Usually I don’t post any information about my Vault apps until it’s completed. But this time I want to try something different. I’m going to post information on the app as it is being developed. That way people can provide early feedback and suggestions. If this format works out well I may use it for other projects in the future.
In this edition, I’ll just talk about the concept for the app. I haven’t started coding yet.
Coming Up with the App
I get my app ideas from many places. Sometimes it's from my own use of the product. Sometimes people make suggestions to me. Sometimes I just want to show off a cool API feature. Usually it comes from hearing about people’s usage of the product.
For example, AU. It’s hard to go to that event and not come away with a bunch of ideas on what can be improved. In addition to in-person events, there are plenty of online sources to go for ideas. There are discussion groups, beta forums, and the Idea Exchange.
This time around, I’m going to write an app to help manage the various log files that Vault spits out. Like most of my apps, this one has been in my head for a while. It’s a theme that keeps coming up when talking to customers, and I don’t think there are any Vault-specific solutions out there yet. In fact, the problem got worse in Vault 2014 with the AVFS, which has it’s own separate log file. This kind of thing that is perfect grounds for a custom app.
My Vision For App
I’m not big into problem statements, at least not when it comes to apps. I usuall just have an idea in my head of how it should work, and I try to make that vision a reality. Here is my vision for this app...
- Consolidation - Bring all the Vault logs together in one place. The 3 main ones I will be focusing on are the ADMS logs, the AVFS logs and the IIS logs. The ADMS Console lets you view some of these logs, but it’s just a text reader. And you have to read them one at a time. I’m thinking of something more like a single database table that can store and retrieve years’ worth of Vault logs in one place.
- Deeper Information - If you mine the log files right, you can find out things like how user 863 downloaded file 16734 yesterday afternoon. That’s probably not much use to you unless you are the Rain Man. To decode those numbers, you need an app that uses the Vault API. So my app will be able to show that user Bob looked at file ProjectX.dwg.
- Push Operations - A couple of people requested a way to get alerts. So this app may be able to help out with that. It could possible do things like, send out weekly reports, or send out immediate alerts when critical errors pop up.
“Don’t re-invent the wheel,” is something engineers like to say. Personally, I think it’s fun to re-invent the wheel. But in this case, I’m going to follow the popular advice. Splunk is a tool that I’ve seen in action and have been very impressed with. And Splunk has an API. So I’m sold at this point. At least sold enough to investigate further.
That’s all the blogging I'm goint to do for now. In my next Developer Diary, I’ll be installing Splunk, hooking it to Vault and seeing what I can do with their API. So keep a look out for that article. It will be the most fun you can have without a catapult and a truckload of fruit pies.