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PresideCMS Extension: Google Analytics Measurement Protocol

v0.3.4.00037 Preside Extensions

Google Analytics Measurement Protocol

The Google Analytics Measurement Protocol extension allows developers to make HTTP requests to send raw user interaction data directly to Google Analytics servers. This allows developers to measure how users interact with their websites serverside without the need for cookies.

How it works

Once installed, and configured (see configuration below) the extension will automatically prepare and publish page view request data to the configured Google Analytics account using the GAMP API.

The extension will also set a custom dimension that can be used to segment hits registered using the GAMP API. See the details below on how this works.

Configuration

You can configure the extension in the System > Settings > Google Analytics Measurement Protocol admin form.

Analytics Property

This is usually the Google Analytics tracking ID that can be obtained from your Google Ananlytics account.

Analytics Dimension ID

As mentioned in the opening note, the extension can set a custom dimension by default, that can be used to segment hits registered using the GAMP API.

The dimension is called "Preside GAMP" and only comes into effect if you set this to a value which is greater than zero in the CMS Admin.

If you would like the default dimension to be applied, you can configure the Google Analytics Dimension ID from the Admin > Custom Dimensions property configuration in the Analytics console. Then, in the extension, you should set the "Analytics Dimension ID" value to be the Index value of the dimension in Analytics.

Preventing GAMP API page view submissions

If you ever wish to prevent the default page tracking e.g. if you're sending an AJAX request for tracking a custom event such as a button click, you can use the below method to remove the default page view tracking.

// Overriding page view tracking via a helper method available in the extension
analytics( method="disable" );

Setting custom dimensions

Custom dimensions are used to collect data that Analytics doesn't automatically track and is a characteristic of an object that can be given different values e.g. a dimension "describes" data

Below is an example of how you can set a custom dimension in your application code. As above you need to ensure the index value corresponds with the Index in Analiytics and the value is set to whatever data you wish to record.

// Set a value to describe whether the user is logged in or not
analytics( "setDimension", { index=2, value="#$isWebsiteUserLoggedIn()#" } );

Setting custom metrics

A metric is an individual element of a dimension which can be measured as a sum or ratio e.g. a metric "measures" data Same as the custom dimensions above, you can set custom metrics in Analytics using the example code below.

// Set a value to measure the depth in which the user scrolled in an article
analytics( "setMetric", { index=3, value="50" } );

Firing custom events

One of the reasons for having to use this extension is to overcome the potential issue of visitors disabling the Analytics tracking scripts via a Cookie Control extension. Therefore the GAMP API extension has a public handler which allows you to use AJAX or other direct methods in code to fire tracking events directly into Analytics.

Triggering/registering events - Server side

Below is example code that you can set in your handler or service to trigger an event from the server side.

  • Add detail with examples of custom events
analytics( "addEvent", { category="Test Category", action="Download", label="Test Document", value=1 } );

Triggering/registering events - Client side

  • Add AJAX proxy handler for making AJAX event requests that get submitted pre-postRender /?event=analytics.triggerEvent&method=addEvent&category=Test%20Category&action=Trigger%20Event%20Action&label=Custom%20Event%20Triggered%20Label

Debugging

If you're working on implementing this extension into your application and wish to see the generated URL encoded string that has been generated, you can enable debugMode in the Config.cfc

settings.analytics.debugMode = true; // Default is false

The output is sent to the standard output stream which normally is available in your Lucee /lucee/logs/server.out.txt file

Simply search / grep for the prefix: [INFO ] runwar.context: Preside System Output (rcpath) [2020-10-27 09:30: 37]: Analytics payload:

Example JSON output

// 20201023180007
// http://websitedomain.com/?event=analytics.triggerEvent&method=addEvent&category=Test%20Category&action=Trigger%20Event%20Action&label=Custom%20Event%20Triggered%20Label

{
    "v": "1",
    "tid": "UA-123456789-1",
    "cid": "7e4e8575-32a0-48d8-8bgh3c97a67e8638",
    "uid": "",
    "ds": "web",
    "uip": "127.0.0.1",
    "ua": "Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_15_7) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/86.0.4240.111 Safari/537.36",
    "dr": "",
    "cn": "",
    "cs": "",
    "cm": "",
    "ck": "",
    "cc": "",
    "ci": "",
    "gclid": "",
    "dclid": "",
    "debugMode": true,
    "pageView": {

    },
    "events": [
        {
            "el": "Custom Event Triggered Label",
            "ec": "Test Category",
            "ea": "Trigger Event Action"
        }
    ],
    "dimensions": {
        "1": "Preside GAMP"
    },
    "metrics": {

    }
}

Please note that if your application is using a Cookie Control extension or framework, please ensure you implement something to prevent the GAMP API calls creating "double-hits" if the user accepts the cookies and the scripts load.

For example, the Civic Cookie Control plugin/framework sets a cookie called CookieControl which contains a serialised JSON object of the users preferences. This could be checked for existence and if set, the users choices used in a condition to set the analytics( method="disable" ); which will disable the GAMP API call.

The CookieBot cookie is called CookieConsent.

Changelog

v0.3.4

  • Adding conditional logic to prevent blank attributes from being incuded

v0.3.3

  • Adding an exclusion for api calls e.g. /api/k8s/maintenance/

v0.3.2

  • Updating the CHANGELOG.md with recent version details

v0.3.1

  • Moving the inclusion of the analyticsTriggerEventEndpoint JS variable to the postPresideRequestCapture interception point so buildLink will work as expected

v0.3.0

  • Updated README with elabrate working and usage details
  • Relocated configuration from Site to the System Configuration menu
  • Added ability to override page view tracking via a helper method disable
  • Added ability to set a Custom Dimension for segmenting GAMP API hits - Preside GAMP
  • Added handler for making remote calls via analytics.triggerEvent
  • Updated and elaborated the i18n properties

v0.2.1

  • Change interception points used

v0.2.0

  • Slight refactoring, allow one pageview per request

v0.1.2 - v0.1.6

  • Get build script working!

v0.1.1

  • Initial basic functionality

v0.1.0

  • Initialise repo

$ box install preside-ext-google-analytics-measurement-protocol

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