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Usage Analysis Report in SharePoint Portal
by Ameet Phadnis
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Companies generally tend to keep track of who is accessing their websites and what pages were accessed by the users.  These reports are used to determine the most used pages, the least used pages, etc.  This helps in determining which pages can be removed from the Web site or which pages need to be highlighted.

In the Intranet world Managers of different departments are interested in knowing what users are interested in on their pages.  Based on the documents or sub areas accessed by the employees, individual departments can decide to publish the content on the main page for easy navigation for users.

In normal Web Site there are different tools that assist you in tracking the Site Usage.  These reports may contain the following information.

·         Users that have accessed the site

·         When the users accessed the sit

·         What pages were used on the site

The list can go on and on.

SharePoint Portal also tracks the usage of the sites.  This article explains how SharePoint tracks and reports the site's use.

Setting SharePoint to Log Usage Analysis

The first step is to setup SharePoint to track the Usage Analysis Report.

The steps are as follows.

·         On your site, click Site Settings.

Figure 1

·         On Site Settings under the General Settings, click on Go to SharePoint Portal Server Central Administration.

·         On the SharePoint Portal Server Central Administration page under Component Configuration, click on Configure Usage Analysis Processing.

Figure 2

·         The configure Usage Analysis Screen is displayed.

Figure 3

·         Administrators can set the following settings on this screen.

·         Enable Logging - This should be checked if you want to use the Usage Analysis Report.  Log files are created daily on the server.  These log files track the Usage information.

·         Log File Location - Where the Log files need to be stored.  By default it is stored under c:\%windir%\system32\LogFiles\STS.  Under this folder are contained folders for each virtual server and under these folders are folders for each day.  Administrators can change this location path to something else.  If you choose to change this path to some other folder make sure that STS_WPG group has Read, Write and Update permissions to the site.

·         Time for Processing the Usage Logs - Generally, you should schedule the time for processing the logs when the usage of the site is at a minimum.  In the intranet world it would make sense to process the Usage Logs at night when the site is not being used much by employees.  By default, the time is set to 1 am to 2 am.

·         Make the necessary changes on this screen and click ok.

With the above administration process, you have just setup the Website to track the Usage Analysis for SharePoint Sites.

Log Folder structure and its contents

Before we move into how to display the Usage Analysis Report, let us first look at the log folder structure and the log files.

Typically your Log Folders will look like Figure 4.

Figure 4

You will notice it is tracking a Log report for different virtual servers and under each server it has folders for each day.  If you click on any of those day folders you will see a log file like the following.

Figure 5

The log files are just plain text documents.  If you open one of these log files you should see lines similar to the following:

D6B48D8C-76AA-4A61-88B7-29D987E67D2E 15:13:46 http://etekglobal  default.aspx aapw2003sharepo\administrator   Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.2; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)     

This line information gives you an idea of what time the person has logged in and what pages were visited, etc.  In the above scenario it displays that the administrator logged onto the intranet site and the page visited was the default page.

WSS and SharePoint Usage Analysis Report

Before looking at how we can view the report on SharePoint Portal, let us see how we can view the report on the WSS site.

On WSS follow these steps to display the report.

·         Click on Site Settings.

Figure 6

·         Under Administration, click on the Site Administration link.

Figure 7

·         Under Management and Statistics, click on View Site Usage data.

·         The report will be displayed to you.

Sounds easy enough in the WSS site, but is it that simple on SharePoint Portal?  Yes, but there is no link provided as it is provided on the WSS site.

The SharePoint developers/administrators need to understand one important thing about SharePoint Portal: it is a collection of WSS sites.  SharePoint is built on top of WSS sites.  Once you have understood this basic principal, you will understand that you can use some of the pages in a WSS site on SharePoint portal too.

So, in order to display the report you need to use the following syntax for your sub areas.  As SharePoint Portal is made up of sites collection, you can go to any sub area you are interested in and type the path for Usage Analysis Report page.  The syntax would be: <website>/<sub area>/_layouts/1033/usageDetails.aspx.  For example, in my scenario for etekglobal website home area, it would be http://etekglobal/_layouts/1033/usageDetails.aspx.  The way I got this syntax was to copy everything starting from _layouts from the address bar on the WSS usage analysis report.  So, when the administrators would like to run reports for each sub area they can just go to the sub area and instead of using the default.aspx, they can just paste everything beginning with _layouts.  That is all!  You now have a running Usage Analysis Report.

What does the report contain?

Finally, I would like to sum up what the report contains.  The Usage Analysis Report reports on Page Usage, Users Logs, OS, Browser and Referrer URL.  All the reports can be run on a Month or Daily summary.  The month summary will list usage for last 30 days from the date the report was run and daily report will report on daily usage for the last 30 days.   Typically the report will look as follows.


Figure 8 Month Summary Report


Figure 9 Daily Report



Finally, the main thing to understand is that what you are able to do on WSS can be done in SharePoint Portal, but the developer has to tweak it to make it work.  There are a lot of backdoors like this one in SharePoint Portal.  It simply takes some playing around in SharePoint to figure out these backdoors.

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