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FAQ for the Hit Counter (DB) sample:


How can I log visitor details like IP address and visited paths?

The type of data that you're asking about is usually not stored by this type of script. If you take a look at the way the database for this sample is configured, you'll see that we simply count requests for each unique page and that we don't actually store any individual user data.

While it is certainly possible to log details such as the client computer's IP address and the paths that a user visits to a database, you'll find that your database will get quite large very quickly. Unless you have a very good reason to implement this level of detail in your logging, it's almost always overkill.

Think for a few minutes why you're trying to capture this data. If you don't need to have real-time access to the data, the easiest alternative is to utilize your Web-server's log files. Things like IP address and requested URLs are already logged there by default. You'll need to check the documentaion for your server or with your hosting facility, but almost all of them provide some level of access to your Web site's log files.

If you find that you really do require access to this data from your application, try to keep the amount of data that you actually log to a minimum. For example, a visitor's IP address and user agent (aka. browser software and version) is usually static for the life of their session. Data of that sort can simply be captured once per session (via something like Session_OnStart) instead of once per page request. If you need help figuring out what client data to store, you may find our Server Variables sample useful.

Remember that data is only as good as the conclusions you can draw from it and the actions you take based on those conclusions. Storing mountains and mountains of information just to say that you have it doesn't do anyone any good.

There's a reference to adovbs.inc in the code. What is it, why doesn't it work without it, and where can I get it?

When writing database related code in ASP, you're really using ADO (ActiveX Data Objects) which is Microsoft's set of components which provide programmatic database access. ADO defines a lot of different constants which you can use to make code more readable and easier to follow and debug. In order to use these constants in VBScript you need to define them. This is where adovbs.inc comes in.

The adovbs.inc file contains a list of the ADO constants and their numerical equivilents and when included in your ASP code, it defines them as constants so you have access to them in your code. There are a lot of these constants and most of our code is relatively simple database code so it only uses a few of them, but some you might recognize are adOpenStatic, adLockReadOnly, adCmdText, etc...

The reason the code doesn't work when you forget to include the file is that the constants the code uses aren't defined. The result is that incorrect values get passed to ADO and it doesn't know what to do with them.

In terms of getting a copy, you probably already have one! Do a search on your system for adovbs.inc and you'll almost certainly find the copy that was installed with ADO. If you can't find one you can get a copy of the one I'm currently using for the samples from here.

For more information about adovbs.inc you might want to read our article What is Adovbs.inc and Why Do I Need It?

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