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Backend Collector for Client-Side Data

This is a Node.js backend collector for client-side data that is tracked by sp.js Analytics JavaScript library.
All tracked events are collected in logs/events.log following logging best practices for Splunk log ingestion.

Refer to appendix below on how to use sp.js simple API for tracking.

Getting Started

  • Install with Node.js package manager npm:

      $ npm install
    
  • Configure your collector server HTTP/HTTPS ports and SSL certs by changing HTTP_PORT, HTTPS_PORT, and SSL_OPTS variables at the top of server.js file.

    This configuration step can be skipped for test & dev purposes. By default, the server binds to ports 3000 and 4443 for HTTP/HTTPS traffic. It also uses self-signed certificates for SSL under .ssl/ directory, so we recommend you replace them with real certificates for a secure production solution.

  • Start the collector server by typing:

      $ node server.js
    

    If you have configured server ports to standard ports 80 and 443, you'll need to sudo node server.js to start the server as root unless you have rights to bind to privileged ports < 1024

    You should see something similar to:

      Listening to HTTP on port 3000
      Listening to HTTPS on port 4443
    

That's it!
After pointing sp.js library to your collector server address using sp.load(<YOUR_COLLECTOR_URL>), watch the tracked events being collected in newly created local file logs/events.log

Additional Resources

  • <a href="http://blogs.splunk.com/2013/10/17/still-using-3rd-party-web-analytics-providers-build-your-own-using-splunk/" target="_blank">Still using 3rd party web analytics providers? Build your own using Splunk!</a>

Appendix: How to use sp.js Analytics JavaScript Library

Setup

To use sp.js, simply paste the following snippet of code before the closing </head> tag on your page:

<script type="text/javascript">
    var sp=sp||[];(function(){var e=["init","identify","track","trackLink","pageview"],t=function(e){return function(){sp.push([e].concat(Array.prototype.slice.call(arguments,0)))}};for(var n=0;n<e.length;n++)sp[e[n]]=t(e[n])})(),sp.load=function(e,o){sp._endpoint=e;if(o){sp.init(o)};var t=document.createElement("script");t.type="text/javascript",t.async=!0,t.src=("https:"===document.location.protocol?"https://":"http://")+"d21ey8j28ejz92.cloudfront.net/analytics/v1/sp.min.js";var n=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];n.parentNode.insertBefore(t,n)};
    sp.load("https://www.example.com"); // Replace with your own Collector URL
</script>

Make sure to replace https://www.example.com with your own collector server URL to send the data to.

API

sp.js provides a common set of tracking methods similar to leading web analytics providers & exemplified by the clean API provided by segment.io.

Here’s the list of tracking methods provided by sp.js:

Full Definition:

sp.track(event, properties, fn)

Track a custom event (i.e. user action) along with a set of associated event properties.

sp.track('Preview Movie', {
    title: 'World War Z',
    category: 'Action',
    loggedIn: false
});

Parameters:

  • event: name string of the event to track
  • properties (optional): properties object of key-value pairs associated with the event
  • fn (optional): callback function to be called after short timeout

sp.trackLink(links, event, properties)

Track link clicks, including outbound links, with a custom event and custom properties. Tracking occurs before page changes. This automatically records properties such as the anchor (a) tag's href and text.

sp.trackLink($('a.free-download'), 'Click Free Download Link', {
    linkColor: 'Green'
});

Parameters:

  • links: link DOM or jQuery element to track clicks on. This can also be an array of such elements.
  • event: name string of the event to track. This can also be a function which returns event string name using the clicked link element as argument.
  • properties (optional): properties object of key-value pairs associated with the event. This can also be a function which returns properties object using the clicked link element as argument.

sp.pageview(url)

Tracks a 'pageview' event including document title and referrer. This is automatically called by default.

sp.pageview();

Parameters:

  • url (optional): url string. Defaults to page url.

sp.identify(userId, userTraits)

Associate a user with an ID, and record user-specific traits or persistent properties. These persistent properties will be automatically added as properties to any subsequent tracked event.

sp.identify("power-user-3961", {
    email: "abc@example.com",
    age: 30,
    gender: "male"
});

Parameters:

  • userId (optional): unique ID string to associate with the user. sp.js automatically assigns a universally unique id to each visitor, so you can skip this.
  • userTraits (optional): properties object of key-value pairs associated with the user. userTraits are automatically included with all events by this user.

sp.init(settings)

Advanced Usage: method to configure library parameters. Typically sp.load(<YOUR_COLLECTOR_URL>) is all you need, and it's already called in the JavaScript snippet that you included in your page header. See Setup section above.

sp.init({
    api_host: <YOUR_COLLECTOR_URL>    // typically set via sp.load(YOUR_COLLECTOR_URL)
    track_pageview: true,            // default to tracking all page views
    track_links_timeout: 300,        // default to 300ms
    cookie_name: "_sp",                // defaults to "_sp"
    cookie_expiration: 365,            // defaults to 365 days
    cookie_domain: "example.com"    // defaults to your website domain
});

Parameters:

  • settings: settings object to apply one more custom configurations to sp.js. For most purposes, default values are applicable.

License:
Released under MIT license

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