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Polly Wants a Cookie

The HTTP protocol is one that is called stateless when computing people describe it. Stateless means that each transaction is treated separately, without any knowledge of any other transaction. Without additional help, a Web server doesn't know that you have made any previous requests of it, even if the request is on the same “page” as far as the user is concerned.

This is a good thing because it means that requests to Web servers don't need to arrive in a specific order for the page to display properly. It is a bad thing if you are trying to fill a “shopping cart” on behalf of a user. Web servers need some method of recognizing that the request being processed is related to a series of requests that result in a complete transaction (from the user's point of view).


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