Funnel Web 4 and Enterprise

Anyone who’s ever developed a Web site for a client knows they are obsessed with the number of visitors to a site and which days are most popular. Fortunately for developers, all Web servers produce copious log-files detailing every request made to the server, and every element sent out. But these log files are gibberish to those not in the know, and can also get pretty expansive – uncompressed, a week’s worth of Macworld’s raw logs is a 100MB text file. While there are a number of freeware and shareware programs around, Funnel Web is one of the leading professional-analysis tools, and the only major cross-platform tool. This makes it an obvious choice for anyone hosting sites on a Mac, for example using WebStar. But it’s also useful if you want to run your analysis on a Mac, even if your site is hosted on a Unix or, dare I say it, Windows NT box. You can start analysis simply by drag-&-dropping a log file onto Funnel Web – the application will automatically determine the log format. You can implement an AppleScript to automate the retrieval of files from a server (an FTP application is built in), passing files to Funnel Web, and exporting the reports. The number of statistics Funnel Web can produce is extensive, and gives the sort of mind-boggling detail that only a statistician could love. But you can also produce QuickReports, which give just the core facts. Full reports also produce the graphs that IT managers adore. Post-processing options include uploading the reports back to the server – so that clients can see the results and email notification – and the saving of reports as PDFs or delimited text. The Enterprise edition of Funnel Web adds a number of features, such as the tracking of advertising clickstreams. The Enterprise edition is the first major log-analysis tool to analyse streaming media, with special reports giving details of the most popular clips. Min specs: PowerPC; Mac OS 7.6; 64MB RAM; eight-bit video.

OUR VERDICT

While there are freeware analysis tools around, Funnel Web is a large step-up in terms of sophistication and flexibility, and it produces more attractive reports. The Enterprise Edition offers little more in the way of functionality, but is still valuable if advertising analysis and streaming-media analysis are needed.

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