54. Current Span

Brave supports a “current span” concept which represents the in-flight operation. You can use Tracer.currentSpan() to add custom tags to a span and Tracer.nextSpan() to create a child of whatever is in-flight.


In Sleuth, you can autowire the Tracer bean to retrieve the current span via tracer.currentSpan() method. To retrieve the current context just call tracer.currentSpan().context(). To get the current trace id as String you can use the traceIdString() method like this: tracer.currentSpan().context().traceIdString().

54.1 Setting a span in scope manually

When writing new instrumentation, it is important to place a span you created in scope as the current span. Not only does doing so let users access it with Tracer.currentSpan(), but it also allows customizations such as SLF4J MDC to see the current trace IDs.

Tracer.withSpanInScope(Span) facilitates this and is most conveniently employed by using the try-with-resources idiom. Whenever external code might be invoked (such as proceeding an interceptor or otherwise), place the span in scope, as shown in the following example:

@Autowired Tracer tracer;

try (SpanInScope ws = tracer.withSpanInScope(span)) {
  return inboundRequest.invoke();
} finally { // note the scope is independent of the span

In edge cases, you may need to clear the current span temporarily (for example, launching a task that should not be associated with the current request). To do tso, pass null to withSpanInScope, as shown in the following example:

@Autowired Tracer tracer;

try (SpanInScope cleared = tracer.withSpanInScope(null)) {