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Ruby Tracker v0.2

Ihor Tomilenko edited this page Apr 27, 2017 · 6 revisions

HOME > SNOWPLOW TECHNICAL DOCUMENTATION > Trackers > Ruby Tracker

This page refers to version 0.2.0 of the Snowplow Ruby Tracker. Documentation for the latest version, 0.6.0, is available:

Version 0.3 Version 0.4 Version 0.5 Version 0.6

Contents

1. Overview

The Snowplow Ruby Tracker allows you to track Snowplow events in your Ruby applications and gems and Ruby on Rails web applications.

The tracker should be straightforward to use if you are comfortable with Ruby development; any prior experience with Snowplow"s Python Tracker, JavaScript Tracker, Lua Tracker, Google Analytics or Mixpanel (which have similar APIs to Snowplow) is helpful but not necessary.

The Ruby Tracker and Python Tracker have very similiar functionality and APIs.

2. Initialization

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

2.1 Requiring the module

Require the Ruby Tracker into your code like this:

require 'snowplow_tracker'

You can now initialize tracker instances.

2.2 Creating a tracker

Initialize a tracker instance like this:

tracker = SnowplowTracker::Tracker.new('d3rkrsqld9gmqf.cloudfront.net')

This tracker will log events to http://d3rkrsqld9gmqf.cloudfront.net/i. There are three other optional parameters:

def initialize(endpoint, namespace=nil, app_id=nil, encode_base64=true)

namespace is a name for the tracker which will be added to every event the tracker fires. This is useful if you have initialized more than one tracker. app_id is the unique ID for the Ruby application. encode_base64 determines whether JSONs in the querystring for an event will be base64-encoded.

So a more complete tracker initialization example might look like this:

tracker = SnowplowTracker::Tracker.new('d3rkrsqld9gmqf.cloudfront.net', 'cf', 'ID-ap00035', false)

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3. Adding extra data

You can configure the a tracker instance with additional information about your application's environment or current user. This data will be attached to every event the tracker fires. Here are the available methods:

Function Description
set_platform Set the application platform
set_user_id Set the user ID
set_screen_resolution Set the screen resolution
set_viewport Set the viewport dimensions
set_color_depth Set the screen color depth
set_timezone Set the timezone
set_lang Set the language

3.1 Set the tracker's platform with set_platform

The platform can be any on of 'pc', 'tv', 'mob', 'cnsl', or 'iot'. The default platform is 'pc'.

tracker.set_platform('mob')

3.2 Set the user ID with set_user_id

You can make the user ID a string of your choice:

tracker.set_user_id('user-000563456')

3.3 Set the screen resolution with set_screen_resolution

If your Ruby code has access to the device's screen resolution, you can pass it in to Snowplow. Both numbers should be positive integers; note the order is width followed by height. Example:

tracker.set_screen_resolution(1366, 768)

3.4 Set the viewport dimensions with set_screen_resolution

Similarly, you can pass the viewport dimensions in to Snowplow. Again, both numbers should be positive integers and the order is width followed by height. Example:

tracker.set_screen_resolution(300, 200)

3.5 Set the color depth with set_color_depth

If your Ruby code has access to the bit depth of the device's color palette for displaying images, you can pass it in to Snowplow. The number should be a positive integer, in bits per pixel.

tracker.set_color_depth(24)

3.6 Setting the timezone with set_timezone

If your Ruby code has access to the timezone of the device, you can pass it in to Snowplow:

tracker.set_timezone('Europe London')

3.7 Setting the language with set_lang

You can set the language field like this:

tracker.set_lang('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 Ruby Tracker at a glance:

Function Description
track_page_view Track and record views of web pages.
track_ecommerce_transaction Track an ecommerce transaction
track_screen_view Track the user viewing a screen within the application
track_struct_event Track a Snowplow custom structured event
track_unstruct_event Track a Snowplow custom unstructured event

4.1 Common

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

4.1.1 Argument validation

Each track_XXX method expects arguments of a certain type. The types are validated using the Ruby Contracts library. If a check fails, a runtime error is thrown. The section for each track_XXX method specifies the expected argument types for that method.

4.1.2 Optional context argument

Each track_XXX method has context as its penultimate optional parameter. This is for an optional array of self-describing custom context JSONs attached to the event. Each element of the context argument should be a hash whose keys are "schema", containing a pointer to the JSON schema against which the context will be validated, and "data", containing the context data itself. The "data" field should contain a flat hash of key-value pairs.

Important: Even if only one custom context is being attached to an event, it still needs to be wrapped in an array.

For example, an array containing two custom contexts relating to the event of a movie poster being viewed:

# Array of contexts
[{
  # First context
  'schema' => 'iglu:com.my_company/movie_poster/jsonschema/1-0-0',
  'data' => {
    'movie_name' => 'Solaris',
    'poster_country' => 'JP',
    'poster_year$dt' => new Date(1978, 1, 1)
  }
},
{
  # Second context
  'schema' => 'iglu:com.my_company/customer/jsonschema/1-0-0',
  'data' => {
      'p_buy' => 0.23,
      'segment' => 'young adult'
  }
}]

The keys of a context hash can be either strings or Ruby symbols.

For more on how to use custom contexts, see the blog post which introduced them.

4.1.3 Optional timestamp argument

After the optional context argument, each track_XXX method supports an optional timestamp as its final argument. This allows you to manually override the timestamp attached to this event. If you do not pass this timestamp in as an argument, then the Ruby Tracker will use the current time to be the timestamp for the event. Timestamp is counted in milliseconds since the Unix epoch - the same format generated by Time.now.to_i * 1000 in Ruby.

4.1.4 Example

Here is an example of a page view event with custom context and timestamp arguments supplied:

tracker.track_page_view('http://www.film_company.com/movie_poster', nil, nil, [{
  # First context
  'schema' => 'iglu:com.my_company/movie_poster/jsonschema/1-0-0',
  'data' => {
    'movie_name' => 'Solaris',
    'poster_country' => 'JP',
    'poster_year$dt' => new Date(1978, 1, 1)
  }
},
{
  # Second context
  'schema' => 'iglu:com.my_company/customer/jsonschema/1-0-0',
  'data' => {
      'p_buy' => 0.23,
      'segment' => 'young adult'
  }
}], 1368725287000)

Track screen views with track_screen_view

Use track_screen_view() 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 No Array[Hash]
tstamp When the screen was viewed No Positive integer

Example:

tracker.track_screen_view("HUD > Save Game", "screen23")

Track page views with track_page_view

Use track_page_view() 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 No String
referrer The address which linked to the page No String
context Custom context No Array[Hash]
tstamp When the pageview occurred No Positive integer

Example:

t.track_page_view("www.example.com", "example", "www.referrer.com")

4.4 Track ecommerce transactions with track-ecommerce-transaction()

Use track_ecommerce_transaction() to track an ecommerce transaction. Arguments:

Argument Description Required? Validation
transaction Data for the whole transaction Yes Hash
items Data for each item Yes Array of hashes
context Custom context No Array[Hash]
tstamp When the transaction event occurred No Positive integer

The transaction argument is a hash containing information about the transaction. Here are the fields supported in this hash:

Field Description Required? Validation
order_id ID of the eCommerce transaction Yes String
total_value Total transaction value Yes Int or Float
affiliation Transaction affiliation No String
tax_value Transaction tax value No Int or Float
shipping Delivery cost charged No Int or Float
city Delivery address city No String
state Delivery address state No String
country Delivery address country No String
currency Transaction currency No String

The transaction parameter might look like this:

{
  'order_id' => '12345'
  'total_value' => 35
  'city' => 'London'
  'country' => 'UK'
  'currency' => 'GBP'
}

The items parameter is an array of hashes. Each hash represents one item in the transaction. Here are the fields supported for each item:

Argument Description Required? Validation
sku Item SKU Yes String
price Item price Yes Int or Float
quantity Item quantity Yes Int
name Item name No String
category Item category No String
context Custom context No Array[Hash]

The items parameter might look like that:

[{
  'sku' => 'pbz0026',
  'price' => 20,
  'quantity' => 1,
  'category' => 'film'
},
{
  'sku' => 'pbz0038',
  'price' => 15,
  'quantity' => 1,
  'name' => 'red shoes'
}]

The whole method call would look like this:

tracker.track_ecommerce_transaction({
  'order_id' => '12345'
  'total_value' => 35
  'city' => 'London'
  'country' => 'UK'
  'currency' => 'GBP'
},
[{
  'sku' => 'pbz0026',
  'price' => 20,
  'quantity' => 1,
  'category' => 'film'
},
{
  'sku' => 'pbz0038',
  'price' => 15,
  'quantity' => 1,
  'name' => 'red shoes'
}])

This will fire three events: one for the transaction as a whole, which will include the fields in the transaction argument, and one for each item. The order_id and currency fields in the transaction argument will also be attached to each the items' events.

All three events will have the same timestamp and same randomly generated Snowplow transaction ID.

Note that each item in the transaction can have its own custom context.

4.5 Track structured events with track_struct_event

Use track_struct_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? 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 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 Int or Float
context Custom context No Array[Hash]
tstamp When the structured event occurred No Positive integer

Example:

tracker.track_struct_event("shop", "add-to-basket", nil, "pcs", 2)

4.6 Track unstructured events with track_unstruct_event

Use track_unstruct_event() 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
event_json The properties of the event Yes Hash
context Custom context No Array[Hash]
tstamp When the unstructured event occurred No Positive integer

Example:

tracker.track_unstruct_event({
  "schema" => "com.example_company/save_game/jsonschema/1-0-2",
  "data" => {
    "saveId" => "4321",
    "level" => 23,
    "difficultyLevel" => "HARD",
    "dlContent" => true
  }
})

The event_json argument is self-describing JSON. It has two fields: "schema", containing a pointer to the JSON schema for the event, and "data", containing the event data itself. The data field must be flat: properties cannot be nested.

The keys of the event_json hash can be either strings or Ruby symbols.

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