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I'm building a web app to be launched later this year. I wish implement a warehousing solution (or similar) to capture data representing user behavior and see which parts of the site are engaging users more etc.

I've used warehousing solutions before at previous jobs. I gather from a look around the web that most prepackaged solutions are difficult to implement or prohibitively expensive (I could be wrong on this, please feel free to challenge this point).

As I have little or no budget, I'm contemplating building my own solution within the back-end of the site I'm building. I would develop my own class to represent the data I need to add to tables I define. I think I can cover all the necessary following steps fairly easily such as table joins and periodic data processing using cron jobs etc.

My question therefore is - considering my non-existent budget, but very preciously scarce resource of time, is this a sensible way forward to build a data capture/report system myself? OR are there any products/methods I haven't considered that would be more appropriate given my relatively low level of resource & time?

[If anyone's had any experience of similar -please feel free to comment, I would be interested to hear]

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Related: stackoverflow.com/questions/645729/… –  nathangiesbrecht Jun 19 '13 at 16:54

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

My experience with data warehousing for site analytics is that it is very expensive. You are either going to spend a lot of money using a pre-packaged solution, or you are going to spend money (in the form of time or hiring) building one yourself.

If you are just starting out, forego the expense of custom analytics. Use free off the shelf products. Most websites these days make do with Google Analytics. You can also get a lot of mileage out of the raw log files. Especially if you are familiar with grep, sort, uniq, and other Unix command line tools.

I've worked with big websites that use data warehousing for analytics. None of them started out with a data warehouse solution. They all implemented it once they could afford it (and the insights they could get from it would make them more money than the amount spent.)

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