A big thanks and some criticism:) from a newbie


(Rein) #1

“Wow” I thought, “that’s really something” when I discovered Piwik. “Piwik aims to be an open source alternative to Google Analytics” and ít’s a good thing to compete with those gigantic companies. Those are always a bit suspicious.
The demo looks fine, so I gave it a try, first of all installing it to my local host.
Didn’t succeed though, because the installer told me “zend.ze1_compatibility_mode = On” in php.ini. When checking, it was definitivily Off, so I finally commented out that line in the installer.
Wonder of wonders: it worked, and it even generated the script to put in my webpages. Strange: I couldn’t copy the script by selecting it with my mouse as I normally do. It took me days to find out by accident this is done by clicking somewhere near the last character in the script and then dragging towards the first character.
Next question: where to put the script. Just before the /head tag, but hey, there’s no such thing in a php-file. So I put it in the core.php of one of my templates and tested that. No luck, just a white screen with absolutely nothing on it. Logic said I had some kind of parse error, so I commented out all of the tag-lines and putting them back action in one be one. I was able to point the error down to the line with the “document.write” in it. It turned out, there wasn’t anything basically wrong with the syntax. I just had to change the single quatations to double ones, because I started each of the tag line with $_out .= ’ and ending them with '.$_nl;. I’m not much of a programmer so it toke me some time to figure this out.
Piwik’s still not working, meaning I don’t get any data from the websites on my localhost, so for the time being I’ll have to stick to Google.:frowning: Got that working within half an hour.
Given all the effort I had to take, I don’t think Piwik is an alternative to Analytics yet. Maybe it’s suitable to wizzards in programming; to me as a simple non-tech it’s very frustrating.
Nevertheless: a big thanks to all the people who have contributed. Perhaps one day Piwik will be usable by non-techies too.


(vipsoft) #2

There’s no problem with the installer detecting zend.ze1_compatibility_mode. It just happens that there are a multitude of places where it might be set, e.g., your virtualhost configuration, .htaccess, local php.ini files, auto prepend files, etc.

The tracking code presented is to be inserted into an HTML page. That’s quite a bit different from pasting into a template or php script. Seriously, if you can cut & paste GA’s code into a php script, you should have been able to do that with the Piwik code.


(Rein) #3

Thanks for your reply Vipsoft. I was pretty sure there wasn’t much wrong with the installer. After all, quite a few people have used it and they didn’t report these kind of errors. So it must have been me and the situation on my localhost. Judging from all the places you mention to mess things up, to me it’s no use trying to find out where this exactly happens.
BTW I just tried to install it on my server and I had no problems whatsoever.
I may be non-tech, but I don’t give up that easy, so I will experiment with the tracking tags later this week. See if I can make it work on the server.
Actually, pasting the tag in a PHPscript isn’t that much different from pasting it into an HTMLpage. In the end the script produces the HTML to be viewed by someone browsing the site. With that in mind I searched for “/body” in the PHP file. Shere trial and error and learning on the fly.:slight_smile:


(bolero) #4

Rein, by all means you should not compare it with Google Analytics when it comes to the setup/installation. You do not have to install Google Analytics. You just add that little script code to your web pages and create an account there. If you want the same simplicity with Piwik you have to find a company that provides “Piwik Analytics” in the same way that Google provides “Google Analytics”.


(Rein) #5

Don’t want to be nosy, but (and I quote) “Piwik aims to be an open source alternative to Google Analytics” as stated on this website. I fully understand a community of volunteers neither has the time nor the resources to compete with a multi-multi billion dollar company, so there will always be something to nag about, just as there’s plenty to nag about Google.
I was merely pointing out that for a newbie and non-tech like myself Piwik looks to be quite complicated and is, in that respect, not the alternative it aims to be.
On the other hand, now I’ve looked into it a little further it seems to me Piwik has more usefull possibilities. Just have to get the thing working.


(bolero) #6

No, you don’t “fully understand” :wink: . You compare a car that gets delivered in parts with a car that gets delivered assembled. This is is always only an alternative if you have someone who can assemble it. Once Piwik is “assembled” you can compare it. If you do not want to “assemble” it you can always look for someone who assembles it for you or who provides an analytics service based on Piwik.