Tag: analytics


Documentation Wrangling and Statistics Sharing

August 31st, 2011 — 11:18am

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.

Comment » | Documentation, Measurement, Website

Content Stacks

October 28th, 2010 — 4:32pm

Yep, content does stack, and I wanted to describe some of the content stacks we have going now. It’s like pimp my ride, where’s the noun and where’s the verb?

Stacking Up

The OpenStack community has embraced technical content and the surrounding community is hungry for more. We’ve had great contributions from community members. A couple of highlights to me are the enthusiasm and friendly lines of questioning by David Pravec (alekibango on IRC), plus his outlines in Etherpad have been excellent starters for Nova manuals. He also feels passionately that we are creating manuals, not guides, providing exact information rather than just guidance. We also had Stephen Milton (grizzletooth on IRC) step up and take the Swift All In One page and test it on multiple servers, providing a brand new multi-server installation and deployment page that we’re still drafting. A student in Florida, Eric Dorman (Orman on IRC), who is studying security in the clouds, is writing security documentation for OpenStack. This turnout encourages me so much, thanks all.

We’ve got a Documentation page that stores the collection of pages we’ve started and outlines the plans for what pages need to be written. I really liked this blog post, Two months writing docs for Open Atrium and Managing News – lessons learned! and borrowed the outline ideas from there. It confirmed my thinking that there are a lot of expectations for technical documentation for completeness, and this outline, once it’s filled in, would bring a sense of “completeness” to the OpenStack documentation.

The nova.openstack.org and swift.openstack.org sites should be freshly outfitted with Google Analytics by the end of this week. We should have Google Analytics integrated in the wiki soon as well. This integration will give us ideas about which pages are often viewed, what searches bring people to the site, and the paths they take once they’re on the wiki for example.

One work area that has surprised me a bit is the use of Etherpad to write drafts and collaborate with a small group before putting the information on the wiki or in RST. We’ve coded Etherpad pages in RST so it’s a simple copy/paste to get the RST in the Sphinx build. I understand the feeling that writing drafts on the wiki feels like working on the document on the operating table with its guts hanging out. So having a more private collaborative area like Etherpad seems to bridge the gap between wiki page drafts and early, early drafts.

Doc Sprint

I’m shaping the agenda for the upcoming Doc Sprint the last two days of the OpenStack Design Summit. All times are Central Standard (GMT -6). Here’s how it’s looking:

Thursday Nov. 11

9:00-10:00 Attend Install Fest and install environment, update install
instructions
10:00-10:30 Training in either wiki or RST as needed, plan writing
assignments
11:00-12:00 Write
12:00-1:30 Lunch
1:30-2:00 Community Manager Stephen Spector to talk about documentation
recognition
2:00-4:00 Write
4:00 End of day check-in (IRC and/or con call)
6:00 Don’t forget the party is Thursday night, all doc contributors are
welcome! Buses will depart the Weston Centre lobby at 6:00.

Friday Nov. 12

9:00-12:00 Write
12:00 Mid-day check-in (IRC and/or con call)
12:00-1:30 Lunch
1:30-4:00 Write

The check-in at the end of the day enables us to connect with remote contributors, switch writing assignments, ask questions and so on. If you’re planning to participate remotely, please let me know so I can accommodate your needs. We’ll be on the #openstack IRC channel all day, and we can use a conference call or Skype if you’d like to listen in on Spector’s talk.

Official Content Stack

One of the goals for this quarter is to find a way to distinguish “official” documentation from “ongoing, in testing” documentation. Whether it’s a badge on a page or a whole new URL such as docs.openstack.org, I’d love your thoughts on how to indicate when a doc is tested, vetted, and official. I have ideas and examples but the community opinion matters and has weight in the decision, so please offer your ideas. You can email me at anne at openstack dot org, find me on IRC as annegentle, or find me on Twitter @annegentle.

1 comment » | community, Documentation

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