Mint: Green Means Go
After months of beta testing, weeks of planning, and days of agonizing over the miscellaneous details, Mint is finally available! (Yes, yes, I realize I am a little late for my own party.) For those of you who don’t know, Mint is ShortStat reborn. Mint gives you a short but sweet look at the how, what, where, and when of your site traffic. It keeps both current and historical data about each visit and presents it in a neatly organized fashion.
With this announcement I was originally going to highlight a handful of Mint’s features but the official website and enthusiastic beta testers seem to have that thoroughly covered. So instead I’m going to address a few of the questions I expect to be hearing quite often post-launch.
But first I want to thank all of the beta-testers for their valuable insight and suggestions, their patience, time and tolerance, as well as for volunteering to stick their necks out for Mint and share their thoughts and favorite features on their own personal sites in the days leading up to the launch.
And now without further ado…
Why isn’t Mint Free?
I loved working on ShortStat and it was amazing seeing thousands of people adopt something I created but there was no way to keep up with the dozens of daily feature and support requests while also working a full-time job. It was taking time away from my pursuit of other interests—both on- and off-line. By charging for Mint I can afford to give each support request the time necessary to find a resolution and really focus on refining existing features and adding new ones—while still making time for friends, family, and my other offerings like IFR and CSS-SSC.
Why does Mint use a database?
I think the reason this question comes up a lot is that ShortStat’s database continues to grow and grow with each hit but that’s not a problem with Mint’s new rolling database. Also, referrer logs can only tell you so much and can require intensive text processing to present their data in any meaningful way. SQL is made for looking at large amounts of data from many different angles.
One last bit of hype
I know Stan has already covered this with his post Pepper Makes Mint Better but one of the things that I’m most excited about is the Pepper API and seeing what others do with it. (The API documentation is non-existent at this point and will probably remain so until it moves from the “sketch” stage to “inked.” ) For the sake of simplicity Mint doesn’t track Country or Language information out of the box but with the Pepper API, myself or any another developer could easily add a new feature and make it available to others as a Pepper. And Pepper doesn’t have to be limited to just adding new panes to the Mint display page, the API could be used to create a gateway between new Dashboard and Konfabulator widgets, embedded Flash widgets, RSS feeds, and even other sites that use Mint.