Page View Tracking

Aug 11, 2021

I've been putting some decent effort into creating content for this blog lately, and I decided it would be nice to start tracking hits to the site. Most analytics platforms have terrible privacy practices or cost a bunch of money, so I decided to simply build my own.

Since I've been learning Motoko programming for my Coding with Kyle series (now available on YouTube), I decided to go ahead and build this using the Internet Computer as a cheap and open backend.

Tracking as little as possible

Really, all I care about is getting a sense of what people are looking at, and what kind of a device they're coming from.

To that end, I came up with this simple structure for my data:

stable var visitSummaries : Trie.Trie<Route, VisitSummary> = Trie.empty();

stable var logs : [VisitRecord] = [];

Basically, what we have here is a Trie, which I'm using like a key-value Map of routes, which are URL's, and a Summary of the visits of that route. Then, I'm also keeping a log of records, as a simple array.

The types look like this:

type Route = Text;

type DeviceType = { #Mobile; #Desktop };

type VisitRecord = {
    deviceType: DeviceType;
    time: Time.Time;
    route: Route;

type VisitSummary = {
    route: Route;
    total: Nat32;
    mobile: Nat32;
    desktop: Nat32;

Pretty straightforward - the Route is a string, just the URL. DeviceType is a Motoko Variant, which will be one of the attributes, either #Mobile or #Desktop. Then, I have two different records that I update when someone visits a page - a simple log with the deviceType, a timestamp, and the route, as well as a summary of each route.

This allows me to quickly pull up a summary of each route, with things like the total visits, and the mobile / desktop distribution. The logs will let me do more rigorous data exploration down the road if I so choose.

Here's the rest of the code, and a link to the repo.


© Kyle Peacock 2021