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Sessions and Cookies

The HTTP protocol is designed to be stateless. Each request is intended to be independent of every other request. As the Web has come to be used as the foundation for complex applications (for commerce and other areas), cookies and other technologies have been developed to maintain persistent application state on top of the stateless protocol.

Why Sessions Are Important

As originally conceived, the Web was a very large collection of documents. Browsers would request a document, the user would work with it for a while, and then the user would request another document. In this environment, a stateless protocol makes sense. With many browsers and few servers, it is appropriate to make the server stateless so that it uses few resources per request. Today, however, almost any interesting Web-based application, particularly an Internet commerce application, requires a whole series of actions by the user and the server, working through a number of different Web pages. Therefore, it is important to treat such a series of actions as a single session of work.


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