in our rails apps we always have an '/su' or 'super user' section. we dump stuff like reports into that backend. recently i needed to allow super users to view logs in realtime from the browser (to assist debugging firewall issues for a license server we built). i considered doing something clever like websockets and then i became sane and just decided to do the simplest thing that could possibly work - remember, this is super users only so the following polling approach is juuuust dandy...
step one was to setup an action and view that could tail a log, show it, and then ajax poll update it. icing was adding a fancy ui (aka link) that could start and stop the polling
here's a majority of the relevant codez
step two, shown in that gist, was to quiet down the recursive logger feature i inadvertently added: aka - the polling ajax itself created tons of logger output.
so there you have it. low tech. easy cheasy. k.i.s.s. log tailing for admins.