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Writing Apache Modules with Perl and C by Lincoln Stein, Doug MacEachern

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5.5. Storing State at the Server Side

Client-side storage of state information works well when each of the user sessions is independent of the others. But what if we wanted to combine the information from users, for example, to display a list of the top-scoring players in an Internet-wide tournament?

This is where server-side state storage comes in. When you store the user information at the server side rather than the client side, you have full access to the list of all users and to the record of what they've done and what they're doing. You can crunch, tally, tabulate, and cross-reference this information to your heart's content. Server-side storage also has the advantage of being more secure, since the information never leaves the server, and it is more resilient to failure. If the user's browser crashes in the midst of accepting or updating a cookie, that information isn't lost because it's stored safely on the server. The downside is scalability and performance. Each user session that you store on the server side consumes some amount of memory, disk, and CPU cycles. When you store state information on the server side, you have to be careful to conserve these resources, for example, by deleting user sessions that are no longer in use.

We will consider two types of server-side techniques in this section: storing the information transiently in main memory and storing it in a SQL database.

5.5.1. Storing State Information in Main Memory

Because Apache server processes are ...

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