Techniques Behind Modern Web
I’d applied for Woopra beta since the service was introduced in a post from “Web Tools Collection” and just received approval for this blog a few days ago. Running client tool and seeing all info about who are visiting my blog in real-time, I could just say “Wow, so cool!”
Woopra provides realtime analytics via a Java-based desktop application so you must have Java 6 pre-installed (some Mac users may not have the latest Java install, version 1.6 can be found at this page and you can get helps here). This tool is well-designed and seems very stable. Moreover, it has slick UI that you can change themes on fly and surprisingly it can render so rich interface with no hiccups — that’s probably the best experience I’ve ever had with a Java-based desktop app in term of UI.
After starting the app and signing into the service, you’ll see its dashboard that mimics stock analytics board with a realtime visitor-pageview graph on top and a running ticker at bottom. Other five panels provide you with (1) “Overview” of visitors and hits by day, (2) “My Content” (what pages were viewed and how many times), (3) “My Referrers”, (4) “My Searches” (search keywords), and (5) “My Visitors” (by country) — all are updated in realtime manner.
Switching to “Live” tab (on the left side) you will see the most interesting features of the service: You can see visitors who are visiting your website: where they come from, what they are viewing, how long they have been in your site etc. Once a visitor comes to your website, that will be indicated in a small world map (which gave me feeling of using NASA’s operation control board.) In addition, you can discover one of the coolest features of Woopra integrated in this tab: chatting with your visitors (I’ll cover this functionality in details below)
Now you may ask where all traditional analytic data are? They are in “Analytics” tab as expected. This tab contains many sub-tabs and sub-sub-tabs that present all analytic data you want to drill down and most of them are accompanied with graphs. I found some analytics terms are better presented here than in Google Analytics like the “Bounce Rate” and data are loaded much faster than Google’s web-based analytics tool.
The last tab gives you ability to create “events” — something like “A visitor from Canada suffering web with Firefox 3 on a Mac” or so. Woopra will notify you when the defined event occurs and what that visitor is viewing along the way.
Now, you may want to say hello to him/her: just click on the notification message to get to “Live” tab with the visitor selected then click on “Start a conversation”. A typical chat window will appears and, believe or not, you are able to talk to visitors of your blog — really a killer functionality (see screenshots below for how I chatted with myself ).
Woopra can be a good example of how to build a client tool to serve its online service. Although it may not be considered a true RIA (Rich Internet Application), I think, it gives the same experience of using such apps and if it can leverage the upcoming JavaFX (see a cool demo here) in next version, it would be the (first) RIA I really want to use everyday.
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