Go Links: More statistics

For the fans of statistics, this post is for you. All statistics compiled as of 9:30am, May 13th 2013

General stats

  • Number of unique links: 10,283
  • Number of links with zero hits: 3,890
  • Number of links with at least 1 hit: 6,393
  • Number of links with at least 100 hits: 1,098
  • Number of links with at least 500 hits: 336
  • Number of links with at least 1000 hits: 195
  • Number of links with at least 10,000 hits: 27

Top 10 Links by total hit count

  1. go.ncsu.edu/kiosk
  2. go.ncsu.edu/class_search
  3. go.ncsu.edu/print
  4. [private dept link}
  5. go.ncsu.edu/curricula_requirements
  6. [private employee link]
  7. go.ncsu.edu/myschedule
  8. go.ncsu.edu/ncres
  9. go.ncsu.edu/advance
  10. go.ncsu.edu/mygrades

Hit Count by Year

  • 2010: 16,548
  • 2011: 342,256
  • 2012: 1,023,580
  • 2013: 1,295,782 (as at May 13th)

Hit Count By Month (regardless of year)

  • Jan: 296,894
  • Feb: 269,962
  • Mar: 352,480
  • Apr: 461,235
  • May: 325,707
  • Jun: 65,866
  • Jul: 89,246
  • Aug: 167,698
  • Sep: 128,535
  • Oct: 177,394
  • Nov: 170,601
  • Dec: 172,773

Hit Count by Day of Week (regardless of year or month)

  • Sunday: 474,615
  • Monday: 471,362
  • Tuesday: 481,418
  • Wednesday: 464,474
  • Thursday: 381,784
  • Friday: 190,266
  • Saturday: 214,796

Owner stats

  • Number of users with at least 1 link: 734
  • Number of users with 10 or more links: 153
  • Number of users with 50 or more links: 18
  • Number of users with 100 or more links: 8

Go Links keeps on ticking… Surpassing 2.5 Million Hits

Go Links launched in October of 2010, and between then and September 27th 2012 it recorded slightly over a million hits. That’s a million hits in 728 days (give or take a few). That works out to be approximately 1300 hits per day for the 7503 links that existed.

Today, on May 13th 2013 (229 days later), Go Links has surpassed 2.5 Million Hits. At the time I started writing this post, the hit count was 2,673,926. That’s an average of over 7000 hits per day, every day since September 27th 2012…. or almost 2800 hits per day since Go Links was originally launched in 2010. Now there are 10,281 links (2778 added since than 9/27/12)

You can drill down into the statistics here if you’re interested.

What does this mean?

For me, the Service Owner and Developer, it means that I need to do some analysis and upgrades so Go Links doesn’t crumble under the weight of its popularity. Over the next couple of months, I will be rewriting pieces (large pieces) of the code to be much more efficient….which is something any 3 year old application needs to undergo anyway.

It also means that some underused or ignored functionality will be removed. These decisions will be based on data and actual usage, rather than any subjective opinion. With this many links, and 733 unique link owners, it’s important that we make supportable decisions.

Any changes already decided upon?

One change that is almost inevitable, is to remove the “Theme” feature, so that all links are more simply directed to the target URL. The theme feature, while necessary in the beginning to help people understand what Go Links were, and to provide feedback mechanisms, cause a couple of problems: (1) increased load on the server, (2) increased complexity inside the application code, and (3) Mobile & Printer formatting problems.

When will any changes happen?

I am actively working on some of the changes behind the scenes, but there will be no visible changes to the production Go Links service without a larger announcement on sysnews. That announcement will be cleared with the Change Advisory Board (CAB) and a date will be set (hopefully sometime this summer). Go Link owners will not have to worry too much about down time, as the changes will most likely happen overnight, or at least during non-business hours.


If you have any initial questions about Go Links, or anything in the post above, please contact me at oitdesign@ncsu.edu.

And now, at the end of this post, the hit count is 2,677,093 (3,167 hits in about 30 minutes…. i guess the start of the day is the busy time :-)


DrupalCon 2013: Portland … pre-thoughts

In just over a week, i’ll be attending my 4th DrupalCon in 5 years… this time in Portland.

Things I’m looking forward to:

  • Education sessions, specifically BOFs
  • Aegir conversations
  • Migration paths for Drupal 6->7, 6->8, and 7->8 (because we’re still on 6, and i dont have a migration plan ironed out yet)
  • Catching up with friends and colleagues from North Carolina, specifically my friends at Appalachian State, who gave me the premise and more than a little help for the Hosted Drupal Service.
  • Observing hipsters in the natural, original habitat.

I’m sure there will be more than that to pique my interest, but that’s my initial plan. I am unsure if anyone else from NC State is going this time, but if anyone wants me to seek out particular information while i’m there, let me know.

I’m planning on blogging/writing up some session summaries, or maybe just a day by day recap too, just like previous years.

I'm going to DrupalCon Portland

Making links more accessible (new Drupal module available)

Recently, our awesome University IT Accessibility Coordinator launched a tool that allows NC State website owners to scan their sites for accessibility issues (and usability, broken link, W3C Standards issues too). And after scanning many of the sites that i own or developed, a trend emerged: The top accessibility error (in terms of number of instances/offenses) on all my websites was:

     ”Avoid specifying a new window as the target of a link with target=”_blank”

Now, while the debate will rage for many more months or years about whether it is right or wrong to forcibly open a link in a new tab or window, the accessibility issue is unquestionable.

Huh? What’s the problem?

The premise is that you need to provide information to the user before they click on a link, that the link will open in a new window or tab. Otherwise, when they click the link and end up on a new window, their back/forward buttons won’t work as expected.

The Non-Drupal Solution:

If you’re running a regular non-cms website, then you’ll have to fix all your links manually… or you could add a little jquery+css to do it for you: http://jsbin.com/inuyop/2

Look at the source code for that page, and you’ll see that it searches the page for any link that opens in a new window, and adds a class to it, then adds a <span> with some text, which alerts the user on :focus, :hover and :active that a link is going to open in a new window.

Implementing this will solve your accessibility issues, but your fix won’t be reflected in the stats on the Accessibility Scan for NC State. The scanner doesn’t pick up the javascript, and so you won’t get credit in your ranking.

The Drupal Solution:

In Drupal, you can take advantage of “Filters” which run before the page is rendered, thereby changing the actual source code that is displayed (and scanned by the Accessibility Scanner). I developed a new Filter (not available on Drupal.org yet) that packages up all the functionality into a nice little module that you can then add to whatever input format you want. This means you can enable/disable it on different input formats, for different content types or whatever you want.

Here’s the module for download:


… or you can contribute on Github:


Right now there is only the Drupal 6 Version available, but i am planning to provide the Drupal 7 version shortly. As an added bonus, this module will add a title attribute to any matched links that don’t already have a title attribute.

This module is enabled on http://oit.ncsu.edu (hover over the “follow us on twitter” link on the right sidebar) as well as all the Hosted Drupal Websites at NC State.

Credit goes to Greg Kraus for his explanation and assistance, and you can check out his information about this accessibility issue here:



Future Insights Live – Day 3

Day Three began with a dilema: Mark Otto talking about frameworks or Luke Wroblewski talking about UI. Oh, the humanity. Both of these guys are innovators in their respective fields so it’s a nice dilema to have.
In the end I went with Mark, since I have more concerns with development right now and got really excited about Bootstrap in his Day Two presentation. This session was about the future of these tools and how we might expect to see them develop. Mark talked about a lot of his “competitors” to Bootstrap and the ways in which people will continue to bundle tools – CSS resets, SASS and LESS, javascript libraries, grids, etc. His advice is to not be afraid to build that kind of thing for you, or your office, because it can be really useful.

After the morning break I went to another session with Estelle Weyl, this one about improving mobile web performance. I’m not desperately concerned with that, but what’s true in mobile is true in the web as a whole. She did make some good cases for the limitations mobile devices have, not just in processing and memory, but with their battery power – something your phone uses when it loads a website. Plus this way I got to see Estelle’s demo of her “clown car” technique for managing image size with .svg files. Another thing I’ve got to try when I get home.

Lunch was a casual affair but I did wind up sitting at a good table with a variety of folks from around the country (and Canada) and another person in higher ed. More good conversation and a damn tasty lunch (all the food was really good at MGM Grand).

After lunch I hit Michael Jovel’s session on “Iterating Awesomeness” which sounds good but I probably should have gone to the Coffeescript session… Michael’s talk was good, but not really applicable for me. His demo was of Nordstrom’s use of the “LEAN” UX process (seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO2GKC29CsY) but I don’t think Nick and I will ever be deployed to the Brickyard for a week of fluid web development based on student interactions.

Last up is David Shea’s “Why the Web Doesn’t Need Another CSS Zen Garden.” Full disclosure: I’m writing this BEFORE I watch that, but seeing as I’ll be booking it for the airport once this is over I’ll go ahead and post this and assume for the purposes of this post that it will be a “very insightful and enjoyable session.”

Overall I’ve ben really impressed with the conference. Good group, good networking, good sessions and very well run. I would perhaps have liked more sessions that weren’t so completely devoted to mobile but I keep hearing that’s the way the web is going so it’s probably appropriate. The truth is, that’s really the way the web already IS, we’re just a little slow to catch on to that in the university system. So that’s eye-opening.
Anyway, I always feel like it’s a successful conference when I have a few things that I’m super-excited to go home and try, and I’ve definitely got that. I’ve also met a LOT of really cool people who are doing really cool things for the web, so the networking aspects were very worthwhile. Two thumbs up! Would come again!