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Detailed Description and Review

Absolute Log Analyzer Pro 5 out of 5 stars
Windows Software BitSrike Software

software screenshot 5 Star usereview.com Award [pc] Absolute Log Analyzer Pro is a sophisticated Windows based log processor designed to uncover valuable information about website traffic.

usereview.com: a service brand of AbleStable that publishes independent software reviews and provides expert analysis and advice to software authors. This software has received a 5 Star usereview.com award as a result of a comprehensive review. This review can also be viewed at www.usereview.com/reviews.html.

System Requirements
: Windows 98/ME/2000/XP

Special Offer: AbleStable users can enjoy an exclusive 10% saving on any version of Absolute Log Analyzer (see the bottom of this review).

Absolute Log Analyzer Features

Working with logs
Available log file formats W3C Extended, Apache/NCSA Combined, Microsoft IIS, Common Access Log Format, Custom
Automatic log file format detection Yes
Log compression support (import and recompression) ZIP (import only), GZip (.gz), Bzip2 (.bz2)
Command line support Yes
Work with local log files Yes
Remote import of the log files via FTP Yes
Work with gs.dll interface (HTTP interface for remote compression and retrieving of the log files on Microsoft IIS servers) Yes
Working with web site statistics
Easy for use user interface with attractive and easy to understand charts and tables Yes
Fast navigation through reports Yes
Several time intervals for trend evaluation Yes
Custom time interval Yes
Command line support Yes
Export several reports on single HTML page Yes
Export all reports linked with tree Yes
Export reports as XLS (MS Excel) files Yes
Customisable set of reports Yes
Maximum reporting time span Unlimited
Direct time selection mode Yes
Number of reports >170
Multidomain log support Full
Multiserver log support Yes
Instant filters (set your conditions and get data refined instantly) Yes
Advanced parsing filters Yes
Printing support Yes
Fast reverse DNS lookup for organizations report Yes
Technical details
Supported platforms All Win32 except Win95
Incremental statistics update Yes
Highly optimized database Yes
Maximum database size Win9x: 1Gb
More than 1000M Visits

Overview

Absolute Log Analyzer Pro is a sophisticated Windows based log processor designed to uncover valuable information about website traffic that may otherwise lay hidden in log files. The program is designed for website owners and web designers.

Website log files are generated by a web server, and contain a record of website activity. Every time a person visits a website, a log file is updated with the visitor's information by the web server. A single HTML page usually includes many graphics and other associated files, and therefore results in many entries in the log files which can be downloaded and used to generate useful statistics. This is commercially valuable data that provides information about who is visiting a website, how they got there, where they go, and what files they request. In turn this shows the webmaster how their site can be restructured and improved.

Web logs are usually saved in a 'raw' text form that is all but impossible to read without the aid of a log analyzer. The job of a web analyzer is to demystify these logs and present the information in meaningful ways.

There are essentially two kinds of log analyzer available. Those that carry out their tasks on the web server (usually script based applications), and those like Absolute Log Analyzer Pro that are exclusively client based and used on a local computer. Some commercial software products deliver both client-side and server-side log analysis solutions.

Absolute Log Analyzer provides a hundred and sixty reports that uncover the way visitors and files at a website are delivered, instant customisable filters, parsing filters, and remote log file import. The software recognizes more than a hundred search engines including the most significant like Google and Yahoo! This allows the webmaster to view information about search words and phrases which assists in their Meta Tag implementation and content editorial.

Absolute Log Analyzer's traffic statistics appear in charts and tables, and all reports are delivered via a simple explorer type 'report tree'. An original GetStats interface and support for FTP/HTTP protocol allows the webmaster to easily retrieve and analyse remote log files. Analyzer recognizes the majority of log file formats (Microsoft IIS, Apache combined, W3C Extended) automatically, and there is also the ability to specify a customised log file format for non standard log files. GZip and bzip2 compressed log files are recognised, processed, then recompressed to minimize drive space usage.

Absolute Log Analyzer imports data into its optimized proprietary database. This allows to incrementally update the statistics as new log files arrives and makes it simple to zoom in on a particular quarter, month, week, or day.

Installation

The program first opens in pre-activation mode. Registered users enter their registration key while connected to the Internet, and follow the simple procedure that is significantly helped by a generous informational window that explains the whole process. An option for off-line registration is also available as well as using the software for a trial period.

Program Launch

Subsequent launches of the program begin with a 'Did you know?' window which provides hints about the program usage. The user has the option of launching the program without this 'tips' window by unselecting a 'show tips at startup' box. The user has the option of creating a demo workspace to get to grips with the software, or may elect to define their own workspace.

Program Layout

The layout of Absolute Log Analyzer is clear, easy to use, and consists of the following 9 distinct areas:

1. Text menu
2. Icon menu toolbar
3. Drop down calendar for date selection
4. Time interval selector
5. Filter tool
6. Tree view of reports
7. Data view of selected report
8. Chart view of the selected report
9. Status bar

[ click the screenshot to enlarge ]

The program defines the area where the user browses and views the many reports generated by Absolute Log Analyzer Pro as the 'Workspace'. The workspace covers areas 6, 7, and 8.

Configuration

When Absolute Log Analyzer Pro launches without a defined workspace, the user can select 'New Workspace' from the 'File' menu. A sequence of windows will open that request the user enter various parameters which will allow the smooth transfer of log files. These settings can be changed at any time via a tabbed 'settings' window which includes entries under the headings: log files; HTTP; FTP; file types; filters; time zones; and export.

General Usage

Absolute Log Analyzer Pro sports a simple interface that is generally intuitive to use (except perhaps for the great filter tool which takes a little more time to get to grips with). The onscreen help that assists the user from the point they request an activation code for the program is impressive, and this good practice continues with the obvious efforts that have been made to produce a program that's quick to learn, yet powerful to use.

The workspace is well designed with its three main workspace areas and allows the user to quickly view visitor patterns, file reports, search terms and a lot more besides. By clicking the tree view the user uncovers copious amounts of information that lay otherwise hidden in web log files. The way this information is delivered in well produced graphs and charts is outstanding and sets Absolute Log Analyzer Pro apart from its competitors.

The ability to use filters and add new filters and change filter settings makes this program particularly powerful. The results are instant, and because this is a client-side log analyser, no Internet connection is required to carefully analyse the results.

Particular attention has been given to the design of the visual aids that provide an immediate impression of visitor requests. The colours are easy on the eye, yet clear to read. There are also small percentage quotes above graph bars, well produced icons throughout, and helpful visual aids like row highlighting. Website owners often need to present their logs to advertisers, partners, sponsors etc, and the attractive and helpful way log information is delivered makes communicating user patterns and file records a breeze.

The screenshots below show some of the many visual aids available when using Log Analyzer Pro.


We tested Absolute Log Analyzer Pro and found it decompressed and read large log files with ease. The process of opening the file was effortless. The only slight confusion there may be for the first time user is that they must define a 'workspace' in which their log files are placed rather than opening a log file directly. This is a relatively minor point and in no way undermines the general good performance of the program.

Conclusion

Absolute Log Analyzer Pro is a solid performer, and despite weaknesses in the documentation which are being addressed by the developer this program deserves our 5 Star Award. If you're looking for a log analyzer that delivers information in a clear and helpful way you'd be hard pushed to find a better solution.

Mike de Sousa, Director, AbleStable

PC icon Absolute Log Analyzer for Windows: www.bitstrike.com

(the link above opens a new browser window)

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