|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.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Nov. 29, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 481
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Nov. 29, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 347
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
Nov. 29, 2015 12:45 PM EST Reads: 415
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
Nov. 29, 2015 12:30 PM EST Reads: 419
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
Nov. 29, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 523
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
Nov. 29, 2015 11:45 AM EST Reads: 323
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Nov. 29, 2015 09:45 AM EST Reads: 451
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
Nov. 29, 2015 09:15 AM EST Reads: 343
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Nov. 29, 2015 08:45 AM EST Reads: 215
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
Nov. 29, 2015 08:00 AM EST Reads: 270
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Nov. 29, 2015 07:00 AM EST Reads: 498
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Nov. 29, 2015 06:45 AM EST Reads: 742
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Nov. 29, 2015 06:00 AM EST Reads: 555
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Nov. 29, 2015 06:00 AM EST Reads: 375
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Nov. 29, 2015 05:00 AM EST Reads: 460
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Nov. 29, 2015 04:30 AM EST Reads: 484
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at Built.io, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Nov. 29, 2015 04:00 AM EST Reads: 377
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
Nov. 29, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 597
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Nov. 29, 2015 03:00 AM EST Reads: 339
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
Nov. 29, 2015 02:45 AM EST Reads: 424