polliwog 0.6 review

by rbytes.net on

polliwog is a Java-based Web-log processing tool/application that creates a website about your website visitors

License: The Apache License 2.0
File size: 0K
Developer: Gary Bentley
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polliwog is a Java-based Web-log processing tool/application that creates a website about your website visitors. Whilst most log processors focus on hits and pages, polliwog is more visit oriented.

polliwog is more flexible than most processors. It provides an object model that represents the information in the log and so can harness the full power of Java and OO.

polliwog project allows you to define the pages and sections produced in a XML-format so that end-users can customize the information displayed.

It can convert the information in the log into a more "human-readable" form, no more strange URLs that make no sense.

It tells you what a visitor looked at whilst browsing your site. It also provides a detailed breakdown of how visitors arrived at your site. In essence polliwog is a tool to help you understand how users interact with your site. See the features list for details of what polliwog can do.

polliwog makes a very clear distinction between visits from search engines/spiders and human visitors. Log processing tools such as Webalizer do not and so lead to incorrect visitor figures. polliwog tells you which search engines have spidered your site and how many pages they have indexed.

Here are some key features of "polliwog":
Number of human visitors (each visitor is classed as unique)
A page per visitor, displaying: start/end visit time, pages viewed, country of origin (provided by GeoIP lookup), User agent, visit time
For each page visited, the requested URI can be resolved into a human-readable name. The referer page is also displayed and again can be resolved into a human-readable name. If the visitor arrived from a search engine search this is resolved into a human-readable form as well. Also the size of the page requested is displayed as is the method, status code and date/time.
Visual summary (graph) of activity per-day, also a daily summary of activity.
Overall summary of activity for entire period.
Provides information about "site areas". As far as I can tell this is a concept unique to polliwog (but I may be wrong!). A "site area" is a logical grouping of pages within your site, it is defined by you and tend to be things like "shop", "help", "contacts". Site areas provide coarser information about how visitors interact with your site.
Visit paths, a logical usage of site areas is that of a visit path (again seems to be unique to polliwog). A visit path is basically the path that visitors took through your site by site area. For example they may have started at your "Front Page" area, then moved to your "products" area, then to your "support" area and then onto the "user" area. This gives you higher level information about the pathways through your site that users are taking and helps to identify areas where you may need to spend more time tailoring the pages in an area to keep visitors there.
Displays sites that link to yours.
Can produce compressed HTML files (need Web-server support to ensure that your browser can view them correctly).
Contains a webapp that allows for configuration and control of polliwog for any number of sites/logs.
User configurable pages and sections, you can decide which pages polliwog produces and the information it displays.
User configurable visit collections. This is basically the ability to define rules which will "collect" visits that match the rules (the default rules are defined by a JoSQL WHERE clause). You can then create pages that perform operations on those collections. This allows you to filter the visits into "buckets" that you can then get information on. For example, you may be interested in knowing which visitors have been to a certain page, or that have followed a certain "visit path" (for the pygmy possum site we have defined collections that tell us whether any visitors have purchased products that came from a MSN search, i.e. are our ratings on the MSN search engine actually leading to sales).
Information about each page is now generated. The search engine searches that led to the page being visited by a human being are shown, as are the number of times the page was hit, the number of unique human visitors and the number of times it was visited by search engine bots/spiders. Also the pages that "refer" to the page (referers) are shown along with their site areas, this provides details about how visitors are navigating to the page. Also, the external sites that link to the page are shown.

What's New in This Release:
New features
Added support for reading of remote log files via HTTP/HTTPS. To enable this just set the logFile value in build.xml to a valid url. Local files are still supported (and can be explicitly specified using a file:// protocol).
Added support for a locale param for the definition of the: org.polliwog.fields.DateTimeField
class, this allows the locale to be specified for the date/time. This is most useful when your JVM locale is different to that of the log, i.e. if the log was written in English (especially the dates) but your JVM default locale is not English.
See file: data/apache-combined-log-entry-format.xml for details.
Records/displays the amount of time that a human visitor spent looking at a page (for their visit).
Added method: getDuration()
Records/displays the amount of time that human visitors looked at a page.
Added method getDuration().
Hits can now be collected. Use property: hitCollectorsFile to point to the hit collectors file. Hits fall into 3 categories, filtered, nonPage and page. You can collect on any or multiple types.
See: hit collectors for more details.
Added class: org.polliwog.fields.W3CRequestLineField which is used in the parsing of log files in the W3C Extended Log File format (typically used by IIS).
New attribute: month added to the date rule (in hit filter) definition. When the name of a month is specified it will be the date range for the hit filter.
Added new page to show all searches performed by users to access the site.
Updated External site, opens in new window JoSQL jar file to version 1.4.
Browser/OS resolution added. The major browsers/OSes are now resolved from the user-agent header.

With the introduction of hit collectors the property collectorsFile has been removed in favour of a new property: visitorCollectorsFile. File data/collectors.xml has been renamed to data/visit-collectors.xml.
Sections that use the collectionName attribute now also require new attribute collectionType which indicates the type of collection that the section should use. The collectionType attribute can be either: visits or hits.

Bug Fixes
Method formatHitPageURL(org.polliwog.data.HitPage,java.util.Map) now handles a null HitPage parm correctly.
Unknown HTTP status codes now handled gracefully.

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