An expresson of my interests in Web 2.0 and everything beyond and other than it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Stating the Stateless refers to HTTP - the stuff that makes the web work - as "a stateless protocol because each command is executed independently, without any knowledge of the commands that came before it". For comprehensive tracking of visitor activity on a given website, webmasters and alike must use resources offered by web scripting tools to keep track of every individual visitor. When you visit a website and look at, say the homepage with 5 different images in it, your web browser makes several separate connection to each resource. Thus, though there may be a single page and therefore a single page-view, altogether there are 6 requests or 6 different requests by the same browser. Most web servers maintain log files to track each request. Along with this they also log referral information and the name of the browser. Very useful...but in the long run, if you want answers to questions like "how long this guy from Spain was on my site?", you will hit a roadblock. Since, for the server every request is a new one, and the "state" was not captured, to the server every single guy from Spain is a new guy. Interpreting the "state" out of the stateless is one of the difficulties of successful web analytics. There are many more challenges actually and for a rather comprehensive documentation of these, How the web works by Stephen Turner is a great reading. By the way, Mr Turner is the guy behind Analog, our saviour, the god who shows us the path when it comes to making sense of our server logs. Go on now. Read it, while I go and make some more cookies ;)

No comments: