Recommended language for click through-tracking which measures sales

Posted on 2006-06-08
Last Modified: 2013-11-15
I was wondering which language would be recommended for a relatively program which measures click-through sales through generated URL's created for each site involved in feeding click-through traffic.
Question by:walker6o9
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Honestly I don't think it matters... the question is more about the rest of your site and what you're comfortable with.  No matter, you should use a database!  With a database, you can easily add, sort, and retrieve data.  I would very highly recommend using a standard SQL-language database.  Whether it be Oracle, MSSQL, DB2, or MySQL... they all will work.

    Back to programming language... best to use something web-based.  PHP, ASP, CGI/Perl, Python, ColdFusion... I've seen them implemented in all those languages.  I've seen some really impressive FLASH-based tracking as well.  Anything is possible, depending on what you're familiar with, what your server will allow, and what the rest of your site is coded in.  If everything is coded in Perl already, stick with it... no use introducing something new, being inconsistent, and making a mess down the road.

    Programming concept is rather simple... somebody clicks, the code adds +1 to the database counter.  Now, you can add a bunch of conditions to filter out IP, cookies, link types, link address, etc, but that's irrelevant of the language.
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    I'm going to add one more thing here... your language, and eventually the code should be server-side.  If you use client-side javascript, you run into problems with people altering the data, incompatibility issues, etc and messing up the tracking.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Two quick questions: do I want it to be server-side even if I want to allow client's to mess with stuff and change things around, and two how difficult (time) do you think this would be?
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    The only reason I can think of right now of why you want a client to mess around, is for education reasons.  Otherwise, if somebody messes with the counter - you're best off having a random number pop up (extreme case).

    Otherwise, yes, process the counter data on the server side!  If the client needs to change the data, such as adjust for ___whatever___ reason, reset the counter, etc - you can write another script for these "admin" users to have access to that data.

    It wouldn't take long at all.  The simplest case would take you maybe 2 hours (or less than an hour for an experience programmer to do both).  Set up your database with a table, then like I mentioned, their clicking accesses a certain part of your program, which adds +1 to the database.

     - create a new database, or use one you already have access to
     - create a table called "counter" or something
     - create a field in that table such as NumClicks, and make that field some 'number' type (like INTeger)

     - when somebody clicks/etc, it accesses this page briefly, which runs/adds to the counter
     - two steps... get the current count from the database, add +1 to it, and update this new data in the database

    Program 2: Admin
     - you can build a form with two things on it: number of clicks now, and the number you want to change it to
     - The number of clicks now (NumClicks) will be retrieved (SELECT) from the database and always listed
     - The form can have a text box wher eyou enter the number... and if you submit - will access the UPDATE instructions/function/method/subroutine and update that data in the database

    The second part might be a little harder than part 1, though if you get the hang of part 1, the second ADMIN one shouldn't be too bad at all.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Cool. Any suggestions on how to incorportate this into a blog with movable type?
    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    The honest answer is no.

    I tested many (10+) CMS packages last year, and I'm pretty sure Movable Type was in there somewhere.  I didn't test for customizations though, so I can't really give any advice for that CMS package.  What I can say though, is if you can find where to add your own code/make your own page/block content, or- if you find the source, you can edit and add it in.  If it's obvious, I'd be very careful or else you might end up changing something and breaking everything.

    I think XOOPS and maybe e107 have this feature built in... don't quote me on that though.  I haven't used the banner/CPM-tracking feature (ever).  

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