my new analytics tool04.04.2020 - 21:20
As mentioned in previous blogposts my sister has been working on her own website recently and I have been helping her with a few backend solutions. To get some insight on how many people were visiting her site, she wanted to use Google Analytics, but couldn't get it to work easily and she also had some privacy concerns. And while I am very certain that I could get it to run in a few minutes, anyone who knows me, knows that I like to create my own solutions. Years ago I had made my own analytics tool, which I have been using ever since. However, it has become quite outdated since then. It's not very detailed, isn't easy to use and is php based and therefore slowing down the page loading ever so slightly. Because I would have needed to redo 95% of it anyway, I started from scratch with a new and improved analytics tool. Unlike my game, finding a name was farily easy: The design of my sisters website resembles a half-timbered house and I like birds, so I just chose Magpie, a very smart and analytical bird common to rural areas.
Another improvement of Magpie is that it supports multiple users. In the old system there would have been no way to have my sister use it as well. Like most of my user based online tools, Magpie uses PingPoliNet for user authorization. Every user can add multiple websites in Magpie. Every website has its own unique token, which is passed in the ajax request. It doesn't need to be secret, because it is visible in the source code of the website anyway.
When somebody visits the website, Magpie creates a new unique visitor. Multiple hits from that visitor within a certain time period are just counted as normal hits. The same visitor is counted as a new unique visitor again after the time period has passed. At the end of the day a cronjob accumulates all daily hits/unique hits and creates a daily statistic. Magpie also offers IP anonymization, which may or may not be required or encouraged by different local laws. Germany requires IP anonymization when using Google Analytics, therefore I probably need to anonymize IPs in my own tool as well. For anonymization I use the same method that google uses: the last octet of IPv4 addresses and the last 80 bits of IPv6 addresses are set to 0 at the earliest possible moment. This may aggregate two unique visitors into one if one has 220.127.116.11 and the other has 18.104.22.168, because both of those would be anonymized to 22.214.171.124, but the chance of that happening is probably rather low.
A completely new feature to Magpie are subpages. Seeing how many unique visitors and hits a website gets is nice and all, but I wanted a little bit more information about what the visitor does. Therefore I added subpage analytics. Subpages can either be created manually, for example home, about or contact, but I didn't want to have to create a new subpage for every new blogpost I write by hand. So I added a convenient feature to automatically create subpages if Magpie doesn't find a match. With subpage analytics turned on, clicking on a visitor shows which subpages were visited and how often. Total subpage hits are also accumulated every day, but at the moment there are no daily subpage statistics, I may add those later.
by Christian - 04.04.2020 - 21:20