Application usage statistics and targeted user surveys

Albert Astals Cid aacid at
Mon May 1 22:49:30 BST 2017

El diumenge, 23 d’abril de 2017, a les 12:52:57 CEST, Volker Krause va 
> Hi,
> we have talked about the above topics a couple of times in the past, from
> what I remember usually agreeing it would be nice to have some more
> statistical information about our users, so we know what our applications
> are used for, and to measure impact of changes. Similarly, it would be nice
> to be able to actually ask our users questions without statistical bias by
> using out-of-band channels like blogs or social media. This can be
> obviously addressed by adding this into application code, but that raises
> some valid privacy concerns.
> Wanting this for GammaRay I attempted to implement a generic framework for
> this, with the goal to make this fully transparent, and give the user full
> control over what data is shared, and how often they want to participate in
> surveys, ie. make this solid enough on the privacy side that even I would
> enable it myself. You'll find the code in Git (kde:kuserfeedback).

I needed the attached patch for it to build properly on my system.


> Feature-wise it so far contains:
> - a set of built-in data sources (app version, Qt version, platform,
> application usage time, screen setup, etc) that applications can choose to
> enable
> - generic data sources for tracking the time ratio a Q_PROPERTY has a
> specific value, allowing to track e.g. which application view is used how
> much - the ability to add custom/application-specific data sources
> - reference widgets for customizing what data you want to share, and showing
> exactly what that means, in human readable translated text and if you
> insists also all the way down to the raw JSON sent to the server.
> - survey targeting using simple C++/JS-like expressions that can access all
> the data sources (ie. you can target e.g. only users with high DPI multi-
> screen setups)
> - configurable encouragement of users to contribute (ie. after X starts
> and/or Y hours of usage, repeated after Z months, suggest the user to
> participate if they aren't already doing so).
> - a management and analytic tool that allows you to manage products and
> survey campaigns, and view recorded data using configurable aggregations
> - the entire thing works without unique user ids. Fingerprinting can still
> be an issue on too small user sets and/or when using too much detail in the
> data. - by default all of this is opt-in of course, although technically
> the API doesn't prevent applications to change this
> - it can deal with multiple products, each product can have different data
> sources and survey campaigns
> Technically, this consists of the following parts:
> - a library that goes into the target application, backward compatible all
> the way to Qt4.8/MSVC2010 (needed for my GammaRay use-case), depending only
> on QtGui
> - a library with the reference widgets, also with extended backward
> compatibility
> - the server, written in PHP5 and supporting sqlite/mysql/postgresql. Not
> the most fun technology, but that stuff is available almost anywhere, and
> easy to deploy and maintain
> - the management tool, recent Qt5/recent C++, using QtCharts for the data
> analysis
> - a command line tool for data import/export, useful for eg. automated
> backups
> All of this is LGPLv2+ licensed.
> Feedback obviously very welcome, in particular around privacy concerns, or
> reasons that would make you enable/disable such a feature.
> Regards,
> Volker

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