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Why the WebDruid?

Damned, it's the history of an hazardous meet...see below if you want to know more ;-)

June 2003

I am Fabien CHEVALIER, we're at the beginning of June 2003. I'm studying in an 'engineering school' (100% French concept - I don't think it has any equivalent anywhere in the world).
Here in France you are engineer because of your diploma, not because of your work, or your membership to any king of 'engineering order'.
By the way...i digress!
I'm at this time a second year student (International equivalent ~ something as one year before graduation). I have to take a trainee course somewhere. It's my duty to find a company to work in for the next two months. But we student don't interest companies - AT ALL! It's damned hard to find something to do... and overall i want something interesting!

Mid - June 2003

A miracle has happened. Juliana Multimedia, a web agency looks for a student to enhance its free software log analysis tool. And yes, i enjoy working with free software... you work with people with extraordinary technical skills, and have the opportunity to learn each time new concepts, as there is no limit in the understanding of the sofware you can have. Only your brain (or your stomach :-)) can prevent you from understanding 'a bit more' how it works. I've myself discovered free software & linux something around year 2K. Since 2001 i depend solely on free software for my day to day computer use.
It has been a great occasion to discover the various sides of UNIX system programming, as well as UNIX typical services.
But i digress again!
So i answer the offer, go to meet the people, and...yes! I'm the right man. They will take me to try to enhance 'The Webalizer' (It's the WebDruid little brother - see http://www.webalizer.org).

June 2003 - August 2003

So i'm working on the webalizer, trying to improve it and asked some people what they would like for it. I look also around a bit to see what other people have done ( to be accurate i even did that before to accept to work on the webalizer - i just like to see how it looks like before to engage with some stuff).
From this work came two features of what would become the WebDruid:

  • path graphs & users flow
  • reworked search engine support

In the same time it seems that a lot of people use the webalizer not as a web server analysis tool, but for web site analysis.
The enhancements i've done don't fit well with the Webalizer's author's view. But people seem interested in the new features i've done.
I take the decision to 'fork' from the webalizer, and to build something to analyse the website, and not the web server. I will learn later this is called 'Web Mining'.

September 2003 - January 2004

I'm back to school, but working also for a company to rebuild a computer network from scratch.
It's time for me to learn a bit more about Samba 3, LDAP, pam and all what is required to build a mixed //GNU Linux//Win2K server//Win XP Pro// network up and running.
Grrr...I don't have time to work on this new project at all (except 3 days around november 11th, where i write the first pieces of the XML support).

February 2004

I've spent a few days working on the WebDruid. Implemented multiple log files support, preparing the first tarball, cleaning up things a bit, fixing a last minute bug. And here is the first public release...