15 Replies Latest reply on Nov 10, 2008 11:18 AM by CarolHunt

    Hit Counter in WebHelp?

    robonewbiejenn
      One of my bosses just asked me if it would be possible to create a hit counter within RoboHelp topic that could track the number of times that the topic in helped is accessed.

      Does anyone have any ideas about that? Can I put the javascript just behind the scenes in the HTML editor portion of RoboHelp? I have noticed that RoboHelp doesn't always play nice with code that is placed in the HTML editor...

      Thanks!

      -Jenn
        • 1. Re: Hit Counter in WebHelp?
          Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
          Hi Jenn

          The answer here is that it's possible, but in my own mind a larger question looms. Why would your boss care? What truly meaningful information would be provided by knowing that a particular topic has been visited X number of times?

          In my mind this is more of a novelty than anything else. Big deal if topic A has been viewed 30,000 times and topic B has only been viewed twice. If the information in topic B totally solved a user's issue, that topic is infinitely more helpful than topic A!

          Cheers... Rick
          • 2. Re: Hit Counter in WebHelp?
            robonewbiejenn Level 1
            I believe the WHY is to justify my position and worth... :) They just want to know if anyone is looking at help. I'd be okay with the answer "no, it's not possible". But if it is possible, they just want to see how many hits our main topic gets...

            Fun, fun...

            -Jenn
            • 3. Re: Hit Counter in WebHelp?
              mtricomi
              Hi Jenn,

              It is definitely possible. I registered with sitemeter.com to copy there HTML code to paste into RoboHelp. I believe that you can even generate reports on their site as well.

              Unfortunately, I am having difficulty having the hit counter show up on the page, but this is how I went about doing it:

              Create a new Template, insert a footer with the copied HTML code from Site Meter & then apply the footer to the appropriate page(s). As I mentioned I am having some trouble having the counter show up on the page, but atleast this should get you started.

              I was actually coming to the site to post this problem.

              Mike
              • 4. Re: Hit Counter in WebHelp?
                Level 2
                Mike,

                We use SiteMeter on our website and it works OK, but doesn't display page by page hits. That's OK, as there is no reason for the user to see these counts anyway. We usually include a lot of white space between the end of the content and SiteMeter's graphic. There is a lot of detailed information we get from them, but nothing as to Rick's point - was the information helpful?

                What trouble are you having? Does anything show up? For a couple of days last week, there was a little icon but no counts - that was a problem on their end.

                One of the problems with a hit counter is that it takes a while to load and while it is loading some of the other scripts, such as menus, may be disabled on your page.

                John
                • 5. Re: Hit Counter in WebHelp?
                  Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                  Hi John

                  Perhaps you would care to expound on why you use the hit counter?

                  I'm serious. I struggle to understand it for reasons outlined earlier.

                  Do you decide to delete topics that have no hits? What about topics that have lots of hits? Do you decide to make them "less helpful" so they don't get as many hits and you balance out the access?

                  I'm hopeful that if a good reason can be put forth, I might finally come to terms with understanding why it is so important for some.

                  Cheers... Rick
                  • 6. Re: Hit Counter in WebHelp?
                    Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                    I think if the results are used carefully they can help. I use one on my site to give an idea of the areas of RH that give people trouble. I don't pull the other topics or hold back from writing about something that perhaps will only interest a few people. However, at back to the wall time, it can help prioritise the order of writing.

                    In the case of help for a software application, a topic being accessed a lot could indicate the screen or the workflow are badly designed and users need help. If that results in product improvement, then it seems worthwhile.

                    • 7. Re: Hit Counter in WebHelp?
                      MergeThis Level 4
                      ...and bean counters are just so-o-o-o-o-o-o content when they have beans to count, they can generally stay out of your way so you can get some real work done!


                      Leon
                      • 8. Re: Hit Counter in WebHelp?
                        mtricomi Level 1
                        To answer John's question as to the trouble I am having this is what I've been doing:

                        I went to Sitemeter copied the HTML Code for the counter & pasted it in a Template. When I used the viewer all that was showing up was the Code & not the Counter. Now my Help Site is on an internal server so I'm not sure if that may be the issue.

                        Any help would be great.

                        Mike
                        • 9. Re: Hit Counter in WebHelp?
                          Peter Grainge Adobe Community Professional (Moderator)
                          Probably. You could ask Sitemeter if their method can be made to work on an intranet.

                          • 10. Re: Hit Counter in WebHelp?
                            RoboWizard Level 4
                            Hi Jenn

                            Just speculating here, but if you are hosting WebHelp on an internal Web server, you may wish to ask your Web admins if they offer reporting of this type. They may well already have something in place you could use.

                            Assuming they don't, you should also be aware that Adobe also offers something called RoboHelp Server. This is a product you would purchase, hand to your Web Admin folks and have them install and configure on their Web servers. You would then create WebHelp Pro or FlashHelp Pro and publish to the RoboHelp Server. One of the features that RoboHelp Server provides is reporting of the type you seem to be seeking. Right from inside RoboHelp.

                            I often hesitate to mention it because there seems to be so much confusion surrounding it. Many mistakenly believe that it is an absolute necessity in order to place WebHelp or FlashHelp content on the web or an intranet and make it available to others. That's incorrect. Basic Web Servers work just fine. It does add to the complexity of what you do and how you operate as well as adding to the workload of your Web Admin folks. It also introduces a new failure point for issues to arise. So it's up to you to decide whether you feel it's worth it.

                            Cheers... Rick
                            • 11. Re: Hit Counter in WebHelp?
                              Level 2
                              Rick,

                              Why do we use it? Mainly to see where inquiries are coming from. Sitemeter gives us worldwide maps of hits to our site and what pages are being looked at. We are a small company, with under 50 sales worldwide per year across a wide variety of industries. Many who seek information are potential customers, so this is useful information for us - it is more of a marketing issue than a help issue. It really has nothing to do with me - I was just asked to insert the code.

                              Mike,

                              I don't think Sitemeter would work on an internal server, since their code is a direct link to sitemeter.com. I would think that you would have firewall problems if you have a true intranet.

                              John.
                              • 12. Re: Hit Counter in WebHelp?
                                Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                                Hi all

                                Thanks to John and Peter for the valuable insights. So it would appear there may actually be valid reasons for wanting the counters. Keep in mind that I was only approaching it from the "Help developer" viewpoint.

                                Cheers all... Rick
                                • 13. Re: Hit Counter in WebHelp?
                                  CarolHunt
                                  Rick,

                                  Your questions as to why users would need a hit counter come off very arrogant. Adobe’s RoboHelp customers are intelligent people and obliviously have a business need for requesting the code. The reason should not be a concern to anyone. But, since you seem to feel that you cannot provide it without a valid reason, here is one you may not have heard.

                                  I work in the engineering department of a major telecom company and need a hit counter code that is not registered through any external service such as Sitemax. The link to the Intranet site is highly confidential and is protected by a strict firewall. This WebHelp system contains proprietary network architecture information, which hackers attempt to access every single day, according to Corporate Security.

                                  If you know the code, please provide it, or let us know you do not have the required information.

                                  Thank you,

                                  Carol
                                  • 14. Re: Hit Counter in WebHelp?
                                    Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
                                    Welcome to our community, Carol

                                    I'm assuming you have read through the thread in its entirety. If so, you should be aware of the RoboHelp Server component. That is an additional component that one may purchase from Adobe. If you have it installed and in place, you will then be able to run reports on topics and how frequently they were accessed. But I would also point out that the folks that run your web servers probably already have such information available without the added expense and configuration of the RoboHelp Server product.

                                    Wow, I find it odd that by my having serious questions as to why hit counters are desired that it seems to come off to you as me being arrogant. But if it did, it did. I certainly don't intend for it to be that way, but I suppose there isn't much I can do about that. Please understand that I used to work with Microsoft FrontPage back in the day. Hit counters were always more of a novelty than anything else. Heck, FP allowed you to set the initial value! So you could put up a page and proclaim it had already been visited 2,000,000 times. So I probably view these with more of a critical eye than most do.

                                    In your case it would seem that you have the need in order to determine if hackers are attempting to access unauthorized pages? If so, you are correct. That is a new one on me. And to be honest, I'm not sure how a hit counter would help with that. Unless perhaps a higher degree of access was being requested for a specific page. You could then maybe examine traffic to see if you could resolve to IP addresses and whatnot. But I'm not a web admin, so I have no clue if this would work as I'm imagining.

                                    The bottom line is that there is no magic code to insert in topics. It's not a part of RoboHelp. And even if you have the RoboHelp Server component, there is no magic code you insert in topics to make it happen. It's a function of what runs on the server.

                                    Given your requirements that nothing external be used, I'm going to suggest that you have a discussion with your web admin folks to see what reporting they can offer based on their own server statistics.

                                    Cheers... Rick
                                    • 15. Re: Hit Counter in WebHelp?
                                      CarolHunt Level 1
                                      Rick,

                                      I am sorry for my rudeness. I am cynical about things too, and have to keep that suppressed, which sometimes I slip.

                                      The hacker issue only has to do with the provision of a link to obtain code from a hit counter site, which is forbidden by our Corporate Security. The hit counters I have found will only work if the hit counter site can authenticate the link of the system for which the counter is used. If it is behind a firewall, then the counter will not work.

                                      I would use server statistics as you suggested; however, this particular server is used for many help systems with protected information. IT stated that it would be a nightmare to try to differentiate one systems hit from another.

                                      We need a hit counter to report user statistics to upper management. We could use the calculation we devised to separate the developer hits from the user hits, but without the total number of hits, it is useless.

                                      I will research this and try to find the code. If I do, I will come back to this site and provide it to the others. I was just trying to save time, you know, take the easy way first. ;o)

                                      My apologies to you sir for insinuating arrogance.

                                      Carol