I'm a new web developer and working hard to revamp my company's internet presence. One of the things our senior management wants to do is track users of our site...as in, know *who* came to the site and *what* they looked at, and whether they are registered to use our forums or get our newsletter or whatever, etc. My supervisior suggested using cookies for this...but I don't even know if that's the right technology for me to be looking at. I would assume that, if done with cookies, we would have to place a cookie on the client and then, as surfing happens, use that cookie to send back data and write it to a file somehow...
Suggestions? Am I thinking right at all about this?
Thanks for any help, especially that which would help me feel less like I am banging my head on a door that won't open...
It can be done with cookies but some people surf with thier cookies diabled.
Indeed, by setting a cookie on your visitors' computers, you can assign a unique ID to each visitor to your site. That ID will be preseved even between visits to your site.
You can then use that ID to track their activities using a server-side script (presumably the same script that sets the cookie in the first place).
You'll need to be proficient in a server-side scripting language such as PHP, ASP, or Perl.
Thanks, Nicky and kyank...any suggestions on great resources for learning how to program cookies or write PHP? Kevin, I've got the series you wrote on "Building a Database-Driven Web Site Using PHP and MySQL" so I'm going to start there, but is there stuff not covered in there about PHP that I will need to know in order to do this cookie thing? My web surfing and searching so far has not really turned up any great resources on programming cookies.
Thanks again for the help.