Category Archives: Analytics

Extend Sitecore Engagement Plan UI to assign contacts to an engagement plan state

The default Sitecore Engagement Plan currently supports the following option to assign users/contacts to an engagement plan state

  • Add from CSV File
  • Add a Sitecore user
  • Add all Members of a Sitecore Role
  • Add a Segment

Out off all those options only the segment option have the capability of assigning existing contacts to an engagement plan state.

However, what if we would like to import contacts from a CSV file there’s no option to do so, the Add from CSV file will import the data as Sitecore users instead of contacts.

We would need to modify the UI in order to achieve the functionality that we’re aiming for. To do so first we would need to figure which file to modify.

As the UI is using Silverlight it’s a bit difficult to figure which file we need to modify, however searching for the “Welcome to the Import Contacts Wizard” text under the /sitecore  folder reveals that this file seems to be the correct one

Further inspecting the code inside that file and tinkering with it a bit confirms that this is the correct file to modify.

We will not modify the existing Sitecore file, instead we will use the Override folder in order to apply our modification to the existing XML control. To do this copy and paste the existing ImportVisitors.xml file to the override folder

You can put the file directly inside the Override folder, but it’s good practice to replicate the original folder paths so you know which file you’re overriding. After we now know which file to modify we can start modifying the default behaviour of that XML control.

The modified ImportVisitors.xml

 

The code beside file

 

The end result

Source Code is available in GitHub

 

 

Sitecore SOLR index update strategies in a scaled environment

Sitecore by default ships with two main search provider which is Lucene or SOLR.

I will not delve too much on which one you should use as that’s been covered in https://doc.sitecore.net/sitecore_experience_platform/setting_up__maintaining/search_and_indexing/indexing/using_solr_or_lucene

I’d like to highlight some of the points mentioned in the article, where using SOLR is mandatory:

  1. You have a dedicated processing server
  2. You have multiple CM servers

The main thing here is that if sitecore_analytics_index exist in multiple servers then you would need to use SOLR. But since all the indexes are now in a centralized server, what’s the index update strategies for SOLR would be?

Typically in this setup you would set

  • CM as the indexing server
    • will perform index rebuild
    • Set the index update strategies as you fit (except manual)
  • CD only reads from index
    • Does not perform index rebuild
    • Set the index update strategies to manual

If you have multiple CM server then you can set one of the CM as the one that perform index rebuild while the other one only reads from the index.

https://doc.sitecore.net/sitecore_experience_platform/setting_up__maintaining/search_and_indexing/indexing/index_update_strategies

Sitecore 8 – how to update contact through FXM API

This post will talk through how to setup a custom actions to be executed to update Sitecore contact through FXM API. If you don’t know about FXM you can read a brief overview about it in the Sitecore site and the doc site

If you’ve played around with FXM and it’s javascript API then you would know that you can trigger client side call to send information back to Sitecore regarding the current visitor browsing behaviour. But what does one do if we want to update the Contact information instead? say the current visitor email address if they fill out a newsletter subscription form? or their unique user id if they have logged in through the external application?

Looking at the available javascript FXM API there’s these three methods available:

  1. SCBeacon.trackEvent
  2. SCBeacon.trackGoal
  3. SCBeacon.trackOutcome

and there’s no such things as SCBeacon.updateContact which we sought after. After some investigation there’s a couple of ways to do this.

1. A custom web service call to the Sitecore server

Setup a custom web service in Sitecore server and pass in the current visitor contact id for custom processing. Doable but I’m looking for something that can be done through the same javascript API if possible as it would mean greater coverage – can be reused by other external site. By doing it through FXM javascript API we don’t have to setup web service call in each external sites.

2. Modify the beacon script to include our custom function 

Modify the beacon script and include the custom SCBeacon.updateContact function. Figured that this won’t be ideal as we would muck around with the bundled javascript and won’t be compatible in Sitecore future upgrades.

3. Hook into one of the available methods to do some custom processing

This seems like the best place to start. Out of the available methods I choose to override the trackEvent tracking implementation because the action that I want to captured falls to “system” type action, doesn’t relate to conversion (Goal) or has monetary value (Outcome). Plus if I use page events then by default the events triggered will not show in the Experience Profile which might confused the marketers.

OK, let’s do this.

This is done with the latest Sitecore version at the time of writing which is 8.1 update 3.

First let’s open the Sitecore.FXM.config in /website/app_config/include/fxm folder

I opened up Sitecore.FXM.Pipelines.Tracking.TriggerPageEvent.RunRegisterPageEventProcessor using dotPeak to find out that it will run the tracking.registerpageevent pipeline

When I take a look at Sitecore.FXM.Pipelines.Tracking.RegisterPageEvent.RegisterPageEventProcessor and what it does it seems this would be the best place to put my custom logic

We can override the TriggerPageEvent method and implement our custom processing.

The next step is for us to create our custom Processor class which extends from Sitecore’s default RegisterPageEventProcessor

After that we need to register our custom processor class in the config file. For best practice use Sitecore config file patching to do.

In our custom config file we override the default processor class to process the triggered page events with our custom processor class. Put the file in /website/app_config/include/zzz.POC/ folder

Now that we have our custom processor class and have registered it through the custom config file, we need to create the actual page event items in Sitecore.

Here’s what the created page event items looks like in my setup.

registered-custom-page-events

And now to test it out, browse to the external site  and open the developer console to run these javascripts

We can check the end result in MongoDB after the session has timeout

updated-contact-through-FXM

And in the Experience Profile

updated-contact-through-FXM-xFile

That’s it folks.

 

Sitecore analytics stops tracking

Got a weird issue recently when Sitecore analytics stop tracking page visits on one of our client site. The site is running on Sitecore 7.2 rev 140228 and has been running for a few weeks, looking at the ItemUrls and Visits table the records doesn’t seem to be populated when the site pages was accessed a couple of times even with different browsers.

I quickly ran SQL Server Profiler against the analytics database and try to access a couple of the pages again and definitely see some activities against the analytics database but none of it which inserting data to ItemUrls and Visits table. I tried clearing out all the records in the analytics database, all tables except PageEventDefinitions, TrafficTypes, and VisitorClassifications because those tables have default values in it when we setup a Sitecore fresh install.

Still no avail, I then wondered if the config values for the analytics is set correctly. I access the /sitecore/admin/showconfig.aspx and was able to confirm that the configuration was already right. Trying to pinpoint the issue I was wondering what files are included when we install the analytics feature on Sitecore, opening the zip file I found the following:

  • Sitecore.Analytics.config
  • Sitecore.Analytics.ExcludeRobots.config
  • Sitecore.Analytics.RobotDetection.config
  • Sitecore.Analytics.ldf
  • Sitecore.Analytics.mdf

Wondering if the cause is because one of the following config file I then tried to disable the Sitecore.Analytics.RobotDetection.config file by renaming it to Sitecore.Analytics.RobotDetection.config.disabled (rename the extension to anything other than .config so Sitecore ignores it).

Aha!. The analytics start working again.

In the Sitecore.Analytics.RobotDetection.config file this two line pick my interest

It replaces the Robots tracker from the Sitecore.Analytics and use the one from Sitecore.Analytics.RobotDetection dll instead. When I take a look on the Sitecore.Analytics.RobotDetection assemby this is what I found.

Sitecore.Analytics.RobotDetection.Pipelines.AcceptChanges.Robots

Sitecore.Analytics.RobotDetection.Pipelines.InitializeTracker.Robots

On the first visit it will set the visitor classification to 925 which means this visitor is flagged as Bot – Auto Detected which then on the acceptChanges pipeline it will abort the pipeline causing it not to insert any data to the ItemUrls and Visits table.

The issue is on the Sitecore.Analytics.RobotDetection.Pipelines.InitializeTracker.Robots class, it always mark the visitor on first visit as Bot which caused the activity to be ignored by the Sitecore analytics. Compared to what Sitecore.Analytics.Pipelines.AcceptChanges.Robots is doing here

on Sitecore.Analytics.Pipelines.AcceptChanges.Robots it will mark the visitor as Bot on the first visit but then on the second visit it will mark the visitor as Unidentified and log the activitiy to ItemUrl and Visits table.

[update-7-November-2014]

My colleague Cahyadi Hendrawan contacted Sitecore support and confirmed there was a breaking changes in Sitecore 7.2 robot detection logic. The solution was to add

[/update-7-November-2014]

Installing Sitecore DMS

I’m using Sitecore 6.5 and DMS 2.0.0 rev. 110818

Extract the zip file

extract-zip-file

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Open your sql server management studio and attach the database, i named it Sitecore.Analytics.Local

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In your Sitecore installation folder, find the ConnectionsStrings.config file –can be found under App_Config folder- and add in the connection string for analytics

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Put the analytics config files in App_ConfigIncludes folder

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Test it, open Sitecore dashboard and try to open the marketing center

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If this page comes up you’re good to go

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