|By David Shadovitz||
|August 23, 2002 12:00 AM EDT||
As a member of Team Macromedia I respond to a lot of questions posted on the Macromedia Forums ( http://webforums.macromedia.com/coldfusion).
My responses often contain sample code, and I realized that many questions arose over and over again. So rather than repeatedly typing the same code snippets, I created a small Web site ( http://members.evolt.org/dshadovi) to hold them. Now I can simply point to the relevant page when I respond to a question.
Being a nosy guy, I wanted to know how the site was being used. Yes, there are tools that do a wonderful job of presenting this information, such as Analog and WebTrends. But they require access to the Web server logs, which I don't have. Anyway, I wanted to roll my own. That's the fun of CF!
My first cut at tracking traffic was to use session management and CFMAIL. I set up Application.cfm to send me a message whenever a new session was started. It worked, but sometimes the mail was overwhelming. The biggest problem with this technique, though, was that it made it hard to perform analysis. I couldn't easily determine which page was getting the most hits, or how many visitors use Netscape.
The right technique, and the one I'll describe in detail, is to record the site traffic in a database and use CF's graphing capabilities to display it.
Recording the Site Traffic
Using MySQL, I created a single table to record information on each hit. Listing 1 shows the structure of that table. As you can see, each record contains the page visited, the visitor's IP address and browser (the user agent), and the date and time of the visit.
A record is inserted into that database table each time the site is hit. Listing 2 shows the code to do this. This code belongs in Application.cfm.
Note that the INSERT statement doesn't include the time of the hit. When no value is specified for a field of type TIMESTAMP, which cannot be null, MySQL automatically inserts the current date and time. I could have passed the value #CreateODBC DateTime(Now())#, but it's more efficient to let the database take care of it.
You'll also see that I've massaged the name of the page a bit. For all of the pages on my site, CGI.SCRIPT_ NAME starts with "dshadovi/", so I strip this off. I also strip off the ".cfm" extension, since the name of the page, not the extension, is what's important for the graphical display of the traffic.
Don't chide me for not using CFQUERYPARAM. I do use it, but I omitted it here in the interest of readability.
Displaying the Site Traffic
Now that the pieces are in place to record the site traffic, we're ready to write the code to graphically display it. Listing 3 is a complete CFML template that does exactly that. Figure 1 is a screenshot of this template in action; you can also see it live at http://members.evolt.org/dshadovi/traffic.cfm.
An exception is an error that occurs at runtime. Most if not all programming languages offer a way to handle exceptions. The goal of this handling is to minimize the damage done by the exception. Sometimes it's possible to repair the problem or to work around it. If not, the application can at least provide a detailed error message.
ColdFusion provides CFTRY/CFCATCH, modeled on C's try/catch statements. Using this construct, the ColdFusion Server tries to execute a designated block of code, and if it catches any exceptions it executes another designated block of code.
I use CFTRY/CFCATCH in Listings 2 and 3. Let's take a closer look.
Listing 2 shows a snippet of code in Application.cfm, which inserts a record into the database. The record contains information about the current page visit. Now, the main goal of my Web site is to provide helpful code to other programmers. Tracking visits to the site is only a minor goal, mostly to satisfy my curiosity. I certainly wouldn't want problems with this minor goal to interfere with my major goal.
What kinds of problems might happen? Well, the database server could go down, or the database's transaction log may be full. Either of these would make it impossible to insert a record, but there's no reason why that should render my site unusable. So I put the CFQUERY tag in a CFTRY block. If there are any runtime errors, the CFCATCH code block is executed. The CFCATCH block here is empty because there's no remedial action to take. If a record can't be inserted, that's okay. Execution continues on with whatever code follows the entire CFTRY block.
In Listing 2 the protected code block, a CFQUERY tag, did under-the-covers work. Not so for Listing 3, in which the protected code block is a CFGRAPH tag. There is surely a user impact if the graph isn't displayed. So in this case the CFCATCH block isn't empty. Rather, it lets the user know there should have been a graph, and points to a possible cause of the problem. (Okay, I should also have code here to automatically e-mail the details of the problem to the server administrator, or to log the problem.)
I've shown here two uses of CFTRY/CFCATCH. Beyond this, CFTRY's TYPE attribute lets you take different actions based on the type of exception. The ColdFusion Server also provides CFCATCH variables that contain details of the exception. And CFTHROW gives you the power to declare that an exception has taken place.
Using CFTRY/CFCATCH to handle exceptions lets you compartmentalize your code, leading to more robust applications.
The code uses CFGRAPH, introduced in CF5. Those of you using earlier versions of CF are not out of luck, though. You laggards can use the old bar chart Java graphlet that used to come with CF. Do a Google search on "About ColdFusion Graphlets" for more information, or contact me. At the other end of the spectrum ColdFusion MX offers CFCHART in place of CFGRAPH, but that should be a straightforward change.
Each bar in the bar graph represents a page, and the bar's height indicates the number of hits on that page. CFGRAPH's URLColumn attribute provides a drill-down capability when using the Flash format. I've set it up so that clicking on a bar will lead you to that bar's page.
You may notice that although I record each visitor's IP address, I don't display it anywhere. That's because I record it for hacker control, not for a simple view of the site traffic.
A programmer's work is never done (especially when he's got a paying client), so here are some thoughts for future enhancements:
Let me close with thanks to evolt.org, a community for Web developers, for hosting my site.
|David Shadovitz 11/01/02 04:00:00 PM EST|
I've found a good use for my traffic information. One site which I track contains an important search feature. Now, on the page which displays the form for a search, I also display the user's last few searches. They are displayed as hyperlinks which the user can simply click on to re-do a search.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BroadSoft, the leading global provider of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) services to operators worldwide, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BroadSoft is the leading provider of software and services that enable mobile, fixed-line and cable service providers to offer Unified Communications over their Internet Protocol networks. The Company’s core communications platform enables the delivery of a range of enterprise and consumer calling...
Apr. 17, 2015 09:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,062
VoxImplant has announced full WebRTC support in the newest versions of its Android SDK and iOS SDK. The updated SDKs, which enable audio and video calls on mobile devices, are now compatible with the WebRTC standard to allow any mobile app to communicate with WebRTC-enabled browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and, when available, Microsoft Spartan. The WebRTC-updated SDKs represent VoxImplant's continued leadership in simplifying the development of real-time communications (RTC) services for app developers. VoxImplant (built by Zingaya, the real-time communication servi...
Apr. 17, 2015 09:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,737
SYS-CON Events announced today that GENBAND, a leading developer of real time communications software solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The GENBAND team will be on hand to demonstrate their newest product, Kandy. Kandy is a communications Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables companies to seamlessly integrate more human communications into their Web and mobile applications - creating more engaging experiences for their customers and boosting collaboration and productiv...
Apr. 17, 2015 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,126
The IoT Bootcamp is coming to Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo on June 9-10 at the Javits Center in New York. Instructor. Registration is now available at http://iotbootcamp.sys-con.com/ Instructor Janakiram MSV previously taught the famously successful Multi-Cloud Bootcamp at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in November in Santa Clara. Now he is expanding the focus to Janakiram is the founder and CTO of Get Cloud Ready Consulting, a niche Cloud Migration and Cloud Operations firm that recently got acquired by Aditi Technologies. He is a Microsoft Regional Director for Hyderabad, India, and one of the f...
Apr. 17, 2015 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 744
SYS-CON Events announced today that Optimal Design, an Internet of Things solution provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Optimal Design is an award winning product development firm offering industrial design and engineering services to the consumer, medical, and defense markets.
Apr. 17, 2015 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,551
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vicom Computer Services, Inc., a provider of technology and service solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. They are located at booth #427. Vicom Computer Services, Inc. is a progressive leader in the technology industry for over 30 years. Headquartered in the NY Metropolitan area. Vicom provides products and services based on today’s requirements around Unified Networks, Cloud Computing strategies, Virtualization around Software defined Data Ce...
Apr. 17, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,286
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ciqada will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ciqada™ makes it easy to connect your products to the Internet. By integrating key components - hardware, servers, dashboards, and mobile apps - into an easy-to-use, configurable system, your products can quickly and securely join the internet of things. With remote monitoring, control, and alert messaging capability, you will meet your customers' needs of tomorrow - today! Ciqada. Let your products take flight. For more inform...
Apr. 17, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,439
What exactly is a cognitive application? In her session at 16th Cloud Expo, Ashley Hathaway, Product Manager at IBM Watson, will look at the services being offered by the IBM Watson Developer Cloud and what that means for developers and Big Data. She'll explore how IBM Watson and its partnerships will continue to grow and help define what it means to be a cognitive service, as well as take a look at the offerings on Bluemix. She will also check out how Watson and the Alchemy API team up to offer disruptive APIs to developers.
Apr. 17, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,359
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
Apr. 17, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,035
With IoT exploding, massive data will transform businesses with opportunities to monetize almost anything that can be measured. In this C-Level Roundtable Discussion at @ThingsExpo, Brendan O’Brien, Aria Systems Co-founder and Chief Evangelist, will lead an expert panel of consultants, thought leaders and practitioners who will look at these new monetization trends, discuss the implications, and detail lessons learned from their collective experience. Finally, the panel will point the way forward for enterprises who wish to leverage the resulting complex recurring revenue models, adding valu...
Apr. 17, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,336
How is unified communications transforming the way businesses operate? In his session at WebRTC Summit, Arvind Rangarajan, Director of Product Marketing at BroadSoft, will discuss how to extend unified communications experience outside the enterprise through WebRTC. He will also review use cases across different industry verticals. Arvind Rangarajan is Director, Product Marketing at BroadSoft. He has over 19 years of experience in the telecommunications industry in various roles such as Software Development, Product Management and Product Marketing, applied across Wireless, Unified Communic...
Apr. 17, 2015 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,514
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? Join this panel of experts as they peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you’ll have no problem filling in your buzzword bingo cards.
Apr. 16, 2015 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,090
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of robomq.io, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at robomq.io, will discuss how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust I...
Apr. 13, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,863
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this case) takes into account the number and quality of contextual references that a user receives.
Apr. 12, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,885
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet conditions, Dyn ensures traffic gets delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever.
Apr. 11, 2015 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,208
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Apr. 11, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 6,003
The only place to be June 9-11 is Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo 2015 East at the Javits Center in New York City. Join us there as delegates from all over the world come to listen to and engage with speakers & sponsors from the leading Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data companies. Cloud Expo & @ThingsExpo are the leading events covering the booming market of Cloud Computing, IoT & Big Data for the enterprise. Speakers from all over the world will be hand-picked for their ability to explore the economic strategies that utility/cloud computing provides. Whether public, private, or in a hybrid form, clo...
Apr. 8, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,975
The WebRTC Summit 2015 New York, to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 16th International Cloud Expo, @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit.
Apr. 8, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,268
As Marc Andreessen says software is eating the world. Everything is rapidly moving toward being software-defined – from our phones and cars through our washing machines to the datacenter. However, there are larger challenges when implementing software defined on a larger scale - when building software defined infrastructure. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Boyan Ivanov, CEO of StorPool, will provide some practical insights on what, how and why when implementing "software-defined" in the datacenter.
Apr. 7, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,483
While not quite mainstream yet, WebRTC is starting to gain ground with Carriers, Enterprises and Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) alike. WebRTC makes it easy for developers to add audio and video communications into their applications by using Web browsers as their platform. But like any market, every customer engagement has unique requirements, as well as constraints. And of course, one size does not fit all. In her session at WebRTC Summit, Dr. Natasha Tamaskar, Vice President, Head of Cloud and Mobile Strategy at GENBAND, will explore what is needed to take a real time communications ...
Apr. 6, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,628