Posts Tagged ‘analytics’

Alterian Engine 4.1 – ConnectionBroker.exe and Security Groups

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This is just a blurb that I wanted to publish for my sake (so that I could look it up later) and for anyone else who has to install Alterian Studio who will invariably run into the same problem.

The problem: You want to set up a security group so that certain fields in your database are invisible to certain users.  You log onto the management console and set up your group only to find that when you log off of the AMC and start the application, the fields you thought were invisible are still visible.  You clearly saw the  group created and users assigned to it in the AMC when you were building the group.  So what happened?

Here is what happened: When you were logged onto the Alterian Management Console, you were indeed building a security group and assigning users to it.  However the issue lies with where you were building that group.  You were building it in memory.  The AMC does not write to disk until you actually log off of your session.  The other piece to this puzzle is what does the writing.

If you remember, back in the heady days of AMS 2.2, there were 3 parts that made up the essence of Alterian:  Molecule.exe (the interface), Atom.exe (the distributor), and Nucleus.exe (the engine).  Now with AMS 2.5/Engine 4.1 comes some serious performance improvements, and one of the reasons for those improvements is ConnectionBroker.exe, the sort of  ‘traffic cop’ for the multi-tenant environment.  You’ll also remember that in AMS 2.2/Engine 3.1, you needed to use DCOMCNFG to tell the application what account it needs to run under so that proper rights are given for these executables to access folders, write to disk, use network shares, etc.  With ConnectionBroker in the mix, you need to do the same thing, but for ConnectionBroker, this is not done in DCOMCNFG.  ConnectionBroker runs as a service, so configuration happens in the Microsoft Management Console under Services.  Another catch is that changes are not immediate.  When you change a service, you have to stop and then re-start the service for the change to take effect.  By default, ConnectionBroker.exe runs under SYSTEM (the Windows SYSTEM account, not Alterian’s administrative account) which often is not given rights to write data willy nilly all over your server.  Switching to whatever generic Alterian account you use in DCOM usually solves this problem as that account is 1) not accessed by regular users and 2) is an admin level account (Alterian uses ‘nuclog’, but where I work, we make our own account).

Once ConnectionBroker.exe service is set to run under a different account than the default Windows SYSTEM account, you will see the Security Group issue disappear.  Interestingly, this issue does not rear it’s ugly head when creating/editing users themselves.


How to use Google Analytics on your site.

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I work in the marketing industry, particularly in the field of analytics. To criminally oversimplify my job, I take data, load it into database, and use software to allow users to analyze that data. Let’s say a client sends out a mailing to 10,000 people in order to illicit some kind of response, either a phone call, the mailing in of a form, or a visit to a website. We take that response data and give the client actionable information on where to more effectively spend their money to more effectively target those people from whom they are more likely to get a response, which can eventually translate into revenue for our client.

Web analytics is basically applying the same principles to tracking the visitors of a website, be that website a massive e-commerce site like Amazon.com or a site like mine… a blog.  Google Analytics makes getting usable information from your site incredibly easy.  This article will go through the basics of how to set this up.  I’ve found two ways to set this up and they both work.  I’ll call the first way The Easy Way, and the second way The Really Easy Way.

The Easy Way

  1. Open an account with Google Analytics.  If you already have a gmail account, you can use the same credentials.
  2. Take the HTML provided by Google, and place it in the footer of every page of your website that you want tracked, preferably just above the closing body tag.
  3. Sit back and watch as your statistics roll in.

If you have a site that runs on a particular piece of software, there are lovely people out there who may have written implementations of Google Analytics specifically for the software that you use.  In my case, my blog is powered by WordPress.  As luck would have it, Joost de Valk has written a nice implementation called Google Analytics for WordPress which leads us to our next section…

The Really Easy Way

  1. Download Joost’s Google Analytics for WordPress and un-zip the archive.
  2. Upload the folder to the wp-content/plugins directory on your web server.
  3. Paste your Google Analytics ID#  from your Google Analytics account into a text field.
  4. Sit back and watch your statistics roll in.

It’s that simple.  When all is said and done, you can take a look at your website’s statistics in your Google Analytics Account.  Since my website is relatively young and I just implemented the code on my website today, you can see how immediately the results are registered (see screenshots below).

Screenshot 1

Screenshot 2