One of the feature requests we see the most for the Analytics extension is Plugin support. This is something we want to bring to Launch in 2019 and we would love to get your input.
As we start researching how to best go about doing this we would love to hear your thoughts on what things will be most valuable. We understand that Plugins can still be used through custom code but we want to reduce your need for customization where possible and allow you to control this within the extension configuration. We would appreciate it if we could get some comments on how you are currently using Plugins and what controlling Plugins from Launch would look like for you.
crossVisitParticipation - AKA "campaign stacking". Launch interface config should include fields for:
getTimeParting - The config for this involves lookup tables for daylight savings time start/end dates (btw, the map objects end next year.. ).
getDaysSinceLastVisit - Out of the box, this plugin only accepts a value to specify cookie name. As a Launch interface config, it would be nice to see this extended to allow me to specify the following:
Cookie Combining Utility - I don't think there is really any interface config needed for this. I guess be able to specify the consolidated cookie names (s_sess and s_pers). That's a thing I had to do for a client one time, because reasons. Pretty edge case, though.
This is a tough one for me. Please note - These are my professional opinions and may vary from others'.
So many AA plugIns get added to configurations without real consideration of the value that they provide. As we move toward the measurement of our customer as a Person rather than a selection of disjointed devices, I feel that many AA plugins do more harm than good.
Many AA plugins are carried forward by edict from analysts who have simply gotten used to having a certain dimension or metric on their dashboards and would rather keep that data flowing in than consider how flawed or misleading it might be.
The next set of plugIns had their day in the sun but have largely been replaced by DTM and now Launch.
So what's left?
So, I probably missed a few. Sorry about that.
Beyond my opinion of the value that each plugin provides, there is the audience of existing clients using them. Perhaps do a survey of installations and see what's in use.
What's left is the general value of the s_doPlugins hook. I find it incredibly useful to have the ability to have one last go at a beacon before it goes across the wire. Today, I take full advantage of it in code. In the future, it would make sense to have this hook as a lifecycle event that is provided to Launch against which rules could be built. One little wrinkle in this plan is that the AA Send Beacon action would need to be aware of its event context and not actually send a beacon if triggered by the "doPlugins" event.
I totally agree with Stewart.
At the moment we are trying to get rid of Plugins (heavily inspired by the series from Jan Exner: https://webanalyticsfordevelopers.com/2018/07/31/with-launch-you-dont-need-doplugins-part-4/ ...etc.).
There is a couple of use cases where I still consider doPlugins pretty useful:
I have the exact same use cases as Lukas: Exit and Download link special cases and many global variables where some of them are based on plugins.
And as Launch will never be as good ad creating a diff between versions as git, we also store this code in our git repo. This also has the advantage of a good code editor without the lag of the browser editor but with some better syntax check.
I do disagree on one point, though: I'd say getPreviousValue is NOT replaced by data element persistence, unless you're VERY careful about timing- if I want to set the previousPageName, my PageName data element is going to return the CURRENT pageName, regardless of how long I told it to persist. I'd say this is still a needed plugin.
Add my votes to:
I agree with Lucas- merely being able to set some global variables on ALL beacons would help a lot- see . Have Adobe Analytics Global Variables fire on all AA rules . Access to a baseline s.linkTrackVars and s.linkTrackEvents would also help get things out of doplugins.
As for download/exit links, I definitely prefer using rules for those these days.
I saw something new in the core extension when creating a new dataElement (or maybe I missed it before) The data element type (Visitor behavior) offers a similar getNewRepat, or VisitNumber plugin function. I think this would be the best way to handle those plugins by integrating them as dataElement options to capture - no code alteration, just create the dataElement and assign it to your specific dimension in the Adobe Analytics Extension