Compatibility of the Webtrends SmartSource Data Collector, Webtrends Analytics and the Webtrends JavaScript Tag


Webtrends Analytics 8.x
Webtrends Analytics 9.x


Logs created by any version of the SDC can be analyzed in Webtrends. Fundamentally, the SDC has not changed over the years. The major changes within the SDC have been the first party cookie technology and the addition of SDC generated query parameters that provide for additional tracking capabilities within Webtrends. The lack of the new technologies and parameters does not mean the generated log files cannot be analyzed in our software. Further, log data created using the latest version of the SDC and JavaScript tag can be analyzed by much older versions of Webtrends. The data simply wouldn’t be as complete as when analyzed by the most recent version as older versions cannot utilize some of the new data that is gathered by the current SDC and tag.

This same cross-compatibility can be applied to the JavaScript tag as well. The newest Tag Builder tag will work with the SDC going back to at least v6.x. A very large portion of what the newest tag can do would be crippled, but it would still work. There are, of course, other considerations here. For instance, the newest/newer tag will make a call to wtid.js, and older versions of the SDC would not know what to do with this request. The result would be an invalid call, and this can cause problems with some browsers. Mostly what we have found is that some versions of Firefox will wait until the request times out before loading the rest of the page. This means a much slower page load on the web site.

Similarly, old versions of the tag will work with the newest version of the SDC. Capabilities of the new SDC would not be utilized by older versions of the tag, but the hits will still be accepted and recorded.

A good rule of thumb with respects to compatibility is that if neither the SDC nor the JavaScript tag is older than v7.0, the data will get logged. The accuracy of the data is really what is at question; mostly having to do with visit sessions and visitor numbers. If the first party cookie is not set up properly these numbers may only be within 10% to 15% of accurate. Further, older versions of the SDC are not capable of properly recording the hits for cross-domain tracking, which may further reduce the accuracy of the collected data.

The lesson here is to make sure both the SDC and the JavaScript tag are upgraded to the most recent versions. This way there is no question about compatibility or accuracy.