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Chapter 13. Remember with Cookies > What Are Cookies and How Are They Used?

What Are Cookies and How Are They Used?

Think of cookies as llttle lumps of data stored on the viewer’s hard drive. Cookies are stored as data files in ASCII format, except on Macintosh, where you have a MagicCookie format. The text format precludes viruses being passed through them, and yet cookies provide a convenient and useful way of passing information about the user through the browser.

Cookies are used in a variety of ways. Usually, the designer wants the web page viewer to feel welcomed and focused on those key elements of personal interest. By examining the information on a cookie, the page can respond with the viewer’s name and her personal favorites. For example, when I open my web portal page that I use for searches and news, I am greeted with “Welcome Bill!” Then the page shows all of the stocks, news stories, and other interests that I have. The way the page knows who I am is by reading my cookie file.


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