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Chapter 17. Working with Sessions > Using Cookies to Remember Preferences

Using Cookies to Remember Preferences

Cookies are simple variables that can be stored on a client machine. Basically, the server asks the browser to remember a variable with such-and-such a name and such-and-such a value. The browser returns the variable to the server as it requests successive pages from that same server. In other words, after the server sets the value on the browser, the browser continues to remind the server about it as the user moves from page to page. The net effect is that each site essentially has a small portion of the browser's memory in which to store little bits of information.

NOTE

Cookies first appeared in early versions of Netscape Navigator and have since been adopted by nearly all browser software. As of this writing, the original specification document for cookies is still available at www.netscape.com/newsref/std/cookie_spec.html. It is somewhat of an interesting read, if only because it underscores how important Netscape's early innovations have become to today's Web. No substantive changes have been made to the cookies since.



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