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An Acqal client had asked me to provide them a list of front end web site changes between two specific dates. TYPO3 comes with a built-in Log (see “Log” in the image below).

TYPO3 Admin Tools MenuHowever, what one gets when running a Log report can be quite confusing for someone not familiar with the terminology one sees. In addition, the Log really doesn’t tell you specifically what was changed, particularly with content, which is what the client was interested in. User names may or may not be understood, etc. Bottom line is that the normal TYPO3 Log report is not detailed enough and readable for many audiences.

Use of the log_analyzer and difference_viewer TYPO3 extensions greatly improve how one can look at and examine logs. These two extensions were written by TYPO3 support guru, Michael Cannon, and are available in The TYPO3 Extension Repository.

In addition to being a more readable and detailed report, the log_analyzer can enhance security, as it makes identifying changes, when they occurred, and what user made them quick and easy, in addition to specific changes made with use of the difference_viewer. In fact, installation of log_analyzer is recommended in the TYPO3 Security Checklist: Die wichtigsten Massnahmen für TYPO3-Administratoren, um eine TYPO3-Installation sicherer zu machen, Version 0.9.2 vom 7. Oktober 2009, by Martin Sauter (in German). Note that this is an excellent document and, even if you don’t read German, is worth a look.

Let’s take a look at some screen shots to illustrate my points:

View of typical Log Report:

Next, a view of the filtering options available in the log_analyzer report:

Next, a view of a typical log_analyzer report. Clicking on a “see difference” link will take you to the difference viewer page (note you must have the difference_viewer installed to get this feature, these are two separate extensions):

A view of a diff report:

Setting up these two extensions is easy. Install both using the Extension Manager as with any other extension. Then, create a page for viewing the diff reports and add the plug in content element.

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Originally post December 12, 2009

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