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Adobe AdHoc swan song

Late this summer Adobe announced that it would “end of life” the AdHoc tool (formerly called Discover). I really enjoyed using AdHoc and while I like Analysis Workspace there was something special about AdHoc that’s tough to explain. It looked cool and it did help analysts discover new things happening on websites. There’s still some time to use AdHoc, so enjoy it while it lasts. Read the announcements and see the migration guide at Adobe Spark.

Adobe Analytics

Adobe DTM and hashtag
Adobe DTM’s New Custom and pushState/hashChange Event Types

Google Analytics Implementation with Single Page Application architecture

React
Adding Google Analytics to your React Application

Yes, so my non-profit’s website is still on GoDaddy basic Linux hosting and the dreaded message showed up after upgrading several plugins. It most likely had nothing to do with upgrading the plugins and everything to do with GoDaddy hosting.

Here’s the message, slightly cleansed to protect the hosting…

Warning: session_start() [function.session-start]: open(/home/content/ / /tmp/sess_, O_RDWR) failed: No such file or directory (2) in /home/content/ / /html/wp-content/plugins/cforms2/cforms2.php on line 89

First, I tried killing and restarting the system processes on my hosting control panel. No help. Finally today I had some time to chat with GoDaddy support after trying some various fixes which didn’t work. One writeup suggested asking support to clear the hosting cache. So that’s how I started the chat with GoDaddy support.

The chat rep looked at my hosting and the error message and tried blaming the cforms plugin. I asked him to clear the cache area (tmp area) on the hosting space. He replied that everything looked great and proceeded to upsell me on a higher tier of hosting (cPanel hosting). I told him not to waste his time with the upsell, that I felt that decent hosting should maintain the servers at a reasonable level.

After ending the chat I did some more research and found this post at WallyDavid which really helped. I was already bumping around the session.save_path setting in my php.ini file but with no luck. The secret really is to create a new temp folder within your hosting space, create the new php5.ini file and update it accordingly. You can find the full path to your hosting space on the main account panel screen (left nav below the fold) “Absolute Hosting Path”. After you create the new temp folder, create the php5.ini file and update it, go back to the hosting control panel, select System Processes and click ‘stop all’. Access your site in another window and check to see that the ugly error message has gone away.

(Thanks, Wally David for the great writeup, hope you’ll enjoy a few visits to your blog on me!)

DTM debugger

For years the best tool for debugging Adobe Analytics was the DigitalPulse debugger, a JavaScript bookmarklet offered by Adobe. (The browser console was pretty useful too, once you got the hang of it.)

Now comes Disruptive Advertising with a Dynamic Tag Management (DTM) debugger. It’s got a decent interface and it’s just a bookmarklet as well, so it should work in most browsers, unlike some debuggers which only work with Chrome (via Chrome app store).

Check it out and enjoy!

Lately I’m working with implementing Google Custom Search for a larger customer.  It’s a pretty good product with a great deal of flexibility and of course, it has Google’s Famous Search Algorithm underneath.  So, it’s pretty darn good at handling whatever most site visitors throw at it.  The problem is with quantifying the results (visitor successes and failures).  There isn’t much to go on since GCS is implemented with JavaScript tag blocks and not actual code.  If these blocks of code called in a little Data Layer with results data elements (as Google has been coaxing us to create for web analytics elsewhere) there would be something to work with!   So, Big G, what about it!?

Thanks for reading my rant – as soon as I have something workable I’ll post more info.  Either G will do something or I’ll devise something. Already I’ve implemeted GCS via a Tag Management system as a proof of concept, so there is hope yet.

 

Capturing Browser User-Agent string in web analytics

Anything to avoid snooping a web log, these days…! Sometimes you’ve just got to know what user-agent string a certain browser passes when it hits your site. Lately I’ve been capturing it as an eVar in Adobe Analytics (Omniture SiteCatalyst), because as a custom conversion variable you can get co-relations, breakdowns, etc. and even segement on that variable for serious troubleshooting or tracking purposes.

Once you’ve collected the user-agent string, then you may need a lookup area to figure it out… that’s where this link to UserAgentString.com comes in handy. They’ve broken down so many devices and browsers with version data and listed it in a very useful format.

And, when all else fails and you’ve peeped an actual http logfile the hard way, UserAgentString.com is still helpful. Enjoy!

Google Universal Analytics Upgrades

This will be a hot topic, all right  – apparently Google will soon begin migrating us, kicking and screaming, to Universal Analytics. Take a look at Robert Miller’s writeup at ClickZ to learn more.  For those who are kicking and screaming louder than others, Robert’s part of a team who built a tool called Airlock which eases the pain of migration. Enjoy!

I’m passing this technical how-to along to those using SiteCatalyst.

Adobe Analytics Implementation Documentation in 60 seconds

It’s a great idea to have a solution document handy for your implementation.  Looking forward to your comments!

Decipher Minified JavaScript

JavaScript and jQuery are a web analytics implementer’s best friend. However, there’s a lot of valuable code out there which has been minified, or optimized, for fast download/execution, which leaves the code pretty much unreadable. For these blocks of code, an online tool called jsBeautifier.org is a huge help! Besides expanding minified code into neatly indented code blocks, there’s a ton of useful links on this site. Enjoy!

Google Analytics Academy is offering a three-week course hosted by Justin Cutroni starting October 8th. Take a look at the mini-site with all the details. The course is all online, and should take 4-6 hours to complete. It will help you prepare for the GA IQ certification test (not included, of course!).

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