PHPtrack 0.0.1 review

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PHPtrack is a Web tool written in PHP, which helps Webmasters get a clear picture of their Website's traffic

License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
File size: 0K
Developer: Ciprian Popovici-Oana
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PHPtrack is a Web tool written in PHP, which helps Webmasters get a clear picture of their Website's traffic. It uses a MySQL database to record hits and display them. PHPtrack consists of two parts: the tracker, code which must be inserted into the PHP pages on your site in order to count hits and visits, and the parser, a program which reads raw hits, formats and displays them nicely.

config.php is used to set certain preferences, because there are ongoing issues regarding visitor tracking, like what time interval between the visits of the same person will make it count as one or two distinct visits. config.php allows you to set some of such things the way you want them.

The parser is inside the index.php file. It's called index.php because you may choose to call it directly. You simply call it in your browser and it will connect to the database, read the data, format it and calculate unique visitors, then display it. The parser is somewhat more sofisticated, by with this I mean that it comes with it's own config.php file and a simple version, quick.php.

The display format was partially inspired by the one used by the Extreme Tracking public service, which I appreciate greatly.

Please remember to set valid MySQL connection parameters in config.php.

index.php takes two parameters (start and stop) which set a certain time interval it works on. This way you can descend down into the statistics, as low as one certain hour out of all the tracking time! It will display the appropriate links back to itself so you can make use of this facility.

quick.php is a much simpler parser. In cases where you've got huge amounts of data, calling index.php directly for the whole cut will take a while to display. You can instead use quick.php, which doesn't do any calculations, just makes a quick walk through the
data and offers links to all the individual months the data covers.

Note that quick.php, in order to be quick, displays raw figures, without any calculation or browser exclusion. The figures it displays are NOT valid, they only serve for comparison and for providing links to index.php.

Now for the actual stuff: the statistics displayed by index.php. As I said, the parses works on a certain time interval, which can be as big as years and as low as one hour. If no time interval is specified it will read all the tracking data and display it.

The info displayed by the parser is:
- totals and records
- yearly statistics (pages and visitors)
- the same for months, days of the month, days of the week, hours of
the day
- website referrer statistics (sites which link back to your site)
- what browsers the visitors use
- what sections of the site (paths/pages) are accessed most

Depending of the size of the time interval, some of the statistics don't appear. For example, if you reduce the interval down to one certain day, you won't see statistics for months and years.

If the time interval is bigger, some of the smaller time units "loop around" inside it. For example, when the time interval is a whole year, the month days from 1 to 31 will repeat several times as the parser goes through the data. The statistics displayed are the TOTALS for these time units. For example, what you see next to the
23rd day of the month is the sum of all the days numbered 23 in all 12 months. If you want a certain month, follow the link for that month and then, since the time interval will only span that one month, 23 will display only as the 23 for that month. The same goes
for every time unit (months inside years, days inside months, hours inside days). Please note that there are no weekly statistics.

All statistic tables have 8 columns. The first one shows you the time unit, the page/path, the referrer or the browser name.

The next 3 columns are pages, and display the actual number, the percentage out of the total number of pages in the time interval, and the graphic equivalent of the percentage (blue bars).

The next 3 columns are visits (or unique visitors) and display the actual number, the percentage out of the total number of visits in the time interval, and the graphic equivalent of the percentage (red bars). You'll notice that the visit bars are smaller than the page bars, since I am trying to illustrate the size difference between
displayed pages and visitors.

Finally, the last column is the percentage of pages over visitors, called reloads, because they give a good ideea of the amount of pages one visitor sees. For example, a reload percentage of 66% means the average visitor on the part of the time interval sees 3 pages (1 is the visit, 2 = 66% are the reloads).

For referrers, paths and browsers I considered it useful for you to see both the pages and the visitors. For paths, for example, a high page count mean an overall interest in that page, while a high visitor count means lots of different people are interested in it.
These are subtle differences, but you may find them useful.

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