final PluginConfigSpec<Long> EVENT_COUNT_CONFIG =
        PluginConfigSpec.numSetting("count", 3);

public static final PluginConfigSpec<String> PREFIX_CONFIG =
        PluginConfigSpec.stringSetting("prefix", "message");

@Override
public Collection<PluginConfigSpec<?>> configSchema() {
    return Arrays.asList(EVENT_COUNT_CONFIG, PREFIX_CONFIG);
}

The PluginConfigSpec class allows developers to specify the settings that a plugin supports complete with setting name, data type, deprecation status, required status, and default value. In this example, the count setting defines the number of events that will be generated and the prefix setting defines an optional prefix to include in the event field. Neither setting is required and if it is not explicitly set, the settings default to 3 and message, respectively.

The configSchema method must return a list of all settings that the plugin supports. In a future phase of the Java plugin project, the Logstash execution engine will validate that all required settings are present and that no unsupported settings are present.

Constructor and initializationedit

private String id;
private long count;
private String prefix;

public JavaInputExample(String id, Configuration config, Context context) {
    this.id = id;
    count = config.get(EVENT_COUNT_CONFIG);
    prefix = config.get(PREFIX_CONFIG);
}

All Java input plugins must have a constructor taking a String id and Configuration and Context argument. This is the constructor that will be used to instantiate them at runtime. The retrieval and validation of all plugin settings should occur in this constructor. In this example, the values of the two plugin settings are retrieved and stored in local variables for later use in the start method.

Any additional initialization may occur in the constructor as well. If there are any unrecoverable errors encountered in the configuration or initialization of the input plugin, a descriptive exception should be thrown. The exception will be logged and will prevent Logstash from starting.

Start methodedit

@Override
public void start(Consumer<Map<String, Object>> consumer) {
    int eventCount = 0;
    try {
        while (!stopped && eventCount < count) {
            eventCount++;
            consumer.accept.push(Collections.singletonMap("message",
                    prefix + " " + StringUtils.center(eventCount + " of " + count, 20)));
        }
    } finally {
        stopped = true;
        done.countDown();
    }
}

The start method begins the event-producing loop in an input. Inputs are flexible and may produce events through many different mechanisms including:

  • a pull mechanism such as periodic queries of external database
  • a push mechanism such as events sent from clients to a local network port
  • a timed computation such as a heartbeat
  • any other mechanism that produces a useful stream of events. Event streams may be either finite or infinite. If the input produces an infinite stream of events, this method should loop until a stop request is made through the stop method. If the input produces a finite stream of events, this method should terminate when the last event in the stream is produced or a stop request is made, whichever comes first.

Events should be constructed as instances of Map<String, Object> and pushed into the event pipeline via the Consumer<Map<String, Object>>.accept() method. To reduce allocations and GC pressure, inputs may reuse the same map instance by modifying its fields between calls to Consumer<Map<String, Object>>.accept() because the event pipeline will create events based on a copy of the map’s data.

Stop and awaitStop methodsedit

private final CountDownLatch done = new CountDownLatch(1);
private volatile boolean stopped;

@Override
public void stop() {
    stopped = true; // set flag to request cooperative stop of input
}

@Override
public void awaitStop() throws InterruptedException {
    done.await(); // blocks until input has stopped
}

The stop method notifies the input to stop producing events. The stop mechanism may be implemented in any way that honors the API contract though a volatile boolean flag works well for many use cases.

Inputs stop both asynchronously and cooperatively. Use the awaitStop method to block until the input has completed the stop process. Note that this method should not signal the input to stop as the stop method does. The awaitStop mechanism may be implemented in any way that honors the API contract though a CountDownLatch works well for many use cases.

getId methodedit

@Override
public String getId() {
    return id;
}

For input plugins, the getId method should always return the id that was provided to the plugin through its constructor at instantiation time.

Unit testsedit

Lastly, but certainly not least importantly, unit tests are strongly encouraged. The example input plugin includes an example unit test that you can use as a template for your own.

Package and deployedit

Java plugins are packaged as Ruby gems for dependency management and interoperability with Ruby plugins. Once they are packaged as gems, they may be installed with the logstash-plugin utility just as Ruby plugins are. Because no knowledge of Ruby or its toolchain should be required for Java plugin development, the procedure for packaging Java plugins as Ruby gems has been automated through a custom task in the Gradle build file provided with the example Java plugins. The following sections describe how to configure and execute that packaging task as well as how to install the packaged Java plugin in Logstash.

Configuring the Gradle packaging taskedit

The following section appears near the top of the build.gradle file supplied with the example Java plugins:

// ===========================================================================
// plugin info
// ===========================================================================
group                      'org.logstashplugins' // must match the package of the main plugin class
version                    "${file("VERSION").text.trim()}" // read from required VERSION file
description                = "Example Java filter implementation"
pluginInfo.licenses        = ['Apache-2.0'] // list of SPDX license IDs
pluginInfo.longDescription = "This gem is a Logstash plugin required to be installed on top of the Logstash core pipeline using \$LS_HOME/bin/logstash-plugin install gemname. This gem is not a stand-alone program"
pluginInfo.authors         = ['Elasticsearch']
pluginInfo.email           = ['info@elastic.co']
pluginInfo.homepage        = "http://www.elastic.co/guide/en/logstash/current/index.html"
pluginInfo.pluginType      = "filter"
pluginInfo.pluginClass     = "JavaFilterExample"
pluginInfo.pluginName      = "java_filter_example"
// ===========================================================================

You should configure the values above for your plugin.

  • The version value will be automatically read from the VERSION file in the root of your plugin’s codebase.
  • pluginInfo.pluginType should be set to one of input, filter, codec, or output.
  • pluginInfo.pluginName must match the name specified on the @LogstashPlugin annotation on the main plugin class. The Gradle packaging task will validate that and return an error if they do not match.

Running the Gradle packaging taskedit

Several Ruby source files along with a gemspec file and a Gemfile are required to package the plugin as a Ruby gem. These Ruby files are used only for defining the Ruby gem structure or at Logstash startup time to register the Java plugin. They are not used during runtime event processing. The Gradle packaging task automatically generates all of these files based on the values configured in the section above.

You run the Gradle packaging task with the following command:

./gradlew gem

For Windows platforms: Substitute gradlew.bat for ./gradlew as appropriate in the command.

That task will produce a gem file in the root directory of your plugin’s codebase with the name logstash-{plugintype}-<pluginName>-<version>.gem

Installing the Java plugin in Logstashedit

After you have packaged your Java plugin as a Ruby gem, you can install it in Logstash with this command:

bin/logstash-plugin install --no-verify --local /path/to/javaPlugin.gem

For Windows platforms: Substitute backslashes for forward slashes as appropriate in the command.

Running Logstash with the Java input pluginedit

The following is a minimal Logstash configuration that can be used to test that the Java input plugin is correctly installed and functioning.

input {
  java_input_example {}
}
output {
  stdout { codec => rubydebug }
}

Copy the above Logstash configuration to a file such as java_input.conf. Start Logstash with:

bin/logstash -f /path/to/java_input.conf
Note

The Java execution engine, the default execution engine since Logstash 7.0, is required as Java plugins are not supported in the Ruby execution engine.

The expected Logstash output (excluding initialization) with the configuration above is:

{
      "@version" => "1",
       "message" => "message        1 of 3       ",
    "@timestamp" => yyyy-MM-ddThh:mm:ss.SSSZ
}
{
      "@version" => "1",
       "message" => "message        2 of 3       ",
    "@timestamp" => yyyy-MM-ddThh:mm:ss.SSSZ
}
{
      "@version" => "1",
       "message" => "message        3 of 3       ",
    "@timestamp" => yyyy-MM-ddThh:mm:ss.SSSZ
}

Feedbackedit

If you have any feedback on Java plugin support in Logstash, please comment on our main Github issue or post in the Logstash forum.