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Analytics Service

Overview

The Analytics Service is a component of the BlackBerry Application Platform that can help you better understand the characteristics of your users and their behavior. By integrating the Analytics Service into your application, you can access a wide range of data that can help your organization make informed business decisions.

  • Identifying your users: To help you identify the audience for your application, you can view data about the BlackBerry device models, BlackBerry Device Software versions, countries of origin, and languages of your users.
  • Understanding user behavior: To gain a better understanding of how your users use your application, you can view data about the number of unique users, the total number of sessions, and the average length of a session.
  • Tracking specific actions and events: To identify which parts of your application get the most use, you can view data about screen views, button clicks, application errors, and more.

The Analytics Service collects the data, compiles it, and produces reports and metrics on a web portal that you can view. To sign up for the Analytics Service and download the Analytics Service SDK, visit http://developer.blackberry.com/devzone/services/analytics. To view the web portal, visit http://blackberry.webtrends.com.

Simple and flexible implementation

The Analytics Service APIs are designed to be flexible and easy to implement. Your application can collect and send data about your users (and how they interact with your application), without you having to add a lot of additional code in your application. To set up your development environment, you only need to add the Analytics Service library and a configuration file to your BlackBerry application project. After you set up your application, you can configure the application to collect information about application starts and transitions. If you want to track more specific actions or events, you can design your application to invoke one of the data collection methods using only a few lines of code.

Metrics and reports

The parameters that your application sends to the data collection server populate the metrics and reports that you view in the Analytics Service web portal. Depending on the needs of your organization, you can make the metrics and reports as simple or as complex as you want them to be by manipulating the arguments that you pass into the data collection methods. Metrics describe high-level information such as the number of screen views, number of unique users, and the average length of sessions. Reports contain more detailed information about specific events that occur in your application, such as button clicks, ad views, and errors. For a complete list of the metrics and reports that are available, see the Analytics Service Web Portal User Guide at http://docs.blackberry.com/en/developers/subcategories/?userType=21&category=Analytics+Service .

Application performance

To help minimize the impact that data collection has on the performance of your application and the BlackBerry device, the Analytics Service API includes the following features.

Feature

Description

Thread creation

Data collection processes don't use the main application thread. When your application collects and sends data to the data collection server, your application automatically creates a new thread. Creating a separate thread helps ensure that delays or exceptions that might occur during data collection don't block the user from interacting with the application UI.

Data queuing

Your application sends the data that it collects to a queue system. From the queue system, the application sends the data to the data collection server in fixed intervals. If your application can't send data to the data collection server (for example, in cases when the device can't connect to the wireless network), data remains in the queue until the device can send data.

In the configuration file, you can specify how many times the application should attempt to send data and how much data can be in the queue at once.

Battery level detection

When the battery level of a device drops below the specified level, your application stops sending data over the wireless network to the data collection server. Data is still collected if the battery level drops too low, but it remains in the event queue until the battery level rises above the specified level again.

In the configuration file, you can specify the minimum battery level at which the application can collect and send data.

User identity protection

The Analytics Service is designed to collect data about user behavior in your applications, without revealing any personal information about your users. To organize data effectively, the data collection server requires a unique identifier for each user. To create a unique user ID that doesn't reveal any personally identifiable information, the application hashes the PIN for the device and applies Base64 encoding. If the PIN for the device is unavailable, the application creates a random 32 character string.

Architecture: Analytics Service framework

Architecture of the Analytics Service framework

Component

Description

Application that integrates the Analytics Service library

The Analytics Service library enables your BlackBerry application to send data about user behavior over the wireless network to the data collection server. Typically, event data includes a number of different parameters that describe the event, as well as non-identifying information about user, such as the BlackBerry device model, and the BlackBerry Device Software version.

Data collection server

The data collection server receives event data from your application, stores the data, and compiles the data in reports web portal for you to view. For each event that your application sends data about, your application includes the dcsid parameter, which is a unique identifier for your application. The data collection server requires the presence of the dcsid to organize data based on the application that sends it.

Web portal

The web portal is a UI that you can use to view data about user behavior in your applications.

Process flow: Collecting, organizing and displaying data about an application

  1. A user performs an event that you want to track in your application. For example, a user clicks the help icon in your application.
  2. The application invokes the appropriate data collection method. The following code sample shows an example of how your application can collect data about button clicks.
    try
    {
        WebtrendsDataCollector.getInstance().onButtonClick("/AnalyticsDemo/Main/", "MainScreen", "help click", null);
    }
    catch (IllegalWebtrendsParameterValueException err)
    {
        WebtrendsDataCollector.getLog().e(err.getMessage());
    }
  3. The application sends parameters that contain information about the event and non-identifying information about the user to an event queue in the application.
  4. When the event reaches the front of the event queue, the application sends the parameters from the event queue to the data collection server.
  5. The data collection server stores the data about the event and compiles the data in a number of different metrics and reports.
  6. An Analytics Service user accesses the web portal to view metrics and reports about the data collected.