Jetpack Stats Shortcut

Jetpack Stats Shortcut

After my favorite web stats software was sunsetted by its developer, I knew it was only a matter of time before I moved on to something newer. I did that late last year when I uninstalled Mint from my Media Temple server and installed Jetpack on Initial Charge. This site now makes use of Jetpack’s built-in stats feature that’s powered by WordPress.com.

I’ve been pretty happy with it so far. The feature is lightweight — adding just over 2.5KB to my webpages — and offers most of what I would want in this type of software while still remaining respectful to site visitors. I wouldn’t mind getting a bit more information about the operating systems, web browsers, and screen resolutions used by my readers — for web design purposes — but I’d rather err on the side of collecting less than collecting more.

There was one additional thing that was missing in the transition from Mint to Jetpack — a quick shortcut to my stats from my iPhone home screen. For years I had an icon on my home screen that would load directly into my Mint installation’s interface so I can peruse my stats without having to launch my browser and type in the URL or open a bookmark. Jetpack doesn’t really have anything like that.

The WordPress app has a pretty nice interface for viewing Jetpack and WordPress.com stats, though. But there wasn’t anything immediately obvious within the app — such as a URL scheme — that I could use to launch directly into that interface. It had to exist, though. You see, the WordPress app includes a Today View widget that can display the daily stats for a single site. And when you tap on the site name, it launches the WordPress app into a modal view of that site’s stats — something that, from what I can tell, is only surfaced when you open the app from the widget.

I was curious if the app was using a URL scheme for that and decided to do some investigating in the app’s source code, which is freely available to browse on Github — open source is so great. After a bit of digging, I found the code that was used for this and to my surprise, it does use a URL scheme:

wordpress://viewstats?siteId=

The Today View widget uses that URL scheme along with the chosen site’s site ID to launch that slick modal stats view. The trick from here is finding your site’s site ID, which you can then plug into the end of the URL and use for all sorts of purposes, such as building an iOS shortcut. But how do I find my site ID, you might ask? By visiting your site within a web browser (when logged out of WordPress or from within an incognito/private browsing window) and using “View Source” on your homepage.

The stats code is automatically added to your footer and should be listed like so:

Finding Your Site ID Using View Source

This is the source for Initial Charge’s homepage and you can see my site ID listed after blog: within the code. So in the example of my site, to launch directly into my stats within the WordPress app I use the following within a shortcut:

wordpress://viewstats?siteId=127845174

Of course, you won’t see anything if you try and open that URL scheme on your device, since it is setup to display my site’s stats, you’d need to be logged in to my WordPress.com account for it to work. But after finding your site ID and logging in to the associated WordPress.com account — that you used to setup Jetpack — you’ll be able to launch directly into the WordPress app to see your site’s stats.

The neat thing about this little URL scheme, though, is that it doesn’t just work for WordPress sites that run the Jetpack plugin for stats. It can also be used by any WordPress.com site — since they both use the same stats system and application for viewing.

To put this all together into something a bit more useful, I’ve put together a shortcut that asks for your site ID when importing and can be used to launch directly into your site’s stats within the WordPress app. You can download the .shortcut file, or for you thrill seekers out there, you can download the shortcut from iCloud.

Once you have it all setup, you can launch it from the Shortcuts app itself, from the app’s Today View widget, or by just about any other means. I have mine added to my home screen using this custom icon, so I have quick access to it on my iPhone and iPad — just like I had with Mint.

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My Day One Setup

Day One on iPhone

Around this time each year, I find myself wanting to document my life a bit more. It’s almost certainly because there are more vacations, family get-togethers, and various activities during the Summer months. This desire to document usually results in an uptick in photographs, but over the past couple of years it has also meant an increase in Day One usage.

Day One is an application that I’ve been aware of for, what seems like, forever, but I’ve only really started using more seriously over the past month or so. Previously, it was something I would dip my toes into briefly and then eventually find myself ignoring. But now that we’re starting into the Summer months and I have a baby on the way, I’d like to start building a daily habit around journaling.

There are a couple of key benefits to journaling that I’m looking to add to my life. One is to have an appreciation for the things that I’m doing. I think we all tend to dwell on our mistakes, failures, and disappointments, but I want to start journaling daily so I can document and celebrate the successes in my work and everyday life. I’m hoping this will help remind me regularly, through the use of Day One’s “On This Day” feature, of the good things in life. Which I expect will improve my overall mood.

The second is just the simple act of documenting different aspects of my life. Time feels like it’s flying by at a faster and faster pace as the years go by. And the time I’m going to have with my child in their younger years is going to feel like a blip when I look back on it in 30–40 years. I don’t want to forget all of the little things that take place. The small moments that could be taken for granted — the laughs, the cries, the funny faces, and more. I don’t want to forget any of it.

So I’ve started building the habit now. I have a reoccurring to do item in Things with a list of tasks that I do each night before I fall asleep. It’s mostly made up of mundane tasks like brushing my teeth, filling up my water bottle, laying out my clothes, and reviewing my to do list for the following day. But the most important item on that list is journaling.

It started as just an open ended item — launch Day One and start writing. I quickly realized that this was a bit too loose and in order to help increase the number of days I actually journaled, I should structure it a bit more. Now, I have a Shortcut that I use each day that asks me some stock questions, collects data from HealthKit and combines it all into a new journal entry for me.

If you’re interested, you can download the Daily Journal .shortcut file from here or use the iCloud link for all of you thrill seekers on iOS 13. You can use it to build off of for your own daily journaling shortcut or run it mostly as is. I say “mostly” because you’ll likely need to do some adjustments to the Health-related actions. I set it up for my specific setup — like grabbing some activity data only from my Apple Watch. In my experience, Shortcuts isn’t too graceful when it isn’t able to grab the expected data. So if the Shortcut crashes when you run it, take a look at those actions and edit as necessary.

But over the past week or so, I’ve upgraded my Day One setup a bit more. I started using the newly introduced Instagram feature to automatically import all of the photos that I share on Instagram and add them as entries into their own journal. This is such an excellent addition to the app because it allows me to share photos to a single location and have them automatically syndicated to all the places I want them — Twitter, Day One, and Instagram.

As I publish more photos on Instagram, I’m sure I’ll grow a larger appreciation for this feature. And that’s saying a lot because I already think it’s great.

In addition to pulling Instagram photos into Day One, I’ve also setup a number of IFTTT applets that save more of my online activity into Day One. I created a few Day One journals to house these entries — “Initial Charge”, “Twitter”, and “Archive”.

The “Initial Charge” journal is powered by an IFTTT applet that triggers each time there is a new tweet published to @initialcharge. Since that account is only used for sharing links to entries that I publish, it is essentially documenting every time I write for the site. And the benefit of saving these into Day One is that they can be surfaced for me automatically with Day One’s “On This Day” feature.

The “Twitter” journal is powered by an IFTTT applet that triggers each time I tweet from my personal @mdrockwell account. The Day One entry contains the text of the tweet and a link to the original on Twitter’s site. For now it only triggers for standard tweets and replies, but I might adjust it in the future to include retweets as well. Again, this will really pay off in a year when I start to see these entries appear in “On This Day”, but there is also a certain amount of peace of mind that comes from knowing I have a backup of all my tweets going forward.

Day One Archive Journal

The last journal, titled “Archive”, is a bit of a catch-all that houses all of the more passive online activity that I take part in. There are four IFTTT applets that create entries in that journal and they trigger when I “like” an item from their respective service:

I’m not sure if these will have as much value as the other automated journal entries, which is why I don’t actually have this journal setup to display in “On This Day”. But I’m hoping that I’ll find it useful in the future. For example, if I’m looking for something I saw online, but can’t remember where I discovered it. As long as I’ve liked the item, I can search for it in Day One to find a again.

All of this Day One automation is a bit of an experiment at this point, though. I suspect it will be something that adds value when items start showing up in “On This Day”, but the jury is still out on that. In the meantime, though, these applets are igniting interest in an application that I want to build habits around. And hopefully that will result in ingraining this journaling activity into my daily life in such a way that it becomes automatic. I eventually won’t need to be reminded to journal, it’s just something that I’ll do — that’s the goal anyway. Because memories fade over time and there are some things that you just never want to forget.

Notes On WWDC


—June 8, 2019

Tech Travel Kit


—June 4, 2019

Expecting


—May 3, 2019

Prism for iOS


—April 11, 2019

In-App Opt Out


—March 17, 2019

macOS Menu Bar Apps


—January 21, 2019

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