How to tell WebTrends about a bug or a change you’d like

This tip isn’t for getting help or support.  It’s for something more important — giving feedback to WebTrends that will improve the whole WebTrends universe.  We hope.

From the Admin screen:

     Customer Center > Contact Us > Submit Product Feedback

If you’re reporting a bug, give enough detail so they can reproduce it.  Include what DID happen as well as what SHOULD happen.  A good format for reproduceability is “Do this, then this, then this.  It shows such-and-such.  It should show such-and-such.”

If you’re requesting a change or feature, explain why you think it’s important.  Given an example of a “use case” if you can. 

Trust us — the Insiders in Portland really pay attention to what flows into WebTrends from this screen.  Submissions get triaged as well as generally circulated among smart people.  You’ll rarely hear back, but have some faith that your input is being seen.

 

 

The WebTrends *.wlp file — knowing enough to be dangerous

(Applies to:  software)

It’s early in the history of the WebTrends Outsider and we may as well get in big trouble right away.

This topic is about the *.wlp files.  You need to know that they exist and you might actually find them interesting.  And once in a while you will need to alter one — for example when dealing with the issue of the Pages report showing both www and non-www versions of your domain name, resulting in double listings for some pages.  The fix for that problem involves adding a line to a .wlp file.

Nobody seems to know what “wlp” stands for.   You just need to know that it’s the mother configuration file for a profile, and every profile has one.

You will need:

  • A text editor (Notepad is unsafe because it blocks access for the files it has open.  Invest in TextPad.)
  • Access to the WebTrends program directory on the WebTrends server (i.e. have the necessary privileges and permissions to browse around in there and open files)
  • The semi-secret GUID of the profile you are interested in (this is the 11-character string that appears in greyed-out font in the Profile File Name field of the General tab when you edit a profile.  Or, when you are looking at reports, it is in the address bar as the *.wlp filename) (GUID stands for “Globally Unique Identifier.”  The GUID will stay constant no matter how often you change a profile’s title.  This is a good thing.)

Ready?  It’s best to look at *.wlp files when WebTrends isn’t actually analyzing or displaying anything. 

Using Windows Explorer (or any file browser) find your WebTrends program directory.  Go here:

     … Program Files / WebTrends / storage / config / wtm_wtx / datfiles / profiles

In the /Profiles folder you’ll see *.wlp and *.bak files, for all your current GUIDS and maybe some old ones too.

Open the *.wlp file that has the same name as your favorite profile’s GUID.  (This would be a good time to tell Windows that you want all *.wlp files to be opened with TextPad.) 

Now, just read through it.  Did you find it interesting, even exciting?  Then you have the makings of a WT hacker.  Was it scary?  It’s just as well.  You really don’t want to change anything in these without somebody telling you exactly what to do.

That’s it.  End of tip.  Just thought you should know.

 

  

Managing www’s in the Pages report

(Applies to:  software)

If this is happening then your underlying problem is that your site server is set up wrong.  Talk to somebody in charge of the servers and ask about making all requests for “yoursite.com” redirect (301 type) to “www.yoursite.com.”  If they tell you they don’t know how to do it, question their right to hold their current position.  They’ve already got one foot over the line by letting this happen in the first place.

Meanwhile, here is a more constructive workaround if you use software.  You have to make a change in a config file.  If you re-analyze data, the old data will be corrected.  If you don’t re-analyze old data, your new data will be okay, but any page reports referring to old data will show those problem domain names.  It’s best to re-analyze.  Re-analysis is one of the perks of having the software version of WebTrends.

Here’s the trick.  Add the following line to the [profile] section of the profile’s .wlp file:

       overridemultihome = 1

This line forces WebTrends to ignore the “host domain” field of logs.  WebTrends will instead display, as the domain in pages reports, whatever you entered as the Web Site URL field in the Home tab of the profile’s setup.

You have to be a little careful.  This is all or nothing.  All domain names in the logs will be overridden.  If your logs have other important domains in them, think about other solutions such as editing the logs before analyzing them.

However, domain name filters (applied at the profile level) will still work!  The multi-home domain filter takes effect before the domain name suppression happens.

What?  You don’t know about .wlp files?   See the .wlp file topic.

 

 

 

 

About The Webtrends Outsider

 

The WebTrends Outsider is a cabal … a conspiracy … a conclave … well, actually more like a motley crew of WebTrends customer-users who like to use, understand, and explain WebTrends Analytics.   Our center is the Enlighten agency in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA.

The whole idea of The Outsider came out of a Webtrends Customer Advisory Board meeting a few years ago, in which Webtrends management got us excited, once again, about the all-around niftiness of this tool.  That doesn’t mean we think Webtrends in its current form is perfect and “best” is always a matter of context.  But the fact remains that it’s a pretty great tool, we know it well, and we’d like others to be able to use it as well as possible.  We think many people are under-using it.

We’ve gotten our understanding (such as it is) from WebTrends tech support and documentation and sometimes from the Dark Side (mainly involving sinister laboratory experiments and vivisection of config files).

The Outsider’s topics are practical and we stay away from the tarbaby called “industry commentary.”  For that and other pseudo-philosophical aspects of analytics you will have to sleuth out our personal blogs or maybe just pay attention to entirely other people out there.

We do Webtrends consulting, of course.  We really like repairing and auditing existing Webtrends setups, with the goal of getting our clients to feel that they are getting valuable, accurate, truly useful information out of their Webtrends analytics.  We also like doing one-on-one Webtrends training … in person, over the phone, whatever.

Let us know what you think.  Follow us on Twitter @The_WT_Outsider if you want to get notified about new posts.