Dapper-style tracing in Go

go get


Tracer – Zipping through time

Tracer is a distributed tracing system, designed after Dapper. The instrumentation is compatible with the OpenTracing specification.


Tracer is currently in alpha state. It is in a working state, but very much unfinished, hardly tested and will contain bugs. You're welcome to test it, though!


The following steps will install Tracer, the Tracer UI and set up PostgreSQL to be used as a storage backend.

The following software is required:

  • Go 1.6 or later for building Tracer
  • PostgreSQL 9.5 or later for the storage engine


go get
go get


Create a PostgreSQL user and schema for Tracer and import the file $GOPATH/src/ The example configuration uses the username and password tracer and the database postgres, but you're free to edit the config.

Now you can start Tracer and its UI:

cp $GOPATH/src/ .
# possibly edit example.conf
$GOPATH/bin/tracer -c example.conf &
$GOPATH/bin/tracer-ui -t $GOPATH/src/ &

To insert a basic demo trace, run

go run $GOPATH/src/

To view the UI, point your browser at http://localhost:9997/.

If you want to add instrumentation to your own code, check out OpenTracing and opentracing-go for the API. To instantiate a Tracer instance that logs to the server you just started, write something like this:

import ""


storage, err := tracer.NewGRPC("localhost:9999", &tracer.GRPCOptions{
    QueueSize:     1024,
    FlushInterval: 1 * time.Second,
}, grpc.WithInsecure())
if err != nil {
t := tracer.NewTracer("frontend", storage, tracer.RandomID{})

This will create a tracer t that sends traces via gRPC to your server.

For more information on Tracer's instrumentation API check