Android Tracker

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HOME > SNOWPLOW TECHNICAL DOCUMENTATION > Trackers > Android Tracker

This page refers to version 0.6.2+ of the Snowplow Android Tracker.

Documentation for older versions of this tracker is available:

Integration Guide:

Local Testing:

Contents

1. Overview

The Snowplow Android Tracker allows you to track Snowplow events from your Android applications and games. It supports applications using the Android SDK 11 and above.

The tracker should be straightforward to use if you are comfortable with Java development; its API is modelled after Snowplow's Python Tracker so any prior experience with that tracker is helpful but not necessary. If you haven't already, have a look at the Android Tracker Setup guide before continuing.

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1.1. Demo App

If you would like to see the Tracker in action you can download our demonstration android app here. You will need to enable installation of applications from unknown sources.

Within the app you will simply need to supply an endpoint and hit start! The application will then send all types of events available to the tracker to this endpoint.

For a walkthrough go here.

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1.2. Client Sessions

To activate client sessionization please enter the following builder arguments to your tracker:

Tracker.init(new Tracker.TrackerBuilder( ... )
  .sessionContext(true)     // To use the session context
  .sessionCheckInterval(10) // Checks every 10 seconds (default is 15)
  .foregroundTimeout(300)   // Timeout after 5 minutes (default is 10)
  .backgroundTimeout(120)   // Timeout after 2 minutes (default is 5)
  .build()
);

Once sessionization has been turned on several things will begin to happen:

  • A client_session context will be appended to each event that is sent
  • A polling check will be started to check whether or not the session has timed out
    • You can configure how often to check with the sessionCheckInterval method
    • If your app is in the foreground and no events have been sent for the foregroundTimeout period, the session will be updated and a new session started
    • There is a separate timeout if your application is detected to be in the background
  • Each time the session information is updated it is stored locally in a private file which should persist for the life of the application
  • Each time an event is sent from the Tracker, both timeouts for the session are reset
  • Session information will survive for the life of the application, i.e. until it is uninstalled from the Android device.

If you are building for Android API 14+ you can activate automatic background and foreground detection via:

Tracker.instance().setLifecycleHandler({{ APPLICATION_ACTIVITY }});

If you are below API 14 you will have to update your applications onPause() and onResume() functions to manually flag this change. The following samples can be copied into an application activity to set the background state of the application for the session checker:

@Override
protected void onPause() {
    super.onPause();
    tracker.getSession().setIsBackground(true);
}

@Override
protected void onResume() {
    super.onResume();
    tracker.getSession().setIsBackground(false);
}

2 Initialization

Assuming you have completed the Android Tracker Setup for your project, you are now ready to initialize the Android Tracker.

2.1 Importing the module

Import the Android Tracker's classes into your Android code like so:

import com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.tracker.*;

That's it - you are now ready to initialize a Tracker instance.

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2.2 Creating a Tracker

To instantiate a tracker in your code (can be global or local to the process being tracked) simply instantiate the Tracker interface with one of the following:

// Create an Emitter
Emitter e1 = new Emitter.EmitterBuilder("com.collector.acme", getContext())
  .build();

// Make and return the Tracker object
Tracker.init(new Tracker.TrackerBuilder(e1, "myNamespace", "myAppId", getContext())
  .build()
);

This is the most basic Tracker creation possible. Note that getContext() is an Android global function. You can expand on this creation with the following builder options:

// Create an Emitter
Emitter e2 = new Emitter.EmitterBuilder("com.collector.acme", getContext())
  .build();

// Create a Tracker with all options
Tracker.init(new Tracker
  .TrackerBuilder(e2, "myNamespace", "myAppId", getContext())
  .base64(false) // Optional - defines if we use base64 encoding
  .platform(DevicePlatforms.Mobile) // Optional - defines what platform the event will report to be on
  .subject(new Subject.SubjectBuilder().build()) // Optional - a subject which contains values appended to every event
  .build()
);

As you can see there is a fair amount of modularity to the Trackers creation.

The below are required arguments for the 'TrackerBuilder({{ ... }})' segment of the constructor:

Argument Name Description Required?
emitter The emitter which sends the events Yes
namespace The name of the tracker instance Yes
appId The application ID Yes
context The application context Yes

We also have several extra builder options:

Function Description Options Default
subject The subject that defines a user Subject, null null
platform The platform that the Tracker is running on DevicePlatforms.{{ Enum Option }} DevicePlatforms.Mobile
base64 Whether to enable Base64 encoding True, False True
level The level of logging to do LogLevel.{{ Enum Option }} LogLevel.OFF
sessionContext Whether to enable sessionization True, False False
foregroundTimeout The session foreground timeout Any valid Long 600
backgroundTimeout The session background timeout Any valid Long 300
sessionCheckInterval The session check interval Any valid Long 15
threadCount The amount of threads to use Any valid Integer 10 threads
timeUnit The TimeUnit that time measurements are in TimeUnit.{{ Enum Option }} TimeUnit.SECONDS
geoLocationContext Whether to enable GeoLocation context True, False False
mobileContext Whether to enable Mobile context True, False False
applicationCrash Whether to track application crashes True, False False
lifecycleEvents Whether to track lifecycle events True, False False

2.2.1 Constructor Options Explained

Required

  • emitter : The pre created Emitter object which is required for all sending and storing of events by the Tracker. See Emitters for information.
  • namespace : The name of this Tracker instance to include with events sent to the collector.
  • appId : The ID of this application to include with events sent to the collector.
  • context : The Android Application context object.

Event Decoration

  • subject : An optional Subject object which will add extra decoration to events sent from the Tracker.
  • platform : The platform that the Tracker is running on (defaults to MOBILE)
  • base64 : Whether to encode self-describing events and custom contexts in base64 formatting.
  • geoLocationContext : Optionally adds a geo-location context to each event
  • mobileContext : Optionally adds a mobile context to each event
  • applicationCrash : Optionally tracks UncaughtExceptions before re-throwing the exception
  • lifecycleEvents : Optionally tracks foreground and background events

Session Parameters

  • sessionContext : Needs to be set to True if you wish to activate any of the Trackers Sessionization functionality.
  • foregroundTimeout : The amount of time that needs to elapse without any events being tracked before the session is incremented (while application is in the foreground).
  • backgroundTimeout : The amount of time that needs to elapse without any events being tracked before the session is incremented (while application is in the background).
  • sessionCheckInterval : How often the Tracker queries the session object to see if it needs to be incremented. It is currently set to 15 seconds.
  • timeUnit : The unit of time that the previous three options are computed on. By default it is in SECONDS, as such to set a sessionCheckInterval of 2 minutes you would need to put in 120 for that option. Or you could change the timeUnit to be MINUTES and put a 2 instead.

Functional Settings

  • threadCount : The amount of threads that the Tracker will have available to it to process information in. By default we use 10 Threads, however it is recommended to figure out the optimal amount of Threads on a device by device basis as more Threads will have a direct correlation with performance.
  • level : The amount of logging done by the Tracker.

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2.3 Tracker Functions

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2.3.1 getEmitter

Returns the emitter to which the tracker will send events. See Emitters for more on emitter configuration.

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2.3.2 getSubject

Returns the user which the Tracker will track. This must be an instance of the Subject class. You don't need to set this during Tracker construction; you can use the Tracker.setSubject method afterwards. In fact, you don't need to create a subject at all. If you don't, though, your events won't contain user-specific data such as timezone and language.

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2.3.3 getNamespace

Returns the namespace argument attached to every event fired by the new tracker. This allows you to later identify which tracker fired which event if you have multiple trackers running.

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2.3.4 getAppId

Returns the appId argument that you passed in Tracker construction.

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2.3.5 getBase64Encoded

By default, self-describing events and custom contexts are encoded into Base64 to ensure that no data is lost or corrupted. You can turn encoding on or off using the Boolean base64Encoded builder option.

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2.3.6 getPlatform

Returns the 'platform' that was set in Tracker construction, the builder allows you to pick from a list of allowed platforms which define what type of device/service the event is being sent from.

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2.3.7 getSession

Returns the session object created for the Tracker (if sessionContext was enabled).

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2.3.8 getDataCollection

Returns the state of data collection in the Tracker; either True or False.

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2.3.9 getLogLevel

Returns the LogLevel being used by the Tracker.

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2.3.10 getThreadCount

Returns the amount of threads that the tracker is consuming.

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2.3.11 getTrackerVersion

Returns this Trackers version as a String.

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2.3.12 Change the tracker's platform with setPlatform

You can change the platform by calling:

tracker.setPlatform(DevicePlatforms.Mobile);
// OR
tracker.setPlatform(DevicePlatforms.Desktop);
// OR
tracker.setPlatform(DevicePlatforms.{{ Valid Enum Option }})

There are several different DevicePlatforms options to choose from.

For a full list of supported platforms, please see the Snowplow Tracker Protocol.

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2.3.13 Change the tracker's subject with setSubject

You can change the subject by creating a new Subject object and then calling:

tracker.setSubject(newSubject);

See Adding extra data: the Subject class for more information on the Subject.

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2.3.14 Change the tracker's emitter with setEmitter

You can change the emitter by creating a new Emitter object and then calling:

tracker.setEmitter(newEmitter);

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2.3.15 Sets up an activity Lifecycle Handler

You can set up the lifecycle handler with the following sample:

tracker.setLifecycleHandler(activity);

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2.4 Extra Tracker Functions

These are extra functions for controlling the Tracker. The Tracker is designed to be run without ever using any of these functions however they are there for any special use cases where you need to shutdown or otherwise control the Tracker.

For example if you wish to artificially extend the time a session is active you can simply pauseSessionChecking for an undetermined amount of time. To resume automatic session checking and updating simply run resumeSessionChecking.

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2.4.1 resumeSessionChecking

This function resumes a polling session checker service. This will query the Trackers session object at pre-configured intervals to see whether or not the session needs to be updated if it has not been accessed within a certain amount of time.

This function is started if the argument to .sessionContext is True, and will only ever be able to run if this argument is True.

tracker.resumeSessionChecking();

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2.4.2 pauseSessionChecking

This functions stops the session checker from running. Essentially preventing the current session from ever timing out. Please note that if the application is restarted this paused state will not persist and checking will begin again.

tracker.pauseSessionChecking();

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2.4.3 resumeEventTracking

If event tracking has been switched off this will reinstate the Tracker back to full operation. This means that:

  • Events will start being stored in the database again.
  • Events will be sent to the collector.
  • Session checking will begin to occur again (if enabled)
tracker.resumeEventTracking();

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2.4.4 pauseEventTracking

If event tracking is switched on (it is by default), then the Tracker will have all event tracking paused. What this means is that:

  • No events will be stored in the database or tracked at all.
  • No events will be sent to the collector.
  • No session checks will occur.

Essentially the entire Tracker will halt operation until event tracking is turned back on.

tracker.pauseEventTracking();

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3. Adding extra data: the Subject class

You may have additional information about your application's environment, current user and so on, which you want to send to Snowplow with each event. The Subject appended to the Tracker allows you to easily add information to each event that is sent from the Tracker.

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3.1 Subject setter functions

The Subject class has a set of set...() methods to attach extra data relating to the user to all tracked events:

Here are some examples:

Subject s1 = new Subject.SubjectBuilder().build();

s1.setUserID("Kevin Gleason"); 
s1.setLanguage("en-gb");
s1.setScreenResolution(1920, 1080);

After that, you can add your Subject to your Tracker like so:

Tracker.init(new Tracker.TrackerBuilder(emitter, "myNamespace", "myAppId")
  .subject(s1) // Include your subject here!
  .build()
);

// Or you can set the subject after creation
// This will also override any currently set Subject object

Tracker.instance().setSubject(s1);

To update the Trackers subject without changing the subject attached already you can use the following:

Tracker.instance().getSubject().setUserId("Gleason Kevin"); // Because object references are passed by value in Java

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3.1.1 Set user ID with setUserId

You can set the user ID to any string:

setUserId(String userId)

Example:

subj.setUserId("alexd");

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3.1.2 Set screen resolution with setScreenResolution

If your Java code has access to the device's screen resolution, then you can pass this in to Snowplow too:

setScreenResolution(int width, int height)

Both numbers should be positive integers; note the order is width followed by height. Example:

subj.setScreenResolution(1366, 768);

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3.1.3 Set viewport dimensions with setViewport

If your Java code has access to the viewport dimensions, then you can pass this in to Snowplow too:

setViewport(int width, int height)

Both numbers should be positive integers; note the order is width followed by height. Example:

subj.setViewport(300, 200);

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3.1.4 Set color depth with setColorDepth

If your Java code has access to the bit depth of the device's color palette for displaying images, then you can pass this in to Snowplow too:

setColorDepth(int depth)

The number should be a positive integer, measured in bits per pixel. Example:

subj.setColorDepth(32);

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3.1.5 Set timezone with setTimezone

This method lets you pass a user's timezone in to Snowplow:

setTimezone(String timezone)

The timezone should be a string:

subj.setTimezone("Europe/London");

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3.1.6 Set the language with setLanguage

This method lets you pass a user's language in to Snowplow:

setLanguage(String language)

The language should be a string:

subj.setLanguage("en");

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3.1.7 setIpAddress

This method lets you pass a user's IP Address in to Snowplow:

setIpAddress(String ipAddress)

The IP address should be a string:

subj.setIpAddress("127.0.0.1");

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3.1.8 setUseragent

This method lets you pass a useragent in to Snowplow:

setUseragent(String useragent)

The useragent should be a string:

subj.setUseragent("Agent Smith");

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3.1.9 setNetworkUserId

This method lets you pass a Network User ID in to Snowplow:

setNetworkUserId(String networkUserId)

The network user id should be a string:

subj.setNetworkUserId("network-id");

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3.1.10 setDomainUserId

This method lets you pass a Domain User ID in to Snowplow:

setDomainUserId(String domainUserId)

The domain user id should be a string:

subj.setDomainUserId("domain-id");

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3.2 Additional contexts sent by this tracker

This Tracker not only appends the generic subject information to each event; it will also attempt to gather more specific information about the mobile it is hosted on.

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3.2.1 mobile_context

The mobile_context is comprised of the following fields:

  • androidIdfa -> The host phones unique AdvertisingId
  • carrier -> The host phones phones network carrier
  • deviceModel -> The host phones phones model
  • deviceManufacturer -> The host phones phones manufacturer
  • osVersion -> The host phones phones operating system version
  • osType -> The host phones phones operating system type
  • networkType -> The network type being used
  • networkTechnology -> The network technology being used

To get the mobile context:

Tracker.init(new Tracker.TrackerBuilder(...)
  .mobileContext(true)
  .build()
);

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3.2.2 geolocation_context

The geolocation_context is comprised of the following fields:

  • latitude -> The host phones latitude measure
  • longitude -> The host phones longitude measure
  • altitude -> The host phones altitude measure
  • latitudeLongitudeAccuracy -> The host phones position accuracy
  • speed -> The host phones speed
  • bearing -> The host phones current bearing
  • timestamp -> The time that the geolocation context was built

To get the geolocation context:

Tracker.init(new Tracker.TrackerBuilder(...)
  .geoLocationContext(true)
  .build()
);

You will also need to include the following in your AndroidManifest.xml file:

<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION" />
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION" />

This will make the functions for checking these metrics available for the tracker to use.

NOTE: If you are building for Android API 24+ you will need to request the location permission manually in your application for this context to work.

  private void setupTrackerWithPermission() {
    if (checkPermissionGranted(Manifest.permission.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION)) {
      if (Build.VERSION.SDK_INT >= Build.VERSION_CODES.JELLY_BEAN) {
        getPermission(REQUEST_CODE_ACCESS_LOCATION, Manifest.permission.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION);
      }
    } else {
      // Permission already granted, setup normally
      setupTracker();
    }
  }

  private void setupTracker() {
    // Tracker Setup code
  }

  // --- Permissions

  private static final int REQUEST_CODE_ACCESS_LOCATION = 0;

  /**
   * Checks if we have a certain permission
   *
   * @param permission the permission to check
   * @return boolean on if we have permission
   */
  @TargetApi(Build.VERSION_CODES.JELLY_BEAN)
  public boolean checkPermissionGranted(String permission) {
    return ContextCompat.checkSelfPermission(this, permission) != PackageManager.PERMISSION_GRANTED;
  }

  /**
   * Requests permission to read from external storage
   *
   * @param code the code that corresponds to the function
   *             to run in the event that we are successful
   */
  @TargetApi(Build.VERSION_CODES.M)
  public void getPermission(int code, String permission) {
    requestPermissions(new String[]{permission}, code);
  }

  /**
   * Called when requests for permissions are made
   *
   * @param code the request code
   * @param permissions the granted permission
   * @param grantResults the result of the granting
   */
  @Override
  public void onRequestPermissionsResult(int code, @NonNull String permissions[], @NonNull int[] grantResults) {
    switch (code) {
      case REQUEST_CODE_ACCESS_LOCATION:
        setupTracker();
        break;
      default:
        break;
    }
  }
}

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3.3 Getting the Android Idfa Code

NOTE: For this code to be available you must include the following library dependency:

  • `compile 'com.google.android.gms:play-services-analytics:9.4.0'

The Android Idfa code is a unique identifier for google advertising. You can get this code via the utility function available:

import com.snowplowanalytics.snowplow.tracker.utils.Util;

// Context is your application context object
String androidIdfa = Util.getAndroidIdfa(context);

Please note that this function will only work when run from a different thread than the UI/Main thread of your application.

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4. Tracking specific events

Snowplow has been built to enable you to track a wide range of events that occur when users interact with your websites and apps. We are constantly growing the range of functions available in order to capture that data more richly.

Tracking methods supported by the Android Tracker at a glance:

Function *Description
track(ScreenView event) Track the user viewing a screen within the application
track(PageView event) Track and record views of web pages
track(EcommerceTransaction event) Track an ecommerce transaction and its items
track(Structured event) Track a Snowplow custom structured event
track(SelfDescribing event) Track a Snowplow custom self-describing event
track(TimingWithCategory event) Track a Timing with Category event

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4.1 Common

All events are tracked with specific methods on the tracker instance, of the form track(XXX), where XXX is the type of event to track.

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4.1.1 SelfDescribingJson

A SelfDescribingJson is used as a wrapper around either a TrackerPayload, another SelfDescribingJson or a Map object. After creating the object you want to wrap, you can create a SelfDescribingJson using the following:

// This is the Map we have created
Map<String, String> eventData = new HashMap<>();
eventData.put("Event", "Data")

// We wrap that map in a SelfDescribingJson before sending it
SelfDescribingJson json = new SelfDescribingJson("iglu:com.acme/example/jsonschema/1-0-0", eventData);

You can create a SelfDescribingJson with the following arguments:

Argument Description Required? Type
schema JsonSchema that describes the data Yes String
data Data that will be validated by the schema No Map<String, String>, Map<String, Object>, TrackerPayload, SelfDescribingJson

SelfDescribingJson is used for recording custom contexts and self-describing events.

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4.1.2 Custom contexts

In short, custom contexts let you add additional information about the circumstances surrounding an event in the form of a Map object. Each tracking method accepts an additional optional contexts parameter:

t1.track(PageView.builder().( ... ).customContext(List<SelfDescribingJson> context).build());

The customContext argument should consist of a List of SelfDescribingJson representing an array of one or more contexts. The format of each individual context element is the same as for a self-describing event.

If a visitor arrives on a page advertising a movie, the context dictionary might look like this:

{ 
  "schema": "iglu:com.acme_company/movie_poster/jsonschema/2.1.1",
  "data": {
    "movie_name": "Solaris", 
    "poster_country": "JP", 
    "poster_year": "1978"
  }
}

To construct this as a SelfDescribingJson:

// Create a Map of the data you want to include...
Map<String, String> dataMap = new HashMap<>();
dataMap.put("movie_name", "solaris");
dataMap.put("poster_country", "JP");
dataMap.put("poster_year", "1978");

// Now create your SelfDescribingJson object...
SelfDescribingJson context1 = new SelfDescribingJson("iglu:com.acme/movie_poster/jsonschema/2.1.1", dataMap);

// Now add this JSON into a list of SelfDescribingJsons...
List<SelfDescribingJson> contexts = new ArrayList<>();
contexts.add(context1);

Note that even if there is only one custom context attached to the event, it still needs to be placed in an array.

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4.1.3 Timestamp overrides

In all the trackers, we offer a way to override the timestamp if you want the event to show as tracked at a specific time. If you don't, we create a timestamp while the event is being tracked.

Here is an example:

// Equivalent functions

t1.track(PageView.builder().( ... ).timestamp(1423583655000).build()); // Deprecated

t1.track(PageView.builder().( ... ).deviceCreatedTimestamp(1423583655000).build());

To track the trueTimestamp of your event:

t1.track(PageView.builder().( ... ).trueTimestamp(1423583655000).build());

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4.2 Track screen views with track(ScreenView event)

Use track(ScreenView event) to track a user viewing a screen (or equivalent) within your app. You must use either name or id. Arguments are:

Argument Description Required? Type
name Human-readable name for this screen No String
id Unique identifier for this screen No String
customContext Optional custom context No List<SelfDescribingJson>
deviceCreatedTimestamp Optional timestamp No Long
trueTimestamp Optional timestamp No Long
eventId Optional custom event id No String

Examples:

t1.track(ScreenView.builder()
    .name("HUD > Save Game")
    .id("screen23")
    .build());

t1.track(ScreenView.builder()
    .name("HUD > Save Game")
    .id("screen23")
    .customContext(contextList)
    .timestamp(1423583655000)
    .eventId("uid-1")
    .build());

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4.3 Track pageviews with track(PageView event)

You can use track(PageView event) to track a user viewing a web page within your app.

Arguments are:

Argument Description Required? Type
pageUrl The URL of the page Yes String
pageTitle The title of the page No String
referrer The address which linked to the page No String
customContext Optional custom context No List<SelfDescribingJson>
deviceCreatedTimestamp Optional timestamp No Long
trueTimestamp Optional timestamp No Long
eventId Optional custom event id No String

Examples:

t1.track(PageView.builder()
    .pageUrl("www.example.com")
    .pageTitle("example")
    .referrer("www.referrer.com")
    .build());

t1.track(PageView.builder()
    .pageUrl("www.example.com")
    .pageTitle("example")
    .referrer("www.referrer.com")
    .customContext(contextList)
    .timestamp(1423583655000)
    .eventId("uid-1")
    .build());

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4.4 Track ecommerce transactions with track(EcommerceTransaction event)

Use track(EcommerceTransaction event) to track an ecommerce transaction.

Arguments:

Argument Description Required? Type
orderId ID of the eCommerce transaction Yes String
totalValue Total transaction value Yes Double
affiliation Transaction affiliation No String
taxValue Transaction tax value No Double
shipping Delivery cost charged No Double
city Delivery address city No String
state Delivery address state No String
country Delivery address country No String
currency Transaction currency No String
items Items in the transaction Yes List<EcommerceTransactionItem>
items Items in the transaction Yes EcommerceTransactionItem...
customContext Optional custom context No List<SelfDescribingJson>
deviceCreatedTimestamp Optional timestamp No Long
trueTimestamp Optional timestamp No Long
eventId Optional custom event id No String

The items argument is a List of individual EcommerceTransactionItem elements representing the items in the e-commerce transaction or it can be a varargs argument of many individual items. Note that track(EcommerceTransaction event) fires multiple events: one transaction event for the transaction as a whole, and one transaction item event for each element of the items List. Each transaction item event will have the same timestamp, order_id, and currency as the main transaction event.

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4.4.1 EcommerceTransactionItem

To instantiate a EcommerceTransactionItem in your code, simply use the following constructor signature:

EcommerceTransactionItem item = EcommerceTransactionItem.builder()
    .itemId("item_id")
    .sku("item_sku")
    .price(1.00)
    .quantity(1)
    .name("item_name")
    .category("item_category")
    .currency("currency")
    .build();

These are the fields that can appear as elements in each EcommerceTransactionItem element of the transaction item's List:

Field Description Required? Type
itemId Item ID Yes String
sku Item SKU Yes String
price Item price Yes Double
quantity Item quantity Yes Integer
name Item name No String
category Item category No String
currency Item currency No String
customContext Optional custom context No List<SelfDescribingJson>
deviceCreatedTimestamp Optional timestamp No Long
trueTimestamp Optional timestamp No Long
eventId Optional custom event id No String

Example of tracking a transaction containing two items:

// Create some Transaction Items
EcommerceTransactionItem item1 = EcommerceTransactionItem.builder()
    .itemId("item_id_1")
    .sku("item_sku_1")
    .price(1.00)
    .quantity(1)
    .name("item_name")
    .category("item_category")
    .currency("currency")
    .build();

EcommerceTransactionItem item2 = EcommerceTransactionItem.builder()
    .itemId("item_id_2")
    .sku("item_sku_2")
    .price(1.00)
    .quantity(1)
    .name("item_name")
    .category("item_category")
    .currency("currency")
    .build();

// Add these items to a List
List<EcommerceTransactionItem> items = new ArrayList<>();
items.add(item1);
items.add(item2);

// Now Track the Transaction by using this list of items as an argument
tracker.track(EcommerceTransaction.builder()
    .orderId("6a8078be")
    .totalValue(300.00)
    .affiliation("my_affiliate")
    .taxValue(30.00)
    .shipping(10.00)
    .city("Boston")
    .state("Massachusetts")
    .country("USA")
    .currency("USD")
    .items(items)
    .build());

// Or include the items as varargs in the items section
tracker.track(EcommerceTransaction.builder()
    .orderId("6a8078be")
    .totalValue(300.00)
    .affiliation("my_affiliate")
    .taxValue(30.00)
    .shipping(10.00)
    .city("Boston")
    .state("Massachusetts")
    .country("USA")
    .currency("USD")
    .items(item1, item2)
    .build());

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4.5 Track structured events with track(Structured event)

Use track(Structured event) to track a custom event happening in your app which fits the Google Analytics-style structure of having up to five fields (with only the first two required):

Argument Description Required? Type
category The grouping of structured events which this action belongs to Yes String
action Defines the type of user interaction which this event involves Yes String
label A string to provide additional dimensions to the event data No String
property A string describing the object or the action performed on it No String
value A value to provide numerical data about the event No Double
customContext Optional custom context No List<SelfDescribingJson>
deviceCreatedTimestamp Optional timestamp No Long
trueTimestamp Optional timestamp No Long
eventId Optional custom event id No String

Examples:

t1.track(Structured.builder()
    .category("shop")
    .action("add-to-basket")
    .label("Add To Basket")
    .property("pcs")
    .value(2.00)
    .build());

t1.track(Structured.builder()
    .category("shop")
    .action("add-to-basket")
    .label("Add To Basket")
    .property("pcs")
    .value(2.00)
    .customContext(contextList)
    .timestamp(1423583655000)
    .eventId("uid-1")
    .build());

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4.6 Track SelfDescribing events with track(SelfDescribing event)

Custom SelfDescribing events are a flexible tool that enable Snowplow users to define their own event types and send them into Snowplow.

When a user sends in a custom SelfDescribing event, they do so as a JSON of name-value properties, that conforms to a JSON schema defined for the event earlier.

Use track(SelfDescribing event) to track a custom event which consists of a name and an SelfDescribing set of properties. This is useful when:

  • You want to track event types which are proprietary/specific to your business (i.e. not already part of Snowplow), or
  • You want to track events which have unpredictable or frequently changing properties

The arguments are as follows:

Argument Description Required? Type
eventData The properties of the event Yes SelfDescribingJson
customContext Optional custom context No List<SelfDescribingJson>
deviceCreatedTimestamp Optional timestamp No Long
trueTimestamp Optional timestamp No Long
eventId Optional custom event id No String

Example event json to track:

{
  "schema": "iglu:com.acme/save_game/jsonschema/1-0-0",
  "data": {
    "levelName": "Barrels o' Fun",
    "levelIndex": 23
  }
}

How to set it up?

// Create a Map of your event data
Map<String, Object> eventMap = new HashMap<>();
eventMap.put("levelName", "Barrels o' Fun")
eventMap.put("levelIndex", 23);

// Create your event data
SelfDescribingJson eventData = new SelfDescribingJson("iglu:com.acme/save_game/jsonschema/1-0-0", eventMap);

// Track your event with your custom event data
t1.track(SelfDescribing.builder()
    .eventData(eventData)
    .build();

// OR

t1.track(SelfDescribing.builder()
    .eventData(eventData)
    .customContext(contextList)
    .timestamp(1423583655000)
    .eventId("uid-1")
    .build();

For more on JSON schema, see the blog post.

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4.7 Track timing events with track(Timing event)

Use track(Timing event) to track an event related to a custom timing.

Argument Description Required? Type
category The category of the timed event Yes String
label The label of the timed event No String
timing The timing measurement in milliseconds Yes Integer
variable The name of the timed event Yes String
customContext Optional custom context No List<SelfDescribingJson>
deviceCreatedTimestamp Optional timestamp No Long
trueTimestamp Optional timestamp No Long
eventId Optional custom event id No String

Examples:

t1.track(Timing.builder()
    .category("category")
    .variable("variable")
    .timing(1)
    .label("label")
    .build());

t1.track(Timing.builder()
    .category("category")
    .variable("variable")
    .timing(1)
    .label("label")
    .customContext(contextList)
    .timestamp(1423583655000)
    .eventId("uid-1")
    .build());

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5. Sending event: Emitter

Events are sent using an Emitter class. You can initialize a class with a collector endpoint URL with various options to choose how these events should be sent. Here are the Emitter interfaces that can be used:

Emitter e2 = new Emitter
        .EmitterBuilder("com.collector.acme", Context context) // Required
        .method(HttpMethod.GET) // Optional - Defines how we send the request
        .option(BufferOption.Single) // Optional - Defines how many events we bundle in a POST
        .security(RequestSecurity.HTTPS) // Optional - Defines what protocol used to send events
        .callback(new EmitterCallback() {...})
        .build();

The Context is used for caching events in a SQLite database in order to avoid losing events to network related issues.

Don't confuse the Android context with Snowplow's own custom contexts - they are completely separate things.

The below are required arguments for the 'EmitterBuilder({{ ... }})' segment of the constructor:

Argument Name Description Required?
uri The collector endpoint URI events will be sent to Yes
context Used to use to open or create an SQLite database Yes

We also have several extra builder options such as:

Function Description Options Default
method The request method to use HttpMethod.GET, .POST HttpMethod.POST
option The amount of events sent in a POST request BufferOption.{{ Enum Option}} BufferOption.DefaultGroup
security Whether to send over HTTP or HTTPS RequestSecurity.HTTP, .HTTPS RequestSecurity.HTTP
callback A callback to output successes and failures new RequestCallback{ ... } null
tick The time between emitter ticks Any positive int 5
sendLimit The maximum amount of events to get from the DB Any positive int 250
emptyLimit The amount of times the emitter can be empty Any positive int 5
byteLimitGet The maximum amount of bytes to send in a GET Any positive int 40000
byteLimitPost The maximum amount of bytes to send in a POST Any positive int 40000
timeUnit The TimeUnit that time measurements are in TimeUnit.{{ Enum Option }} TimeUnit.SECONDS

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5.1 Emitter Constructor Explained

Required

  • uri : The collector endpoint that all events will be sent to. Needs to be the raw path in the sense that you will not include any http:// or https:// with the address. Rather something like: www.fake.io in place of http://www.fake.io. The http security setting is configured in a seperate option.
  • context : The Android Application context object.

Sending

  • method : Whether to send requests via GET or POST; essentially whether to send each event individually or to send many events together in a POST. The default POST setting is recommended as it has huge performance gains over sending individually as a GET.
  • option : How many events can be parcelled together in a POST, this can be increased to a maximum of 25 per event. If you require larger volumes please raise a ticket to have this limit increased!
  • security : Whether to send events via HTTP or HTTPS.
  • callback : A custom callback method that will be called after each emitter send loop, currently the only variables included are the count of successfully and unsuccessfully sent events.
  • byteLimitGet : Allows you to set an upper limit for the maximal size of a single GET request. Meaning that if an event exceeds this size we will attempt to send it but will then delete it from the database regardless of success to send.
  • byteLimitPost : Allows you to set an upper limit for the maximal size of a single POST request. Meaning that if an event exceeds this size we will attempt to send it but will then delete it from the database regardless of success to send.

Functional Settings

  • tick : The interval at which the emitter will check for more events.
  • timeUnit : The timeunit that the aforementioned tick is measured in. By default we measure this in seconds.
  • sendLimit : The upper limit of events that can be grabbed from the database per sending session, this in place to avoid consuming overt amounts of memory in case of huge event ingress. On weaker devices this can be tuned down to and on beefier devices can be greatly increased.
  • emptyLimit : The amount of times that the emitter is allowed to fail a check before it will release its Thread back to the pool.

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5.2 How the Emitter works

The Emitter is configured and setup to run as a background process so it never blocks on the Main Thread or on the UI Thread of the device it is on.

The current Emitter flow goes as follows:

  1. Emitter is created
  2. Emitter will check if it has access to the internet
  3. If it is it will begin a recurring check for events to send to the configured collector
    • This defaults to every 5 seconds
  4. If there are events in the SQlite database the emitter will grab up to 250 (default) events from the database and begin sending.
  5. Once it has finished sending it will again check for events
  6. If there are no events to be sent 5 (default) times in a row, it will shut itself down
  7. On receiving a new event the Emitter checks again if it is online and will then begin sending again
  8. If there are only errors in sending, the events will not be deleted from the database and the emitter will then be shutdown
    • If there are some successes it will not shutdown.

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5.3 Using a buffer

A buffer is used to group events together in bulk before sending them. This is especially handy to reduce network usage. By default, the Emitter buffers up to 10 events together before sending them; only available if you are using POST as your request type.

e1.setBufferOption(BufferOption.Single); // 1
// OR
e1.setBufferOption(BufferOption.DefaultGroup); // 10
// OR For heavier event sending...
e1.setBufferOption(BufferOption.HeavyGroup); // 25

Here are all the posibile options that you can use:

Option Description
Single Events are sent individually
DefaultGroup Sends events in groups of 10 events or less
HeavyGroup Sends events in groups of 25 events or less

Buffer options will only ever influence how POST request are sent however. All GET requests will be sent individually.

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5.4 Choosing the HTTP method

Snowplow supports receiving events via both GET and POST requests. In a GET request, each event is sent in individual request. With POST requests, events are bundled together in one request.

You can set the HTTP method in the Emitter constructor:

Emitter e2 = new Emitter
        .EmitterBuilder("com.collector.acme", Context context)
        .method(HttpMethod.GET)
        .build();

Here are all the posibile options that you can use:

Option Description
GET Sends events as GET requests
POST Sends events as POST requests

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5.5 Emitter callback

If an event fails to send because of a network issue, you can choose to handle the failure case with a callback class to react accordingly. The callback class needs to implement the EmitterCallback interface in order to do so. Here is a sample bit of code to show how it could work:

RequestCallback callback = new RequestCallback() {
  @Override
  public void onSuccess(int successCount) {
    Log.d("Tracker", "Buffer length for POST/GET:" + successCount);
  }
  @Override
  public void onFailure(int successCount, int failureCount) {
    Log.d("Tracker", "Failures: " + failureCount + "; Successes: " + successCount);
  }
});

Emitter emitter = new Emitter
        .EmitterBuilder("com.collector.acme", Context context)
        .callback(callback)
        .build();

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5.6 Emitter Flush

If you want to ensure that there are no events left in the local database for sending simply run the emitter flush() function like so:

tracker.getEmitter().flush();

This will attempt to start the emitter process; however it will fail if the emitter is already running or if the application is offline.

6. Logging

Logging in the Tracker is done using our own Logger class: '/utils/Logger.java'. All logging is actioned based on what LogLevel was set in the Tracker creation. This level can be configured to VERBOSE, DEBUG, ERROR or OFF. By default logging is not enabled.

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