Track OER - status report, 14 August

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Nick Freear
14 August 2012

I'll be discussing some topics in more detail, but I thought it would be usful to give a brief run down of what we've been up to and what we'll be doing in the next week...

At the start of last week I forked Piwik and worked on the AlternateImage plugin. I've already had some feedback on that work, which is great.

In the middle of last week I was experimenting with the no-Javascript image-tracker based around Piwik, and I started on Track OER core, which is a CodeIgniter-based web application. It provides short/clean-URL redirection to the Piwik (Piwik_Tracker class) and Google Analytics (to do) web-beacons, some test and demonstration pages, form-tools (more on that later), and links to Piwik, the project blog and so on.

We were also configuring Piwik and trackoer-core on our demonstration server, and by the end of the last week, with the help of our IET-SST colleagues (thanks Phil and Dave) and central IT, we had Track.olnet.org publicly visible.

My plans for the next few days are to blog about the project in relation to external APIs, and privacy. I'll be improving the current Piwik-based license-tracker snippet, and pressing on with the Google Analytics-based one. Oh, and testing, testing...

I alluded to the short/clean-URL redirection provided by trackoer-core above. Although I believe this is useful, the other key role of the redirector can be summed up by the comment and code on lines 45-6 of Piwik_Tracker.php, "For the no-Javascript web-bug image, the OER's destination URL is the referrer."  This highlights one of the key challenges of this project - re-purposing tools like Piwik and Google Analytics from a scenario where the person viewing the reports knows the URL where the pages reside, to an OER-reuse scenario where the destination URL is unknown (and the server component is variable).

(Note, please excuse the indentation/white-space inconsistency in the trackoer-core source files - I'll fix this over time.)

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