What is WASP?WASP is the Web Analytics Solution Profiler, a Firefox extension aimed at web analytics implementation specialists, web analysts and savvy web surfers who wants to understand how their behavior is being analyzed.
"Some web analytics tools use one standard tag to collect data. Other vendors have a custom tag all over the place... it is important that you validate in QA and production that your ... tags are each capturing exactly what they are supposed to.
I know that Omniture has a nifty utility that you can use to validate and review that data is being collected ... as it should be. This is really nice and helpful and I do like it very much. Please ask your vendor if they have something like this (and they probably do)."
Avinash Kaushik's Web Analytics Technical Implementation Best Practices
Jim Sterne: First of all, web analytics numbers are not precise... So, the question about precision is a long process. The day you implement a tool you may well get bad data. So, verify everything that you possibly can. But eventually, you are going to reach the point of diminishing returns...
Eric Enge interview of Jim Sterne
How does it work?
- The WASP Firefox extension sidebar is triggered whenever a new page is loaded, a new browser tab comes into view, or when the sidebar itself is first shown.
- WASP watch for all HTTP GET requests sent by your browser, regardless of their type (images, scripts, stylesheets, frames)
- If that object is found, we now look for an HTTP GET request that match a specific regular expression. Again, this pattern should be something unique to this web analytics solution.
- When a match is found, we can check for any particular Query String parameter being passed and cookies being sent or retrieved and display that information in the sidebar.
Quite simple, isn't it!Yes and no, early prototypes built with Greasemonkey quickly revealed some solutions were rather complex to detect, while others were very simple. Some are even able to "hide" themselves... or at least, try!
Another aspect that turned out to be more complex than initially thought is the Firefox extension itself. Using the XUL (XML User Interface Language) and building the right "hooks" to the Firefox page loading events are not trivial.
Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated and do not receive any monetary incentive from the companies providing the solution WASP is analyzing. Neither M.Kaushik nor Omniture endorse WASP and the screen captures are shown for demonstration purposes only.here.
WASP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial NoDerivs 2.5 License.
If you use this tool for professional purposes, please think about a donation (look for the "Make a Donation" button in the right sidebar).