O'Reilly logo

Java Servlet Programming by Jason Hunter

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 7. Session Tracking

HTTP is a stateless protocol: it provides no way for a server to recognize that a sequence of requests are all from the same client. Privacy advocates may consider this a feature, but it causes problems because many web applications aren’t stateless. The shopping cart application is a classic example—a client can put items in his virtual cart, accumulating them until he checks out several page requests later. Other examples include sites that offer stock brokerage services or interactive data mining.

The HTTP state problem can best be understood if you imagine an online chat forum where you are the guest of honor. Picture dozens of chat users, all conversing with you at the same time. They are asking you questions, responding to your questions, and generally making you wish you had taken that typing course back in high school. Now imagine that when each participant writes to you, the chat forum doesn’t tell you who’s speaking! All you see is a bunch of questions and statements mixed in with each other. In this kind of forum, the best you can do is hold simple conversations, perhaps answering direct questions. If you try to do anything more, such as ask someone a question in return, you won’t necessarily know when the answer comes back. This is exactly the HTTP state problem. The HTTP server sees only a series of requests—it needs extra help to know exactly who’s making a request.[31]

The solution, as you may have already guessed, is for a client to introduce ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required