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Tracking Dashboard Usage

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Modified on Wed, 05 Mar 2014 03:32 PM Categorized as Administration, Level-Advanced
Click to return to: Documentation | Installing and Administering Dundas Dashboard


Overview

In Dundas Dashboard 5 or later, administrators can enable the tracking of dashboard usage via the configuration file. Core statistics regarding the dashboard being viewed, the user accessing the dashboard, and the time and approximate duration of viewing are recorded. Based on this data, it is possible to derive additional usage information such as:

  • Number of times a dashboard is viewed.
  • Average time spent viewing a dashboard.
  • Time of day usage patterns for a dashboard.

The core usage data is recorded in the Dundas Dashboard Application DataStore database.

Sample project and dashboard

The Deployment Center includes an optional sample project with a usage dashboard that displays detailed tracking information. When you install this sample, dashboard tracking is automatically enabled via the configuration file.

Tracking Dashboard Usage sample (Click to enlarge).

Tracking Dashboard Usage sample (Click to enlarge).


Enabling tracking

To enable tracking, you must uncomment and set the DashboardUsageTracking.IsEnabled key to True in the Dundas Dashboard Configuration File.

<!-- Enable usage tracking. -->
<key name="DashboardUsageTracking.IsEnabled" value="True" />

You can also adjust the DashboardUsageTracking.PingInterval value to control how frequently a message is sent to the server (for the purposes of updating usage statistics) while a user is viewing a dashboard.

<!-- Send a message every 30 seconds. -->
<key name="DashboardUsageTracking.PingInterval" value="30" />

After making changes to the configuration file, you must restart the Dundas Dashboard website for the changes to take effect.

Disable tracking for a specific dashboard

By default, when tracking is enabled, usage statistics are recorded for all dashboards under the Dundas Dashboard instance. However, dashboard designers can disable tracking for a specific dashboard by setting its Disable Tracking property to True.

Disable Tracking property for a dashboard.

Disable Tracking property for a dashboard.


DataStore database

DashboardUsage table

When tracking is enabled, usage statistics are recorded to a table in the Dundas Dashboard Application DataStore database. For example, if your Dundas Dashboard instance is named Instance1, the corresponding SQL Server database would be Dundas Dashboard Instance1 DataStore.

The usage data is stored in the dbo.DashboardUsage table, which has the following columns:

ColumnDescription
TrackingIdA unique ID identifying this tracking event.
SessionIdThe ID of the user's login session. Can be used to differentiate between users who are using the same login account (e.g. embedded viewer scenarios).
AccountIdThe ID of the user (account) viewing this dashboard.
AccountNameThe username of the user (account) viewing this dashboard.
DashboardIdThe ID of the dashboard (or embedded dashblock) being viewed.
EntryDateThe UTC date and time the viewing began.
DurationHow long the dashboard has been viewed so far (in seconds). This will be an approximate value that depends on the ping interval defined in the configuration file.

The DashboardUsage table in the Dundas Dashboard DataStore database (SQL Server Management Studio).

The DashboardUsage table in the Dundas Dashboard DataStore database (SQL Server Management Studio).


FileSystemObject table

The DashboardUsage table gives you the ID of a dashboard that is being viewed. In order to extract more user-friendly information, such as the name of the dashboard, it also helps to be familiar with the FileSystemObject table in the datastore database.

Using the FileSystemObject table, you can look up the names of objects in the Design Explorer based on their object IDs. Objects such as dashboards, projects, folders, virtual tables, and KPIs can all be found in this table. You can determine the ID of any object in the Design Explorer from its Properties dialog.

Below are some of the columns from the FileSystemObject table:

ColumnDescription
ObjectIdThe ID of an object in the Design Explorer, such as a dashboard, data connector, or folder.
ObjectNameThe name of an object in the Design Explorer.
ParentFolderIdThe ID of this object's parent folder in the Design Explorer. If the object is a top-level folder, this will be the ID of the parent project. You can look up the ID in this same table in order to get the name of the parent folder/project.
ParentProjectIdThe ID of the project containing this object. You can look up the ID in this same table in order to get the name of the parent project.

Warning: This table and others in the datastore database are critical to the operation of Dundas Dashboard. Do not modify these tables.

Examples

The following examples show how to build basic dashboards to display tracking information. If you simply want to view tracking information without building your own dashboards, or you require a full and practical example, install the Tracking Dashboard Usage sample via the Deployment Center.

Displaying basic dashboard usage

The following example shows how to display basic dashboard usage information in a data grid.

  1. Enable dashboard usage tracking as described earlier, and then view some dashboards in order to generate usage statistics.
  2. Create a data connector, DataStoreDC, that points to the SQL Server instance where your Dundas Dashboard application databases are stored. Connect it to the DataStore database.
    Create a data connector.
  3. Create a standard virtual table, DashboardUsageVT, as follows:
    • Select DataStoreDC as the data connector.
    • Include the data structures, dbo.DashboardUsage and dbo.FileSystemObject.
    • Add a data relationship that joins the two tables:
      • Set the Parent structure to dbo.FileSystemObject.
      • Set the Child structure to dbo.DashboardUsage.
      • Set the Relationship to Inner Join.
      • Set the Parent Column to ObjectId.
      • Set the Child Column to DashboardId.
    • Hide all columns except for:
      • TrackingId
      • AccountName
      • ParentProjectId
      • ObjectName
      • EntryDate
      • Duration
    • Change the Friendly Name of the columns to:
      • TrackingId
      • Account Name
      • ParentProjectId
      • Dashboard Name
      • Entry Date
      • Duration
    • Preview the virtual table.
      Preview of virtual table.
  4. Create a second standard virtual table, FileSystemObjectVT, for look-up purposes:
    • Select DataStoreDC as the data connector.
    • Include the data structure, dbo.FileSystemObject.
    • Hide all columns except for:
      • ObjectId
      • ObjectName
  5. Create a dataset, DashboardUsageDS, as follows:
    • Select DashboardUsageVT as the base virtual table.
    • Include all data fields except for TrackingId.
    • Add a look-up column corresponding to ParentProjectId as follows:
      • Select FileSystemObjectVT as the look-up virtual table.
      • Select ObjectName as the look-up field.
      • Set the Relationship type to Inner Join.
      • Set the Parent Column to ParentProjectId.
      • Set the Child Column to ObjectId.
      • Select the option to Replace original KPI column.
      • Click Finish to replace the ParentProjectId column with the ObjectName look-up column.
    • Rename the ObjectName column to Project Name.
    • Select the Visible check box for all columns.
    • Set the Aggregator for the Duration column to SUM. Select the Group By check box for all other columns.
    • Preview the dataset.
      Preview of dataset.
  6. Create a new dashboard as follows:
    • Drag the dataset, DashboardUsageDS, to the canvas.
    • In the first step of the Data Settings Configuration wizard, enable data refresh and set the refresh interval to 00:00:30 (30 seconds).
    • Default the remaining options in the wizard and click Finish.
    • Save and check in the dashboard.

You can now view the dashboard and watch for updates to the usage statistics while other dashboards are being viewed.

A dashboard showing basic usage information.

A dashboard showing basic usage information.


Showing the number of views per dashboard

The following example shows how to set up a chart to display the number of views per dashboard.

  1. Create the DashboardUsageVT virtual table as described in the previous example.
  2. Create a KPI, Views By Dashboard, as follows:
    • Select DashboardUsageVT as the base virtual table.
    • Select <Count> as the measure.
    • Select Dashboard Name as the dimension field.
  3. Create a new dashboard as follows:
    • Drag the KPI, Views By Dashboard, to the canvas.
    • Right-click over the bar chart and select Data Information. From the menu, click Configure KPI settings. In the Data Settings Configuration wizard, enable data refresh and set the refresh interval to 00:00:30 (30 seconds).
    • Save and then preview the dashboard.

Number of views per dashboard.

Number of views per dashboard.


Related topics


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