Usage statistics

Created: 1304165410|%e %B %Y, %H:%M|agohover by leiger, Last updated: 1307768335|%O ago by leiger. History

Usage statistics are enabled by default in STE, but it is very easy to disable them if you wish to do so. They are generally unobtrusive, and the sending of statistics has been designed not to interfere with your work – everything is done in a separate thread on the CPU. Additionally, statistics are only tracked whilst you have an active Internet connection - any actions performed while offline are not tracked.

What is tracked?

Nothing personally identifiable will ever be tracked using usage statistics. Currently the following are tracked (if you leave usage statistics enabled):

Running the program When you start up STE, your OS name and version, as well as Java version, are sent to the server. No other information is sent. An example string that the server might receive is: "STE v3.32 started: Mac OS X 10.6.7 (x86_64), Java 1.6.0_24"
Importing a page Stats server is told that someone imported a page. That's it. No specific details (e.g. site name or page contents) are ever recorded.
Exporting a page Stats server is told that someone exported a page. That's it. No specific details (e.g. site name or page contents) are ever recorded.
Previewing a page Stats server is told that someone previewed a page, and whether they used a private API key or not (true/false). Neither the API key nor any other information about you is sent.

Planned for the future

Suggested things to track that might be implemented in the future (but currently are not being tracked) are:

  • Resolution of monitor.
  • Width and Height of STE window.
  • Name of the toolbar icon pack you are using.

If you are concerned about any of these, or would like to clarify exactly what would be tracked, you are encouraged to post a thread in the STE forum. There you'll get some quick answers to whatever questions you have.

Anything that makes someone uncomfortable will not be tracked – please let me know if this is the case. Or you could also opt-out of usage statistics altogether (see below).

Why are usage statistics tracked?

Usage statistics play a huge part in the decision about what features will be improved in future releases of STE.

They help to gain an understanding of:

  • Which operating systems I need to support.
  • Which versions of Java to support.
  • The features that are used most often, and might need to be made more user-friendly.
  • Any features that are rarely used, and might need to be advertised a bit more or completely re-written so that they are actually useful.

How to opt-out of usage statistics

As usage statistics help the development of STE, it is recommended that you discuss any concerns you have with them on the forum in order for changes to be made that you are comfortable with. However, if you decide that you want to disable tracking of statistics, you can do that:

  1. Run STE
  2. Open the Settings dialog using Edit > Settings… or the F4 key (in Mac OS X, this is the Edit > Preferences… option, or ⌘+comma)
  3. De-select the checkbox labelled "Send anonymous usage statistics"
  4. Apply the changes

The ability to disable usage tracking has been available since it was first implemented because the developer strongly believes that you should have the choice to disable it if you want to.

How does it work? (technical)

When an event that needs to be tracked occurs (e.g. starting up STE), a blank page is exported to a Wikidot site with only the title and tags specified (no content/source code).

As a result of this, statistics are only tracked when a connection to the Wikidot API can be made. This means that if you do not have an active Internet connection, nothing you do will be tracked. Statistics are not recorded while offline to be uploaded later - they are just forgotten.

The title of the exported page contains a string with information, for example "STE v3.32 started: Mac OS X 10.6.7 (x86_64), Java 1.6.0_24". The page tag is used to define the type of statistic being tracked, for example the tag "startup" would be used in the above example.

As these pages are saved to an auto-numbered category, there will never be any page conflicts and the CountPages module can then be used to determine how often a particular event occurred. For example:

[[module CountPages category="usage" tags="startup" created_at="last 1 month"]]
STE was started up a total of %%total%% times in the last month.

There are plans to upgrade this in the future in order to allow more sophisticated sorting of information (for example, count how many times STE was started up on a specific operating system)… but at the moment it works exactly as described above.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License