Friday Jan 08, 2010

Publisher Analytics - the feature that almost made it

The Sun Software Library team always subscribed to Agile development practices.  We've adhered to the "Deliver working software frequently" principle by pushing new software to production every two weeks.  As soon as we finish developing a feature, we make it available to our users, so we can get feedback, and make the feature even better (Tim Bray says it, and quite a bit more, quite eloquently.)

Some stuff happened that forced change.

There is one feature in particular that almost made it.  We called it Publisher Analytics - the ability for each publisher to see how many page views, visitors, and click throughs they got through the Sun Software Library for their particular entries.  The usual approaches (e.g. google analytics) don't work for Rich Internet Applications, so we had to devise our own approach.  To implement this feature, we first built a set of web services for accessing the data (which is available in production), then used EJS Chart's excellent JavaScript based charting package for implementing the front end.

This image shows the feature as developed.  This feature is currently only available to the super user.  In the screen snapshot below, we are actually showing production data.  The actual name of the publisher data rendered is blurred out.  The snapshot was taken in early December 2009, hence the lack of December data.

Sun Software Library Publisher Analytics

Ray Maslinski, Sree Vidya Allada, and Jonathan Leone did a great job on this implementation.

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