EPP/Framework for Visual Analytics of user tracking information

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Nowadays Eclipse is well known as a powerful and exceeding customizable platform for both Integrated Development Environments and Rich Client Applications. Due to its modular Plug-in Architecture there are almost no limits on individual purpose. However, high adaptive and mutable software raises new questions about its usability and usage behavior. An investigation of user interactions could help to find potential signs of weakness in design or misuse as well. Possible application areas are improvements of usability in RCP-based individual software, statistical evaluation of usage frequentness of certain Features and Plug-ins. The framework will be build using the mechanism of the Usage Data Collector from the Eclipse Packaging Project as a data source. The framework will be able to display data collected by the Eclipse Data Collector in RCP-based applications and in RAP-based Ajax applications. The principal idea is to build a framework for visual analysis of clicks and the execution of actions within RCP-based applications. The framework will be operated interactively and present the statistical data via an overlay (cp. Google Analytics Site Overlay).

This project is part of 2008 Google Summer of Code.


  • Student: Darko Varju
  • Mentor: Markus Knauer

Milestone plan

Milestone Date Description
M1 June 6 Specification of data model
M2 June 13 Specification of framework architecture
M3 June 27 Expansion of Usage Data Collector
M4 July 04 Proof of concept
M5 July 18 Visualization
RC1 August 1 Bug fixing
RC2 August 8 Documentation

Feature list

The framework consists of two main components:

The Usage Data Collector (UDC) that provides usage information and the Visual Usage Analytics (VUA) that represents the visualization. The UDC had been enhanced to run in both platforms RAP and RCP and it its gathering must track UI interactions on SWT level. VUA can be directly integrated within the application to be investigated and can be activated on demand. Its usage and its overlay must be compatible to RAP and RPC applications.

  • Usage Data Collector
    • compatibility to RAP and RCP by using singlesourcing techs
    • tracking of the widget usage
    • further recorder based on Java Message Service (JMS)
  • Visual Usage Analytics
    • compatibility to RAP and RCP by using singlesourcing techs
    • pretty design
    • fast access to control via toolbox
    • extensible and flexible architecture
      • queries can be added by extensions
      • UI contributions to access VUA can be set in a declarative and programmatic way
    • optional security component

Development progress

Getting the source


Demo based on RAP-Applications

The small demo shows a comparison within an application, which is built on the Eclipse Rich Ajax Platform. The usage of two functionalities that can be accessed by context menus and a toolbar are directly compared.

(For better comparableness, the two pictures had been modified, to show both context menus at once.)


Visual Usage Analytics in action. Widgets-vergl-VUA.png

Demo based on RCP-Applications

Ideas of improvement

Please feel free to submit proposals or comments.