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Re: Shopping baskets (was: Session tracking)

From: Dave Kristol <dmk@allegra.att.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 95 10:19:13 EDT
Message-Id: <9504251421.AA01797@www10.w3.org>
To: burchard@horizon.math.utah.edu
Cc: www-talk@www10.w3.org
Paul Burchard <burchard@horizon.math.utah.edu> said:
  > Marc Andreessen <marca@netscape.com> writes:
  > > The cookie mechanism makes it trivially
  > > easy for the server to generate the page that shows you
  > > everything that's in your shopping basket (cardboard
  > > box) and gives you all these functions at any time
  > What puzzles me is -- why is the server involved in this at all?   
  > Why are we developing a complex stateful protocol to handle what  
  > amounts to the customer's private (until the final purchase decision  
  > is made) musings?
One reason for involving the server, and not the client, is that only
the server knows the nature and content of the information it's sending
out.  Otherwise, each time a vendor discovers another interesting use
of WWW, it will either have to bend the application to fit existing
clients (still possibly true, I guess), or start shipping a custom,
special-purpose client.

Suppose I'm interested in the use of a Session-ID as a way to simplify
a magazine subscription service.  The Session-ID constitutes (no
surprise) a way to track a "session", something you can't do easily
with a stateless protocol.  In my case, it can track where you are in
the service hierarchy and that you've authenticated yourself.  It can
also carry expiration information.  I wouldn't want to have to wait
until all the client vendors had picked up the set of magazine
subscription extensions (along with the shopping basket extensions)
before I could offer such a service.
  > It's only the lack of serious client-side capabilities in today's  
  > Web that's keeping you from thinking about this as the client-side  
  > issue it naturally is.  Shouldn't we be devoting the effort  
  > currently going into server-side kludges (I've done my share of  
  > this) to improving the client capabilities?  From what I hear, Billy  
  > G. understands and fully intends to exploit this weakness of the  
  > Web...
It seems to me we have the choice of creating either client-side or
server-side kludges.  Putting the kludges in the server makes the
software distribution problem simpler and makes it easier to start up
new services.  All it takes is a little cooperation from a client.
Hence my earlier proposal for a very simple Session-ID mechanism, and
my general support for simple, general mechanisms in the protocol.

Dave Kristol
Received on Tuesday, 25 April 1995 11:48:42 UTC

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