In WebSphere Portal 7.0, IBM has
enhanced it's Site Analytic Support. Site Metrics is a process of
capturing and measuring the user activity primarily to understand the
end user needs and behaviors and site usability so that site can be
better designed and targeted.
As customers create Portal
Applications, there is a great need to analyze actual usage in order
to determine impact. Data collected will be used as input to
determine return on investment (ROI) which in turn will be used to
increase or decrease investment or just tune the site. Data is
collected using passive site analytic (logging) or active site
analytic (tagging). Today, integration with site analyzer tools is
performed by manually imbedding tags into portlets and themes or
creating reports based on the portal site analyzer logs. In
WebSphere Portal 7.0, we have enhanced the user experience by
automating the imbedding of tags.
In this series of articles, I will introduce you to the concepts behind Active Site Analytics and how
to integrate Active Site Analytics into you Websphere Portal 7.0
Overview of Active
With active site analytics the web
browser becomes part of the event processing system. The user
requests portal pages form the portal server. Pages are delivered
back to the user for rendering within the browser. Embedded within
these page responses are active elements (e.g. Java script elements)
that are processed by the web browser. Based on the configuration,
the active elements embedded in the page trigger remote requests to
the analytics server that report usage events to that server. The
analytics server is part of the selected reporting solution and not
part of your WebSphere Portal deployment. The analytics server needs
to be up and running and accessible from the users browser. The
analytics server processes the events and stores the event data in
the system specific event data sink. This event data is than
processed to generate usage reports for the Portal site.
The high-level flow is shown in figure
1. It starts with the browser requesting a portal page (step 1). The
portal will then return the markup of the portal page (step 2),
data that is relevant for Active Site Analytics. This data is tagged
using a microformat. Once the page is parsed and rendered in the
client's browser, the aggregator will execute (step 3). The
aggregator will first retrieve all data from the page's HTML
representation, and will then use that data to format a request to an
external analytics service. The request is then sent to a server of
the analytics service, carrying over all the data that was previously
collected from within the HTML page (step 4). Typically, but not
limited to it, the data submission is done by dynamically injecting
an image into the page.
At this point, the responsibility of
Active Site Analytics ends. It is the responsibility of the analytics
service to process the data and generate reports from it. For
example, the image request could be written to an HTTP server log
file (step 5). This file could then be processed by a report
generation software (step 6).
WebSphere Portal comes with
out-of-the-box themes and skins that are already instrumented with
basic analytics data. Each item is present in the HTML markup of a
portal page, tagged with a CSS class (see Table 2 below). The
data from the HTML code.
In the next article, I will discuss the ASA aggregator and the ASA tags supported in WebSphere Portal Version 7.