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Web Page Activity Tracking

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000031031D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Sep-07
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Sep-07
Document File: 3 page(s) / 86K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Presented is a multi-platform solution to detecting web-site user activity that is easy to implement and flexible (since the web-site designer can choose which browser window to track). The solution is a JavaScript*-based solution (ECMAScript standard, DOM1).

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Web Page Activity Tracking

Most web sites today are not just static pages; they are interactive pages that get a lot of input from the user. Today we can do many things using the web, for example:

· Paying bills
· Ordering show tickets
· Supermarket shopping

The use of interactive pages raises the need to detect user activity on a web site. Some examples of problems:

1. Ticket purchasing sites. A user who wants to buy a ticket from the site company selects the desired ticket and the site system reserves the ticket for 5 minutes, after which time the system checks whether or not the user has purchased the ticket. If the user has purchased the ticket, then the system saves the ticket for that user; otherwise, the system releases the ticket. In order not to "lose" places that users reserve but do not buy, it is necessary to detect whether the user attempts to buy the tickets.

2. Lotus Sametime** Links toolkit is a simple JavaScript* toolkit that allows embedding Sametime awareness on any web page by adding only few JavaScript lines. This tool provides an IM and Chats System, and in order to be aware of logins and logouts or if a user's status changes (to "away", for example), it is necessary to detect if a user is using the chat or the computer at the moment.

Detecting user activity means tracking mouse movement or keyboard activity.

Many sites would like to know about user activity inside their pages. There are two known solutions for this issue today:

1) Detect user activity using a native code that listens to system events.
2) Detect user activity using an applet that listens for Java event system.

Native Code Solution:

Using the native-code solution, one needs to write native code for each operating system, for example dll files for windows. This solution opens the door for security, maintenance, and installation problems. This solution also requires installing the native code on the user machine.

Java Applet Solution:

One can catch events that happen in the page only inside the applet border; any event that occurs on the page but not in the applet area will not be detected. Another problem with the applet solution is that it takes a lot of time for the page to load. Also, in order to use the applet solution a user needs to install the Java virtual machine on his or her computer.

    Presented here is a multi-platform solution that is easy to implement and flexible (since the web-site designer can choose which browser window to track). The solution is a JavaScript based solution (ECMAScript standard, DOM1).

The solution is to detect user activity by adding mouse and keyboard listeners

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using JavaScript code only to the web page, then to activate a timer until the end of a defined interval or until an activity event notification is received.

The advantages of this solution are that it is:

1. Multi platform - The solution can be used on every browser that supports JavaScript (all known browsers today) on any operating system...