There are lots of software products out there that collect ‘usage’ data and many of us simply accept the terms and conditions without giving it a thought. Chem4Word is no exception, but I thought that I would share some of it back with you!
The current beta release has been collecting information about Office version, operating system and IP address as well as other bits of data to see which parts of the addin you actually use.
Mike wrote some software to extract this data from the data tables in which they are stored and Clyde then used Knime to extract useful information. I wondered whether it would be possible to extract the data directly into Knime to make the process simpler. After a bit of searching, I found a JDBC driver (http://www.cdata.com/drivers/azure/jdbc/) written to connect directly to Azure table storage; exactly what I needed. The evaluation version worked brilliantly and after a short email discussion, CData kindly donated a license to use this driver to the project team. Thanks CData! We really appreciate your help!
So, what can we do with the data, now that we’ve extracted it and processed it with Knime. With the IP address, we can use a free lookup service (http://freegeoip.net/) to get a city location and Knime has a node that allows us to automate this. We can then use an Open Source Maps node in Knime to automatically show these locations on a world map! It is really interesting to see how widely the addin is used across the world, but we’re still waiting for a user in Antarctica!
What is more usetul to us is to know what version of Microsoft Word is being used with the addin.
Supporting multiple versions of Word means we have to maintain multiple versions of the code that produces the images in the addin. So, what have we found?
We’ll publish more data as we go on, and show you more views of the data that is so valuable to us in understanding how you use the Chemistry addin for Microsoft Word.