The OpenStack Blog

Documentation Wrangling and Statistics Sharing

I’ve been tracking web analytics on the documentation site since we put it up in February, and I thought I’d share some of the more interesting nuggets of data I’ve mined. I believe the documentation statistics offer a crystal ball, a window showing the future of what’s up-and-coming for OpenStack. Let’s gaze together.

Flickr: pasukaru76

The docs.openstack.org site regularly tops 1,700 visits a day which is about 40,000 a month. Nearly 10% of visitors are site regulars, with 9-14 visits in a month, and new visitors account for over a third of the traffic. I find search and content analytics much more interesting than just site traffic, though.

At the top of the docs.openstack.org site is a custom search engine that searches the docs site, the wiki, and each developer doc sites (such as nova.openstack.org). The engine is fine-tuned to only show results for the Cactus release documents in docs.openstack.org/cactus so that there aren’t a lot of duplicates with docs.openstack.org/trunk. Yesterday I further expanded the custom search engine to include the documentation for projects in docs.openstack.org/incubation, namely Keystone, the Identity Service for OpenStack. As a result, you can more easily find Keystone API documentation and Keystone developer documentation. Hopefully it means those of you tweeting that you can’t find the Keystone docs while you’re out shopping with your family can now find them no matter your mobile circumstances!

Last month, the top search term for the docs.openstack.org site was Quantum, which revealed the need for our newly incubated project Quantum to add more documentation. Fortunately Dan Wendlandt is on the case and working on developer and administrator documentation now. Also, the custom search engine gives results on the OpenStack wiki for Quantum.

We also have a rather fancy implementation of custom Event Tracking so I can track search data when a reader searches within a particular manual. We have data starting with mid-June. Popular searches once someone’s within a manual are glance, dashboard, vlan, floating, and zone. Interestingly, terms like accounting and billing show up in both the individual guides search and on the main search. I can extrapolate a couple of items from this type of data:

  1. People recognize project names, and the Image Service (glance) docs are embedded within the Compute book for the Cactus release. For Diablo, the Image Service will have its own set of books.
  2. The Dashboard had been trending for a while, so I put the docs in the Compute books prior to its incubation. That looks to be a good decision still.
  3. Accounting or billing solutions don’t exist in the OpenStack ecosystem yet, but people are certainly searching for them.

Our custom event tracking tells us that we’re also getting about 100 comments a month using the Disqus tool, and users are answering other users, which is excellent, keep it up!

One additional tracking item that I find interesting is that downloading the PDF of the OpenStack Compute Admin Manual is in the top 10 exit pages. I think people get in, download what they need, and get out. PDF output is considerably more popular than I had realized. I guess a lot of people hop on a plane and read docs or want the manual at their bedside table to go to sleep with?

Hopefully this tracking doesn’t creep you out, because the data really can help me shape the future for OpenStack documentation. You can always opt out of these tracking devices, and I’m sure some of you do. Let me know if there are any other documentation insights you would like to know.

Category: Documentation, Measurement, Website | Tags: , , , , Comment »

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