Introducing Soapberry for Ackee

Update: this plugin was originally called Ackee WP but has been renamed to Soapberry to comply with the WordPress.org trademark policy for plugins. The plugin can now be found on WordPress.org under the slug Soapberry.

As part of my desire to own my data, I haven’t used Google Analytics for the past few years. In that time I’ve been curious about my site statistics but knew when I resumed collecting data I wanted to do so in a way that respected the privacy of my visitors.

This year I started a search for self-hosted tracking solutions and came across a lightweight node application, Ackee. After looking at a few other options I decided on Ackee for its care in anonymizing user data. Through hashing the user’s IP, a unique domain ID, and a salt which changes daily, site visits can be tracked without tracking the individual visitors.

For my needs, I want to know how many visits my sites are getting, where visitors are coming from, and how long they stay on the site. However, I do not have a need or desire to track individual visitors.

Using Ackee with WordPress

After setting up an Ackee instance and adding the tracking script to a few static sites I wanted to bring the functionality to my WordPress sites. At first, I just edited the theme’s footer.php file which worked well enough as a quick way to insert the script. Next, I hooked into wp_footer() so it would be easier to exclude logged in visits from the analytics.

While both of these methods work they do require a bit of WordPress know-how and do not carry over when switching themes. Wanting a better solution, I got to work writing Soapberry a WordPress plugin that adds the Ackee tracking script and data attributes to the site’s footer based on settings saved on a WP Admin page.

Keeping things simple at first, this first version of the plugin only has the ability to exclude all logged-in visitors and does not take into account the personal data options provided by Ackee. In the future, you may be able to exclude visits by role and enable opt-in tracking for personal information.

Exploring Ackee Alternatives

If after looking at Ackee you don’t think its right for you that’s okay. Ackee won’t be right for everyone. The good news is there are other options when looking to move away from Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, or other third-party tools.

Chris Wiegman wrote a post on anonymizing and tracking visits at the server level to avoid the JavaScript requirement of many trackers. The folks over at Awesome Open Source also list several other Analytics tools that can be explored. If you find a tool you like let me know what you are using in the comments.

MP6 Light

It’s one of the (not so) well kept secrets in WordPress that a team is busy redesigning the admin interface.  In fact, if you use WordPress.com you have likely noticed a change in the admin layout some time ago. For those of you using a self-hosted WordPress site the change most likely won’t happen till at least 3.7.

However, for the early adopters and developers you can preview the new layout by using the MP6 Plugin.  I personally (and from the forums, many others) felt that the new sidebar was too dark. It also currently looks like MP6 plugin won’t give users the option to switch between layouts. For this reason I’ve created MP6-light which basically works by adding a stylesheet that makes the admin a bit lighter. Check out the project page or get the plugin from the WordPress repository.

NOTE: This plugin requires the MP6 plugin to be installed.

P.S: I’m also looking for people to get involved with the project on github.

screenshot-2 screenshot-1

MobileESP 1.3.1

I just put out a quick fix for MobileESP for WordPress to hopefully FINALLY fix the two click cookie issue. Version 1.3.1 can be found in the other versions folder over on the WordPress Plugin page. If you don’t see 1.3.1 listed just grab the “Development Version.”

Please test this version and let me know if any issues arise if all goes well I’ll make this the stable version.

CHANGES IN THIS VERSION:
– Upgraded the MobileESP library to latest stable version
– Hopefully fixed full site redirect issue.

MobileESP for WP 1.2 Updated

[UPDATE] this plugin has been updated to 1.2.1 to add support for removing the cookie. See the comments of this post for more info.

I just wanted to write a quick post to let you know that MobileESP for WordPress version 1.2 has been released. This release contains the latest version of the MobileESP library as well as a bugfix for the full site url link bug which was requiring clicking on the link twice.  Get the latest version from the WordPress.org Plugin repo or update the plugin from your dashboard.

April Fools Plugin: Cornify for WordPress Released

In case you missed it I decided to do a small April Fools prank this year. I came across cornify.com and liked the way it worked. I thought it would be funny to have the unicorns pop up if the user was inactive on the site for longer than a few seconds. So I got to hacking the script and came up with a simple plugin Cornify for WordPress. This is a simple WordPress plugin for the self hosted WordPress blog that will show unicorns to the inactive user. There isn’t a control panel but if you read the readme you do have a few options for modifying the script.

Without further ado here is a screenshot:

Get the plugin today!


MobileESP for WP Updated

I just released version 1.1 of MobileESP for WordPress this should fix any problems people were having with iPhone and Android devices not forwarding correctly. I also updated the MobileESP class and minified the source which made it half the size.

As always, if you have any problems please report them in the forums tagging them with at least ‘mobileesp-for-wordpress’