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Java Tracker v0.4

Ihor Tomilenko edited this page Apr 27, 2017 · 4 revisions

HOME > SNOWPLOW TECHNICAL DOCUMENTATION > Trackers > Java Tracker

This page refers to version 0.4.0 of the Snowplow Java Tracker.

Contents

1. Overview

The Snowplow Java Tracker allows you to track Snowplow events from your Java-based desktop and server apps, servlets and games. It supports JDK6+.

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 Java Tracker Setup guide before continuing.

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2 Initialization

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

2.1 Importing the module

Import the Java Tracker's classes into your Java 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:

Tracker(Emitter emitter, String namespace, String appId)
Tracker(Emitter emitter, Subject subject, String namespace, String appId)
Tracker(Emitter emitter, String namespace, String appId, boolean base64Encoded)
Tracker(Emitter emitter, Subject subject, String namespace, String appId, boolean base64Encoded)

For example:

Tracker t1 = new Tracker("d3rkrsqld9gmqf.cloudfront.net", user1Subject, "AF003", "cloudfront", true);
Tracker t2 = new Tracker("d3rkrsqld9gmqf.cloudfront.net", "AF003", "cloudfront");
Argument Name Description Required?
emitter The Emitter object you create Yes
subject The subject that defines a user No
namespace The name of the tracker instance Yes
appId The application ID Yes
base64Encoded Whether to enable [base 64 encoding][base64] No (Default true)

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3. Adding Subject data

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

Here are some examples:

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

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

Tracker(emitter, s1, namespace, appId);
// OR
t1.setSubject(s1);

3.1 Change the tracker's platform with setPlatform

You can change the platform the subject is using by calling:

s1.setPlatform("cnsl");

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

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3.2 Set user ID with setUserId

You can set the user ID to any string:

s1.setUserId( "{{USER ID}}" )

Example:

s1.setUserId("alexd")

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3.3 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:

t1.setScreenResolution( {{WIDTH}}, {{HEIGHT}} )

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

t1.setScreenResolution(1366, 768)

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3.4 Set viewport dimensions with setViewport

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

s.setViewport( {{WIDTH}}, {{HEIGHT}} )

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

s.setViewport(300, 200)

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3.5 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:

s.setColorDepth( {{BITS PER PIXEL}} )

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

s.setColorDepth(32)

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3.6 Set timezone with setTimezone

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

s.setTimezone( {{TIMEZONE}} )

The timezone should be a string:

s.setTimezone("Europe/London")

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3.7 Set the language with setLanguage

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

s.setLanguage( {{LANGUAGE}} )

The language should be a string:

s.setLanguage('en')

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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 Java Tracker at a glance:

Function *Description
trackScreenView() Track the user viewing a screen within the application
trackPageView() Track and record views of web pages.
trackEcommerceTransaction() Track an ecommerce transaction and its items
trackStructuredEvent() Track a Snowplow custom structured event
trackUnstructuredEvent() Track a Snowplow custom unstructured event

4.1 Common

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

4.1.1 Custom contexts

In short, custom contexts let you add additional information about the circumstances surrounding an event in the form of a Java String in JSON format. dictionary object. Each tracking method accepts an additional optional contexts parameter after all the parameters specific to that method:

t1.trackPageView(String pageUrl, String pageTitle, String referrer)
t1.trackPageView(String pageUrl, String pageTitle, String referrer, Map context)
t1.trackPageView(String pageUrl, String pageTitle, String referrer, double timestamp)
t1.trackPageView(String pageUrl, String pageTitle, String referrer, Map context, double timestamp)

The context argument should consist of a Map containing a JSON array of one or more contexts. The format of each individual context element is the same as for an unstructured 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"
  }
}

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

4.1.2 Optional timestamp & context argument

In all the trackers, we offer a way to set 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:

4.1.3 Tracker method return values

To be confirmed. As of now, trackers do not return anything.

4.2 Track screen views with trackScreenView()

Use trackScreenView() to track a user viewing a screen (or equivalent) within your app. Arguments are:

Argument Description Required? Validation
name Human-readable name for this screen Yes String
id Unique identifier for this screen No String
context Custom context for the event No String
timestamp Optional timestamp for the event No Long

Example:

t1.trackScreenView("HUD > Save Game", "screen23");
t1.trackScreenView("HUD > Save Game", contextMap, 123456);

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4.3 Track pageviews with trackPageView()

If you are using Java servlet technology or similar to serve webpages to a browser, you can use trackPageView() to track a user viewing a page within your app.

Arguments are:

Argument Description Required? Validation
page_url The URL of the page Yes String
page_title The title of the page Yes String
referrer The address which linked to the page Yes String
context Custom context for the event No Map
timestamp Optional timestamp for the event No Long

Example:

t1.trackPageView("www.example.com", "example", "www.referrer.com", mapContext);
t1.trackPageView("www.example.com", "example", "www.referrer.com");

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4.4 Track ecommerce transactions with trackEcommerceTransaction()

Use trackEcommerceTransaction() to track an ecommerce transaction.

Arguments:

Argument Description Required? Validation
order_id ID of the eCommerce transaction Yes String
total_value Total transaction value Yes Double
affiliation Transaction affiliation Yes String
tax_value Transaction tax value Yes Double
shipping Delivery cost charged Yes Double
city Delivery address city Yes String
state Delivery address state Yes String
country Delivery address country Yes String
currency Transaction currency Yes String
items Items in the transaction Yes List
context Custom context for the event No Map
timestamp Optional timestamp for the event No Long

The items argument is a List of individual TransactionItem elements representing the items in the e-commerce transaction. Note that trackEcommerceTransaction 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 Ecommerce TransactionItem with trackEcommerceTransaction()

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

trackEcommerceTransactionItem(String order_id, String sku, Double price, Integer quantity, String name, String category, String currency, Map context, long transaction_id)

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

Field Description Required? Validation
order_id Order ID Yes String
sku Item SKU No String
price Item price No double
quantity Item quantity No int
name Item name No String
category Item category No String
currency Item currency No String
context Item context No Map
timestamp Optional timestamp for the event No Long

Example of tracking a transaction containing two items:

// Example to come, in the meantime here is the type signature:
t1.trackEcommerceTransaction(String order_id, Double total_value, String affiliation, Double tax_value,Double shipping, String city, String state, String country, String currency, List<TransactionItem> items, String context);

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4.5 Track structured events with trackStructuredEvent()

Use trackStructuredEvent() 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? Validation
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 Yes String
property A string describing the object or the action performed on it Yes String
value A value to provide numerical data about the event Yes Int
context Custom context for the event No Map
timestamp Optional timestamp for the event No Long

Example:

t1.trackStructuredEvent("shop", "add-to-basket", "Add To Basket", "pcs", 2);
t1.trackStructuredEvent("shop", "add-to-basket", "Add To Basket", "pcs", 2, 123456.7);

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4.6 Track unstructured events with trackUnstructuredEvent()

trackUnstructuredEvent(String eventVendor, String eventName, Map<String, Object> dictInfo, String context)

Use trackUnstructuredRvent() to track a custom event which consists of a name and an unstructured 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? Validation
eventData The properties of the event Yes Map<String, Object>
context Custom context for the event No Map
timestamp Optional timestamp for the event No Long

The eventData must be either a String or a Map<String, Object>.

If you supply a String, make sure that it is a valid JSON object containing two fields: schema and data. data is itself a JSON object containing the properties of the unstructured event. schema identifies the JSON schema against which data should be validated.

Example:

// Example to come, in the meantime here is the type signature:
t1.trackUnstructuredEvent(String eventVendor, String eventName, String eventData, String context);

If you supply a Map<String, Object>, make sure that this top-level contains your schema and data keys, and then store your data properties as a child Map<String, Object>.

Example:

// Example to come, in the meantime here is the type signature:
t1.trackUnstructuredEvent(String eventVendor, String eventName, Map<String, Object> eventData, String context);

For more on JSON schema, see the blog post.

5. Sending event

Events are sent using an Emitter class. You can initialize an 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(String URI)
Emitter(String URI, HttpMethod httpMethod)

For example:

Emitter e1 = new Emitter("d3rkrsqld9gmqf.cloudfront.net");
Emitter e2 = new Emitter("d3rkrsqld9gmqf.cloudfront.net", HttpMethod.POST);
Argument Name Description Required?
URI The collector endpoint URI events will be sent to Yes
httpMethod The HTTP method events should be sent No

5.1 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 before sending them. You can change this to send evenets instantly as soon as they are created like so:

Emitter e1 = new Emitter("d3rkrsqld9gmqf.cloudfront.net");
e1.setBufferOption(BufferOption.Instant);
// OR
e1.setBufferOption(BufferOption.Default);

Here are all the posibile options that you can use: | Option | Description | |-------------:|:---------------------------------------------------| | Instant | Events are sent as soon as they are created | | Default | Sends events in a group when 10 events are created |

5.2 Choosing the HTTP method

Snowplow supports receiving events via GET requests, but will soon have POST support. 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 e1 = new Emitter("d3rkrsqld9gmqf.cloudfront.net", HttpMethod.POST);

Here are all the posibile options that you can use: | Option | Description | |-------------:|:---------------------------------------------------| | GET | Sends events as GET requests | | POST | Sends events as POST requests |

5.3 Method of sending HTTP requests

An Emitter sends requests synchronously by default. If you want events to be sent asynchronously you can set this using setRequestMethod(RequestMethod):

Emitter e1 = new Emitter("d3rkrsqld9gmqf.cloudfront.net");
e1.setRequestMethod(RequestMethod.Asynchronous);

Here are all the posibile options that you can use: | Option | Description | |---------------:|:------------------------------| | Synchronous | Sends events synchronously | | Asynchronous | Sends events asynchronously |

6. Payload

TBD

7. Logging

Logging in the Tracker is done using SLF4J. Majority of the logging set as DEBUG so will not overly populate your own logging.

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