Cookies

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Mabden, May 7, 2004.

  1. Mabden

    Mabden Guest

    OK, let me just say upfront that this is not a troll posting. Or a Jerry
    Seinfeld monolog (Whiney Je^H^HNew York accent: "What's up with internet
    cookies?! They're not tasty... they don't crumble... Who's making cookies
    you can't EAT?! What's up with THAT!??")

    So, what is the current consensus on writing cookies to people's machines?

    For a while everyone was cookie happy (Cosmo Kramer voice: "Cookies!
    Cookies! Yo Yo Ma!"). i.e. "You cannot use this site unless you have cookies
    enabled."

    Then cookies were evil (Jerry's Newman voice: "Cookies...!"). "The people
    don't want The Man tracking them, Man."

    What's the current trend? Do you use cookies on your site? Do you ask users
    first? How long do you "enable" them for? Should I use them to track trivial
    things, like the session ID to find repeat visitors, or the last time you
    were here ("Welcome back! You've been gone 14 days and 12 minutes!") Or is
    that creepy?

    I have a site that doesn't require cookies until you customize the page via
    my options link. You can set the color and font of the page, etc. at which
    point I put a cookie on your machine that is good for about 16 months (500
    days) at which point I guess your options will disappear (I've never
    actually seen it happen, as I visit the site myself before that time).

    I guess it's like the whole JavaScript question - i.e. What if the user has
    JS disabled...

    Any thoughts?

    --
    Mabden
    Mabden, May 7, 2004
    #1
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  2. Mabden

    Mabden Guest

    "Mabden" <> wrote in message
    news:Y5Tmc.45973$...
    > OK, let me just say upfront that this is not a troll posting. Or a Jerry
    > Seinfeld monolog (Whiney Je^H^HNew York accent: "What's up with internet
    > cookies?! They're not tasty... they don't crumble... Who's making cookies
    > you can't EAT?! What's up with THAT!??")
    >
    > So, what is the current consensus on writing cookies to people's machines?
    >
    > For a while everyone was cookie happy (Cosmo Kramer voice: "Cookies!
    > Cookies! Yo Yo Ma!"). i.e. "You cannot use this site unless you have

    cookies
    > enabled."
    >
    > Then cookies were evil (Jerry's Newman voice: "Cookies...!"). "The people
    > don't want The Man tracking them, Man."
    >
    > What's the current trend? Do you use cookies on your site? Do you ask

    users
    > first? How long do you "enable" them for? Should I use them to track

    trivial
    > things, like the session ID to find repeat visitors, or the last time you
    > were here ("Welcome back! You've been gone 14 days and 12 minutes!") Or is
    > that creepy?
    >
    > I have a site that doesn't require cookies until you customize the page

    via
    > my options link. You can set the color and font of the page, etc. at which
    > point I put a cookie on your machine that is good for about 16 months (500
    > days) at which point I guess your options will disappear (I've never
    > actually seen it happen, as I visit the site myself before that time).
    >
    > I guess it's like the whole JavaScript question - i.e. What if the user

    has
    > JS disabled...
    >
    > Any thoughts?
    >


    Oh, and one more thing....

    Does the 300 cookie limit still exist? I mean, we're on <huge number> GB
    hard disks now, does the browser still worry about a meg of storage?

    --
    Mabden
    Mabden, May 7, 2004
    #2
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  3. Mabden wrote:

    > OK, let me just say upfront that this is not a troll posting. Or a Jerry
    > Seinfeld monolog (Whiney Je^H^HNew York accent: "What's up with internet
    > cookies?! They're not tasty... they don't crumble... Who's making cookies
    > you can't EAT?! What's up with THAT!??")
    >
    > So, what is the current consensus on writing cookies to people's machines?


    I don't see a problem with it as long as it's there for purposes of
    customisation or to remember individual settings. Using them to track
    users for marketting purposes though, I consider wrong.



    >
    > For a while everyone was cookie happy (Cosmo Kramer voice: "Cookies!
    > Cookies! Yo Yo Ma!"). i.e. "You cannot use this site unless you have cookies
    > enabled."
    >
    > Then cookies were evil (Jerry's Newman voice: "Cookies...!"). "The people
    > don't want The Man tracking them, Man."
    >
    > What's the current trend? Do you use cookies on your site? Do you ask users
    > first? How long do you "enable" them for? Should I use them to track trivial
    > things, like the session ID to find repeat visitors, or the last time you
    > were here ("Welcome back! You've been gone 14 days and 12 minutes!") Or is
    > that creepy?


    Nearly every "professional" site I know uses them. Google for one,
    banking sites, shopping sites, forums, Email sites...



    >
    > I have a site that doesn't require cookies until you customize the page via
    > my options link. You can set the color and font of the page, etc. at which
    > point I put a cookie on your machine that is good for about 16 months (500
    > days) at which point I guess your options will disappear (I've never
    > actually seen it happen, as I visit the site myself before that time).
    >
    > I guess it's like the whole JavaScript question - i.e. What if the user has
    > JS disabled...
    >
    > Any thoughts?


    If the suer has cookies disabled that's their choice. Like Javascript, I
    think that users that disable it are really cutting off their nose to
    spite their face. Disabling Javascript is more common - those who diable
    cookies would find browsing any "service" site difficult, or more of an
    effort that it needs to be imo.
    Weyoun the Dancing Borg, May 7, 2004
    #3
  4. Mabden

    Neal Guest

    On Fri, 07 May 2004 23:16:38 +0100, Weyoun the Dancing Borg
    <> wrote:

    > If the suer has cookies disabled that's their choice.


    Extremely funny typo, considering what could happen if you don't have a
    statement about cookies on your site...
    Neal, May 7, 2004
    #4
  5. Mabden

    Mabden Guest

    "Neal" <> wrote in message
    news:eek:...
    > On Fri, 07 May 2004 23:16:38 +0100, Weyoun the Dancing Borg
    > <> wrote:
    >
    > > If the suer has cookies disabled that's their choice.

    >
    > Extremely funny typo, considering what could happen if you don't have a
    > statement about cookies on your site...


    I had to read that twice, myself.

    > > So, what is the current consensus on writing cookies to people's

    machines?
    >
    > I don't see a problem with it as long as it's there for purposes of
    > customisation or to remember individual settings. Using them to track
    > users for marketing purposes though, I consider wrong.


    Well, I'm really thinking of using them for my own purposes as well. Like to
    track people who return to my site. I find that with broadband, user IPs
    change all the time, and I'd like a cookie to say, "Oh this guy is back"
    instead of, "Oh another new user" so I can get a sense of new vs. recurring
    users on my site.

    But what about the 300 cookie limit? I don't want to annoy people by saving
    a useless (to them) cookie that wipes out a valid, useful cookie from
    someone's machine.

    Also, in regards to the whole screen size issue, I was going to save the
    user's screen height/width to see what the dominant size is. I don't see a
    way to do that once the page is delivered, except to write a cookie via
    JavaScript and reading next time they come in. Is this even possible in JS,
    or is there a better way to do this?

    --
    Mabden
    Mabden, May 8, 2004
    #5
  6. Mabden

    Whitecrest Guest

    In article <Y5Tmc.45973$>,
    says...
    > So, what is the current consensus on writing cookies to people's machines?


    Whats the use of them? Virtually nothing you can do with them, that you
    can't do without them.

    --
    Whitecrest Entertainment
    www.whitecrestent.com
    Whitecrest, May 8, 2004
    #6
  7. Mabden

    Mabden Guest

    "Whitecrest" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > In article <Y5Tmc.45973$>,
    > says...
    > > So, what is the current consensus on writing cookies to people's

    machines?
    >
    > Whats the use of them? Virtually nothing you can do with them, that you
    > can't do without them.


    I use them on my little Quotes page to let the user set display preferences:

    http://quotes.sitenook.com/Options.asp?Cat=FORTUNE&Num=3227

    That way you're not stuck with my personal choices.

    But the original post was more about whether it's ethical or not-nice or
    bad-practice or whatever to just put a cookie on a user's machine that is of
    no real benefit to them, just so I can see that they were here, or when they
    were last here for my own curiosity / usage.

    Anybody have comments?

    --
    Mabden
    Mabden, May 8, 2004
    #7
  8. Mabden

    Jeff Thies Guest

    "Whitecrest" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > In article <Y5Tmc.45973$>,
    > says...
    > > So, what is the current consensus on writing cookies to people's

    machines?
    >
    > Whats the use of them? Virtually nothing you can do with them, that you
    > can't do without them.


    How do you track state? How do you make a shopping cart without that? That
    pretty much leaves you with frames or passing an id on the query string to
    every page. Note that some cookies are temporary and never written to the
    hard disk, session ids typically work that way.

    Most people would be much better served with using a program like AdAware or
    Spybot that destroys the other evil changes to windows as well as the
    marketing/tracking cookies, while leaving login or preference cookies.

    Jeff

    >
    > --
    > Whitecrest Entertainment
    > www.whitecrestent.com
    Jeff Thies, May 8, 2004
    #8
  9. Mabden

    Jeff Thies Guest

    > But what about the 300 cookie limit?

    That's suggested minimum, the actual number is left up to the browser. Look
    in /windows/cookies to see how many IE has stored. I have over 1000.


    > I don't want to annoy people by saving
    > a useless (to them) cookie that wipes out a valid, useful cookie from
    > someone's machine.
    >
    > Also, in regards to the whole screen size issue, I was going to save the
    > user's screen height/width to see what the dominant size is. I don't see a
    > way to do that once the page is delivered, except to write a cookie via
    > JavaScript and reading next time they come in. Is this even possible in

    JS,
    > or is there a better way to do this?


    Javascript is the only way I know of. I use it myself to serve up images
    based on browser size. Check the FAQ in comp.lang.javascript for suggested
    code.

    You may wish to see what enviornment variables are sent back from the
    browser. This would be server side and how this is done depends on your
    scripting environment. I don't recall seeing a window size though.

    Jeff
    Jeff Thies, May 8, 2004
    #9
  10. Mabden

    Mitja Guest

    Mabden <>
    (news:AtVmc.46063$) wrote:
    > "Neal" <> wrote in message
    > news:eek:...
    >> On Fri, 07 May 2004 23:16:38 +0100, Weyoun the Dancing Borg
    >> <> wrote:
    >>
    >>> If the suer has cookies disabled that's their choice.

    >>
    >> Extremely funny typo, considering what could happen if you don't
    >> have a statement about cookies on your site...

    >
    > I had to read that twice, myself.
    >
    >>> So, what is the current consensus on writing cookies to people's
    >>> machines?

    >>
    >> I don't see a problem with it as long as it's there for purposes of
    >> customisation or to remember individual settings. Using them to track
    >> users for marketing purposes though, I consider wrong.

    >
    > Well, I'm really thinking of using them for my own purposes as well.
    > Like to track people who return to my site. I find that with
    > broadband, user IPs change all the time, and I'd like a cookie to
    > say, "Oh this guy is back" instead of, "Oh another new user" so I can
    > get a sense of new vs. recurring users on my site.
    >
    > But what about the 300 cookie limit? I don't want to annoy people by
    > saving a useless (to them) cookie that wipes out a valid, useful
    > cookie from someone's machine.
    >
    > Also, in regards to the whole screen size issue, I was going to save
    > the user's screen height/width to see what the dominant size is. I
    > don't see a way to do that once the page is delivered, except to
    > write a cookie via JavaScript and reading next time they come in. Is
    > this even possible in JS, or is there a better way to do this?


    There are ways...
    JS could do something like document.write('<img
    src="your_stats_script.cgi?width=xxx&height=xxx'). Server-side script
    your_stats_script.cgi should log the passed parameters and return an 1x1
    transparent gif image.
    Mitja, May 8, 2004
    #10
  11. Jeff Thies wrote:

    > "Whitecrest" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    >
    >>In article <Y5Tmc.45973$>,
    >> says...
    >>
    >>>So, what is the current consensus on writing cookies to people's

    >
    > machines?
    >
    >>Whats the use of them? Virtually nothing you can do with them, that you
    >>can't do without them.

    >
    >
    > How do you track state? How do you make a shopping cart without that? That
    > pretty much leaves you with frames or passing an id on the query string to
    > every page. Note that some cookies are temporary and never written to the
    > hard disk, session ids typically work that way.
    >
    > Most people would be much better served with using a program like AdAware or
    > Spybot that destroys the other evil changes to windows as well as the
    > marketing/tracking cookies, while leaving login or preference cookies.
    >



    oh he's just one of those people that think the entire net shoul dbe
    written in plain text and the only images should be ASCII ones.
    Weyoun the Dancing Borg, May 11, 2004
    #11
  12. Mabden

    Whitecrest Guest

    In article <J82oc.50$TO6.22@newsfe1-win>, says...
    > >>Whats the use of them? Virtually nothing you can do with them, that you
    > >>can't do without them.

    > > How do you track state?...

    > oh he's just one of those people that think the entire net shoul dbe
    > written in plain text and the only images should be ASCII ones.


    ROFLMAO!!! Yea, you nailed me, I want an all text web......
    --
    Whitecrest Entertainment
    www.whitecrestent.com
    Whitecrest, May 11, 2004
    #12
  13. Mabden wrote:

    > Also, in regards to the whole screen size issue, I was going to save the
    > user's screen height/width to see what the dominant size is. I don't see a
    > way to do that once the page is delivered, except to write a cookie via
    > JavaScript and reading next time they come in. Is this even possible in JS,
    > or is there a better way to do this?


    Well you could do that but you don't need to - the average size is
    between 800x600 and 1024x768.

    Designing the best wensite for usability would mean it was scalable, and
    would work in just about any resolution. Some here will say it must be
    usabl;e in 320x240 because of mobile phones and PDAs etc that access the
    net but apart from 40 year old men in a midlife crisis I can't think of
    many people that actually surf the net a *lot* using tiny gadgets.
    Except Japan. :)

    Except for flash sites, it's a bad idea to design a site for just one
    resolution anyway. I have never made a Flash site, but I've used Flash
    before - if you don't specify the size of an animation or link just to
    thw SWF file then it maximises anyway to fill the browser window, I
    don't know if a Flash Site can do the same. But you weren't asking about
    flash anyway :eek:)
    Weyoun the Dancing Borg, May 11, 2004
    #13
  14. Whitecrest wrote:
    > In article <J82oc.50$TO6.22@newsfe1-win>, says...
    >
    >>>>Whats the use of them? Virtually nothing you can do with them, that you
    >>>>can't do without them.
    >>>
    >>>How do you track state?...

    >>
    >>oh he's just one of those people that think the entire net shoul dbe
    >>written in plain text and the only images should be ASCII ones.

    >
    >
    > ROFLMAO!!! Yea, you nailed me, I want an all text web......



    :)

    I hope I didn't cause offense :)
    Weyoun the Dancing Borg, May 12, 2004
    #14
  15. Mabden

    Mark Parnell Guest

    On Wed, 12 May 2004 03:18:13 +0100, Weyoun the Dancing Borg
    <> declared in alt.html:

    > I hope I didn't cause offense :)


    Do you think he'd ROFLHAO if he was offended? :)

    --
    Mark Parnell
    http://www.clarkecomputers.com.au
    Mark Parnell, May 12, 2004
    #15
  16. Mabden

    Whitecrest Guest

    In article <HOfoc.607$wB.158@newsfe1-win>, says...
    > >>oh he's just one of those people that think the entire net shoul dbe
    > >>written in plain text and the only images should be ASCII ones.

    > > ROFLMAO!!! Yea, you nailed me, I want an all text web......

    > I hope I didn't cause offense :)


    No, no offence taken at all. I am probably the most vocal person in
    this forum AGAINST an all text web, which is why I thought it was so
    funny.

    --
    Whitecrest Entertainment
    www.whitecrestent.com
    Whitecrest, May 12, 2004
    #16
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