In This Chapter:
I can't tell you how many times I've told a project manager that it would be better to build an in-house solution, only to have a piece of technology dumped in my lap that I was forced to use. Let me describe a situation that all developers have found themselves in. Your team is just now starting on a big project. You're in a meeting, and the project manager tells you that your company has licensed some technology that will save development time. All you have to do is download the files (along with the documentation files) and get started. Oh, and by the way, here's a name and phone number of a contact for someone in the licensor's organization. You say, "Great! I'm saved from developing a piece of technology that would have been very difficult to create."
You eagerly open the zip file file and take a look. The documentation is two pages of unintelligible ramblings. The example programs not only attempt to show you how to use the API, but they have thrown in every programming trick known to man. And they're interwoven with each other like spaghetti. This makes it almost impossible to figure anything out.
You finally manage to get something working, but it doesn't really work right. You cry "Uncle" and reach for the phone number. After three days of phone tag, the guy you talk to says "Oh, yeah; that's a problem we've been meaning to fix. Here's a workaround." The rest of the project is a series of workarounds.
Where is this discussion headed? Well, there are ad banner management systems out there. Some of them work pretty well. But some don't. I licensed one for $1,000 (per domain), and it was not too hot. When I contacted tech support to alert them to a problem, they swore that it wasn't a problem for the first three rounds, and then they finally recreated it on their end. I couldn't get it to do what I wanted and threw up my hands. That's when I decided to create BannerBuddy, an ad banner management system that can easily be modified.
In this chapter, you'll learn about maintaining hit counter and click counter statistics. You'll also learn about creating an NT Service to send out statistical information to advertisers.
There's another advantage to BannerBuddy: It's free. Almost all of the systems out there are licensed on a per-domain basis. This gets expensive if you have a number of domains.