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From Gary Turner <>
Subject [users@httpd] OT: Tracking clients as they leave site -- means and options
Date Wed, 08 Jan 2003 06:12:58 GMT
I'm developing a small informational site.  Where customers have their
own sites, a request for more info will send the client off my site to
the customer's.

Additionally, a given customer might be referenced from multiple pages.
For example, a hardware business might be referenced from pages devoted
to woodworking, mechanics, plumbing, or house paint.

I have no problem with clients leaving my site.  In fact, I very much
want clients to maintain control of their own browsers.  Pop-up windows
and new instances of the browser are no-nos.

The requirement is to log where the clients were sent, and which page
sent them.  The customer's own logs have this info, of course, but he
isn't likely to bother developing reports.  Plus, it's much better to be
able to "point with pride" my own self :)

My initial solution is to use CGI,

	<a href="cgi/">Joe's</a>

in the page.  Then in a script,

	print "Location:\n\n";

This satisfies the requirements.  The client browser issues the GET, and
so the back button continues to work as expected.  This is a Good Thing.
The access.log will show the unique script name and referer.  That's a
Good Thing, too.  Each reference will require a separate unique script.
This strikes me as a Bad Thing.

An alternative would be to pass the target (not in the HTML sense) as an
argument to a common script.  Now the script would need to parse target,
referer, date, etc., and save to a log/database.

What I do with HTML and Apache, I do reasonably well.  The scope of my
knowledge is not all that broad, though.  There are likely other options
that meet the specs, not to mention side effects to my options that I'm
not aware of.  I will appreciate a rousing discussion of options and
their merits.
Yes I fear I am living beyond my mental means--Nash

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