There's two main log files for a JIRA - the catalina.out is the application server (tomcat) log file, and there's some stuff over at https://tomcat.apache.org/tomcat-7.0-doc/logging.html - again, it's more about general config and changing it, but it's a start on understanding the file.
The other one is the atlassian-jira.log - this is probably the one you're more interested in. It's in a pretty standard format and basically captures everything if there's a hint of something going wrong. It is, however, a java log, which is aimed at developers and can be very unfriendly to read.
I'm not sure that there's much a "guide" can tell you though. Some of it is intuitive, you can see dates and times, users etc. When there's a fault or crash, you'll mostly see an "exception" of some sort, which are followed by a stack trace of hundreds of lines of file names and numbers (these really are hardcore dev messages - it's actually the line of source code in that file it is telling us! So it's useless unless you have the source code). You'll see batches of informational lines prefixed with warn or info, and then whatever messages the developers have chosen to output in their code. That's what we can't write a guide for - each class could be doing anything at all, and we need the authors to code to spit out the messages we want!
I've found http://www.loggly.com/ultimate-guide/troubleshooting-with-java-logs/ helped me get my brain around it last time I was stuck, but obviously, that's not a JIRA guide.
Personally, I prefer to sling the logs through a log analyser or monitor - something that can look for patterns (e.g. lots of import related errors at 3am every day) and/or simplify the raw output to something more human. Even better, I have the option of asking colleagues for help reading them!
Hi @Robert Horan,
Please refer following guide to know more about JIRA logs,
Most important logs are,
1. atlassian-jira.log (see Logging and Profiling)
2. application server log...
logs/catalina.out in your JIRA Installation Directory
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