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Web History Viewer

Download the latest version. You'll need your school's tech lead to install this software.


To learn more about Web History Viewer, please see our MLTI Minute, Episode 284: Web History Viewer

Web History Viewer - September 24, 2012

This distribution is intended for the Maine Learning Technology Initiative (MLTI) devices using the 2012 MLTI image. The 2012 MLTI image has, as a default, the Parental Controls feature enabled. As such, all non-administrative users (teacher, parent, student) web activity is logged by default. The Parental Controls feature was enabled primarily to allow non-administrative users the capacity to manage printers. The logging aspects are unavoidable. However, many schools have wanted a way to view student web activity in certain instances. This distribution is intended to assist with this desire. It will make available the logged activity from Parental Controls of the student login account to be visible in a simple and easy interface for other non-administrative users (ie parent or teacher). This is an optional installation.

General Information

Web History Viewer allows non-admin users to view a history of all web activity in the student account logged by Parental Controls. Parental Controls should log web activity of the student user account regardless of the browser or software tool used to access the web. This includes programs like NoteShare that have built-in web browsing capabilities, but are not typically considered a web browser like Safari, Firefox, or OmniWeb. The Web History Viewer application relies on a launchd script that activates at boot and every 15 minutes thereafter. This script exports the Parental Controls web log for the student account into a read-only text file. You can find this file in the Resources folder of the distribution. This file is auto-imported by Web History Viewer when the application is launched. Therefore, web activity that has occurred in the last 15 minutes may not be displayed in the application. Since the application imports the log dumps at launch, the data presented is not live. To see the latest data, quit and relaunch the program. To be assured that you are viewing all web activity, reboot the device first.

What’s New?

Version 2.3 changes how archiving of history data is done. Previous methods may have caused instances where the operating system would not properly record new history data in the Parental Controls logs. Version 2.3 exports data from the Parental Control sqlite database based on dates. Each time it does so, it records the date stamp from the latest record in the sqlite data base in the file last that you’ll find in the Resources folder. When the export script runs (“getwebhistory”), instead of exporting the entire Parental Controls sqlite database, it only exports those records that are newer than the date stamp saved in last.

In addition, the scripts will compare the last date stamp to the date stamp saved in “lastarchive” to see if the difference is greater than 1 week. If the difference is greater than 1 week, then thescripts will archive the webhistorydump.txt file by renaming it by adding a date and time stamp to the file name. These may be imported into the Web History Viewer application at any time. A new webhistorydump.txt file will be generated that includes a single entry to this web page.

In addition, a line in the script to guarantee that the permissions on the last, lastarchive, and all webhistorydump.txt files are such that non-admin users can not change or delete them has been added.

The Web History Viewer Installer package will install the base software and scripts for Web History Viewer. This includes the launchd item that will activate the log exports every 15 minutes, the software to view the logs, and the actual script that does the export. This version displays the student logs to any user. All log data for all other non- admin accounts (teacher, parent) remains in place in the Parental Controls interface, and may be viewed with an administrative password through the System Preferences > Parental Controls preference pane.


To learn more about Web History Viewer, please see our MLTI Minute, Episode 284: Web History Viewer


Technical Support

The application has basic help screens built-in. For technical support on this application, please call the Department of Education, Maine Learning Technology Initiative office for help. The regular MLTI Help Desk will be unable to assist with this custom solution.

Version History

Added in 2.3, June 2012

  • Exports most recent history only rather than all history
  • Archives when last history record is more than 1 week after the previous archive rather than specifically on Wednesdays.
  • Added record with a pointer back to so that the webhistorydump.txt file would never be empty.

Unified 2.2 Installer, June 2011

  • Combined the full installer plus updaters 1 and 2 into a single package installer.
  • No functional changes.
  • Included Updaters for schools that want to erase teacher or teacher and parent logs. This replaces the S, ST, and STP installers.

Added in 2.2 (Updater 002)

  • Repairs a bug to repair incorrect timestamps during Standard Daylight Time. Previously all times were calculated against Daylight Savings Time.

Added in v2.1 (included from Updater 001)

  • Repairs a bug that caused the history log to contain duplicate records
  • Adds an automatic weekly archiving feature
  • Adds the capacity to import archived history data sets
  • Adds the capacity to export history data sets into other useable formats