@clutter/wt

`wt` is a JavaScript library to track events in the browser.

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Readme

What is wt

wt is a JavaScript library to track events in the browser.

build status npm version

It provides a single function wt that can be used as follows:

import wt from '@clutter/wt';
button.addEventListener(
  'click',
  () => wt('event'),
);

When button is clicked, this code will send event data to the server asynchronously using the polyfilled window.fetch() method.

On the server, the endpoint /wt/t is expected to return a valid response and to parse all the provided parameters, keeping track of the events sent by wt.

Why use wt

The benefit of wt is to reliably track visitor events in the browser. wt is highly customizable and can send events to your own server, rather than third-party trackers.

How to install and load wt

The easiest way to install wt is through Yarn:

yarn add @clutter/wt

Before calling the wt method, import from the library:

import wt from '@clutter/wt';

How to use wt

Events can be tracked with the function wt(*string* kind, *object* params). For a single event, set kind to 'event' and pass any parameters you want to track in params. For instance:

wt('event', { action: 'hover' })

The data sent to the server will contain the following:

  • events[][kind]: the kind of tracking; in this case: 'event'
  • events[][url]: the URL of the page where the event occurred
  • events[][action]: the only param to track in this case: 'hover'
  • events[][ts]: the timestamp when the event occurred (Unix-time milliseconds)
  • agent: the User Agent of the request
  • rts: the timestamp when the event was sent

How to track multiple events

Multiple events can be tracked by calling wt several times:

wt('event', { action: 'hover' })
// after 0.2 seconds
wt('event', { action: 'click' })

Under the hood, wt is optimized to deal with multiple events.

wt bundles multiple consecutive events into one request, if they occur within 1.5 seconds. The goal is to avoid hitting the server too many times. If multiple events are sent in the same request, each request has its own payload.

How to track a pageview

wt('pageview')

How to change the location of the tracking endpoint

By default, wt expects the tracker domain to be the same host as the current page. This can be changed by initializing wt with a different trackerDomain before tracking:

wt('initialize', {
  trackerDomain: 'www.my-pixel-endpoint.com',
});

How to configure the tracking cookie

By default, wt generates a cookie as a pixel to keep track of a visitor. This can be changed by initializing wt with a different domain and expires prior to tracking:

wt('initial', {
  cookies: {
    domain: '.example.com',
    expires: 365,
  }
})

How to track more data for each event

Any object can be passed when tracking an event, for instance:

wt('event', {
  action: 'click',
  user: {
    id: 1,
    email: 'user@example.com'
  },
  custom: false,
});

How to submit default data for every event

If part of the payload is the same for every event, it can be set once using set. For instance calling:

wt('set', {
  user: {
   id: 1
  },
});

ensures that the user ID is sent as part of the payload in any event.

Calling set multiple times adds new values without clearing the old ones. In this sense, set behaves like React.Component().setState(). All the values already set can be cleared with:

wt('clear')

Events

You may want to subscribe to lifecycle events for the tracker.

import wt, { SEND_COMPLETED } from '@clutter/wt'
wt('subscribe', SEND_COMPLETED, () => {
  console.log('Analytics data sent');
});

The lifecycle events are:

  • SEND_STARTED: "send:started" - the tracker has started sending data via the tracker pixel
  • SEND_COMPLETED: "send:completed" - the tracker has finished sending data via the tracker pixel
  • QUEUE_COMPLETED: "queue:completed" - the tracker has finished sending data via the tracker pixel and no additional events are queued
  • QUEUE_CONTINUED: "queue:continued" - the tracker has finished sending data via the tracker pixel and some additional events are queued

Calling this method will return an unsubscribe method. You can use it to stop listening to the event.

import wt, { SEND_COMPLETED } from '@clutter/wt'

const unsub = wt('subscribe', SEND_COMPLETED, () => {
  console.log('Analytics data sent - you\'ll only see this once');
  unsub();
});

First Load

You may be sending a cookie back from your server. If you want to wait for an event to complete before performing actions, use the afterFirstLoad command.

import wt from '@clutter/wt'

wt('afterFirstLoad', () => {
  console.log('You\'ve sent your page view request!');
});

wt('pageview');

// if you call it later
wt('afterFirstLoad', () => {
  console.log('This is invoked immediately');
});

How to implement the server

In order for wt to fully work, a server must be running that provides a /wt/t endpoint. This can be built in Rails, node.js or any other technology. An example is provided inside the repo at examples/index.server.js

If you find any bugs or have a feature request, please open an issue on github!

The npm package download data comes from npm's download counts api and package details come from npms.io.