JavaScript considered harmful (was Re: New online index to Beazley's tutorials)

Mats Wichmann mats at
Tue Jan 8 10:46:23 EST 2002

On Tue, 8 Jan 2002 12:24:23 +0100, "Alex Martelli" <aleax at>

:Yes *BUT* -- on that page, you also claim:
:"the big problem with using cookies is that many people use multiple
:browsers on multiple machines; if you're going to solve that problem,
:you might as well skip cookies in the first place."
:To which I answer, "oh yeah?".
:Typical case: a site on which you can 'log in' with a username and
:password (not a very original concept, is it?), in order e.g. to get
:a customized page already tailored to your 'favourites' whatevers.
:The obvious problem: visitors find it irksome to have to type the
:username and password on each site-visit in order to get at the
:nifty customization features.  We need some client-side state to
:ameliorate this.
:That's basically what cookies are FOR, no matter what paranoia
:many people choose to attach to them as 'anti-privacy devices'.

Just to keep the rant quotient high...

My own personal beef with cookies has devolved to when people
/require/ them, with no alternative.  If you must use cookies, offer
me a choice: either accept cookies, or accept reduced functionality or
convenience.  Fine.

My ISP selected a web mail package that offers no choice.  No cookies,
no mail.  I don't use it from home, but through the last 2.5 years I
was on the road 50% of the time.  Many times my web access was a
"public terminal" - a Windows computer with full internet access but
all local writes, including cookies of course, disabled.  No email for

Mats Wichmann

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