Software Review: By Scott Clark
NetTracker has a weird installation procedure. It starts off by calling up your Web browser, which loads an installation page that allows you to specify which version you wish to install. By clicking on that version, it is downloaded to the directory of your choice (from the CD-ROM), and the procedure is continued. You must then go into the directory and execute the downloaded installation file, which, at least with the Windows NT/95 version, starts a normal installation program which is basically a fill-in-the-blanks wizard.
The NetTracker program is invisible to the end user, for all they will see is a bookmark or icon that represents the NetTracker report(s). All the reports are actually Web pages which call the NetTracker program as a CGI program. Unlike other log file analysis programs, NetTracker does not have to create the reports on the fly, as it actually stores the reports in a database on the server. The user can, however, update the report at any time by clicking the update button on the top frame of the NetTracker window (See Figure 1).
Figure 1: The NetTracker Toolbar Frame
If you work on your Web site regularly and you're running Web site analysis software, you may be thinking about logistics. You know that you've got 200 employees who work at the company, each having their own computer with access to the Web. The browser automatically goes to the company Web site, and you don't really want to count their visits in your reports. You also do not want to include hits from your own PC, knowing that you visit the site many times during a day. How can you filter out this information?
The folks at Sane Software have kept this thought in mind when they designed NetTracker, as it enables the administrator to filter out users, hosts, IPs and more. This keeps the analysis more accurate, and will enable the marketing folks to properly evaluate the site's performance.
As valuable as these reports may be to your company or organization, you may wish to have them available to be accessed by Excel, Word, MS Access, or other programs. NetTracker enables you to export the data to comma delineated value files so that they are accessible to these programs. The data may also be graphed in any of five different graph types of which the user may switch between using an included Java applet.
Move on to the next part of the review.
This article first appeared in December, 1997.
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