UserALE.js' Data Schema

This guide describes the structure of content of Apache UserALE.js logs, including:

  • which behaviors UserALE.js listens to;
  • which meta data UserALE.js attaches to logs, for context:
  • different types of UserALE.js logs, and their usage.

UserALE.js Logs

UserALE.js logs, by default, contain a lot more data than other business analytics products because it is powerful enough for workflow analysis.

Workflow analysis is about understanding the complex interdependency between elements and behaviors within and across pages. Workflow analysis at this level is really crucial for understanding:

  • how people think about the information on your site or app
  • understanding efficiency in information discovery
  • and for gauging how novices explore pages compared to experts or superusers.

In order to do workflow analysis, UserALE.js generates granular data about interactions with page elements.

This is a standard UserALE.js log from our example test utility:

    "microTime": 0.185,
    "minor_ver": "0",
    "@timestamp": "2019-06-28T16:00:20.790Z",
    "type": "click",
    "target": "button#test_button",
    "details": {
      "clicks": 13,
      "shift": false,
      "meta": false,
      "alt": false,
      "ctrl": false
    },
    "major_ver": "2",
    "toolVersion": "2.0.0",
    "pageReferrer": "",
    "clientTime": 1561737620520,
    "userAction": true,
    "location": {
      "x": 40,
      "y": 19
    },
    "host": "172.18.0.1",
    "path": [
      "button#test_button",
      "div.container",
      "body",
      "html",
      "#document",
      "Window"
    ],
    "sessionID": "session_1561737570573",
    "toolName": "Apache UserALE.js Example",
    "pageTitle": "UserAleJS - Example Page",
    "logType": "raw",
    "pageUrl": "file:///Users/jpoore/Documents/Apache_Flagon/test/incubator-flagon-useralejs/example/index.html",
    "userId": "example-user",
    "useraleVersion": "2.0.0",
    "patch_ver": "0"
    ]

It’s a lot, but it makes sense in context.

UserALE.js Event Tracking

The fields dentify what users do and what they interact with. UserALE.js gets this information from anywhere on a page/app without using a ton of hooks.

    "type": "click", [this field documents the kind of user behavior observed]
    "target": "button#test_button", [this field documents the site/app element a user interacted with]
    "path": [  {this is the DOM path to the "target" element, which is critical for disambiguation between elements}
      "button#test_button",
      "div.container",
      "body",
      "html",
      "#document",
      "Window"]

You may want to specially label some of these fields and important elements that. See our guide on the UserALE.js API.

For more information about the kinds of behaviors (event classes) we collect, check out our guide for modifying UserALE.js source code.

Temporal Handling in UserALE.js

Time is a very important concept in UserALE.js. Below are the fields related to temporal data capture:

    "clientTime": 1561737620520,    [UserALE.js collects time from the client when a log is generated]
    "microTime": 0.185,             [When a log is wrtten, we write microtime too, not every database parses it]
    "@timestamp": "2019-06-28T16:00:20.790Z", [If you use our Elastic backend, you will see indexing time too]

UserALE.js Meta-Data

You want context? We have all of the things for all of your events:

Event Context

Every event has a little nuance, UserALE.js gets it all.

UserALE.js will add to details the number of rapid, consecutive clicks on a single element.

    "details": {
      "clicks": 13,
      "shift": false,
      "meta": false,
      "alt": false,
      "ctrl": false
    },

You’ll get location of the cursor two for mouseover and click data, too!

    "location": {
      "x": 40,
      "y": 19
    },

UserALE.js’ WebExtension is deployed directly into your browser, as a result you’ll get browser events.

Examples are below,you’ll see our details field has some pretty useful data from the browser.

    "details": {
      "audible": false, [audio media on the page?]
      "title": "Discover - Kibana",
      "selected": true, 
      "tabId": 64, [uniquely tracks each tab] 
      "windowId": 73, [uniquely tracks each window]
      "muted": false,
      "index": 0,
      "incognito": false, [private browsing?]
      "url": "http://localhost:5601/app/kibana#/discover?_g=(refreshInterval:(pause:!t)",
      "active": true, []tab is active?[]
      "pinned": false
    },

Page/App Context

If a user clicks on a thing and you know nothing about that thing, you’re toast!

UserALE.js gives a lot context about your page or app. Some are automatically grabbed from the page, some are configurable through our script tag

    "toolVersion": "2.0.0", [you can give a semantic versioning of your page or tool]
    "pageReferrer": "", [grabbed from the page, from which page did your users find your page/app]
    "toolName": "Apache UserALE.js Example", [give your tool an alis through our script tag]
    "pageTitle": "UserAleJS - Example Page", [page title grabbed from page]
    "pageUrl": "file:///Users/jpoore/Documents/Apache_Flagon/test/incubator-flagon-useralejs/example/index.html" 

To find out more and how to change the context attached to event logs, check out our modifying UserALE.js source code guide.

User Context

UserALE.js has its own methods for gathering user context, and it can integrate with other methods you might have (e.g., cookies)

    "sessionID": "session_1561737570573", [This session ID is unique to a specific page visit]
    "userId": "example-user", [You can also pass a unique userId]
    "host": "172.18.0.1", [IP address]

To see how to pass in a userId from a url, check out our script tag docs.

Other things you might want to do (e.g., cookies) can also be passed to userId via the UserALE.js API mapping function.

UserALE.js Log Types

For the most part, UserALE.js logs are uniform. However, there are some variations based on the type of log.

WebExtension Logs

WebExtension logs from page-level events will look identical to the logs from our script tag method.

Our WebExtension logs from browser-level events, including focus, activation, and zoom events:

"host": "172.18.0.1",
    "path": null,
    "microTime": 0.835,
    "@timestamp": "2019-06-28T18:05:03.681Z",
    "sessionID": "session_1561741679119",
    "type": "browser.tabs.onZoomChange",
    "target": null,
    "details": {
      "audible": false,
      "oldZoomFactor": 1,
      "selected": true,
      "tabId": 64,
      "title": "Discover - Kibana",
      "windowId": 73,
      "newZoomFactor": 1,
      "muted": false,
      "index": 0,
      "incognito": false,
      "url": "http://localhost:5601/app/kibana#/discover?_g=(refreshInterval:(pause:!t),
      "active": true,
      "pinned": false
    },
    "toolName": null,
    "toolVersion": null,
    "clientTime": 1561745100028,
    "userAction": true,
    "logType": "raw",
    "tags": [
      "_grokparsefailure"
    ],
    "location": null,
    "userId": "nobody",
    "useraleVersion": null
  },

Interval Logs

Interval logs are a experimental feature, that write long sequences of the same event to windows. They capture high resolution data like ‘mouseovers’ in time-boxed summary windows.

Interval logs have a start- and end-time instead of a single, discrete time-stamp.

    "endTime": 1561739434516, [end interval]
    "minor_ver": "0",
    "@timestamp": "2019-06-28T16:30:35.734Z",
    "type": "mouseover",
    "target": "html", [where were mouseovers observed within the interval]
    "targetChange": true,
    "major_ver": "2",
    "count": 10, [count of disrcete events within the interval] 
    "pageReferrer": "",
    "toolVersion": "2.0.0",
    "userAction": false,
    "duration": 396, [duration of interval in ms]
    "host": "172.18.0.1",
    "path": [
      "html",
      "#document",
      "Window"
    ],
    "sessionID": "session_1561737570573",
    "toolName": "Apache UserALE.js Example",
    "startTime": 1561739434120, [begin interval]
    "typeChange": true, [were there any other events during the interval?]
    "pageTitle": "UserAleJS - Example Page",
    "logType": "interval", [as compared to "raw"]
    "pageUrl": "fApache_Flagon/test/incubator-flagon-useralejs/example/index.html",
    "userId": "example-user",
    "useraleVersion": "2.0.0",
    "patch_ver": "0"

Contributing

Contributions are welcome! Simply submit an issue report for problems you encounter or a pull request for your feature or bug fix. The core team will review it and work with you to incorporate it into UserALE.js.