[Web-SIG] and now for something completely different!

michael bayer mike_mp at zzzcomputing.com
Thu Aug 18 04:33:09 CEST 2005

On Aug 17, 2005, at 6:49 PM, Phillip J. Eby wrote:

> That really hasn't been my experience.  Partly, this is because I  
> tend to use RESTful approaches that put 99% of all statefulness in  
> the browser.  For example, if I have a multi-page form, I embed all  
> the previous pages' data as hidden fields on the subsequent pages.   
> The entire form is processed by a single validation routine, so it  
> doesn't matter what the client sends or in what order, because as  
> soon as all the data is both present and valid, the form is done.   
> Similarly, the vast majority of UI flow is easiest to model as URL- 
> per-state, so that the browser is in charge of the flow, and the  
> back button works.

its usually not my experience either, and I have rarely written any  
kind of app that uses sessions.  99% of everything I've done relies  
upon browser state as well.  although despite my being there "when  
the web was won" in 95, I am hesitant to call myself a RESTFUL  
developer...to me, REST seems to be taking some common sense ideas  
and turning them into some kind of rigid ideological crusade, which  
is just as bad as all the other ideological crusades we "web winners"  
had to fight with IIS and active server pages, EJB, UML, SOAP, etc.

the app i work on is a document mangement system where users have to  
edit large sets of fields, and do alot of reloading in order to load  
in new sections of the document or save various subsets of data.  Its  
been running and being expanded regularly for several years, and it  
does it all using client-state only, but it has begun to outgrow that  
approach; it would be much more succinctly written storing the user's  
current workspace within something that at least conceptually is a  
"session".  it would also allow popups, IFRAMES and future Ajax  
controls to all access the same user-workspace without having to  
perform vast Javascript gymnastics (which it does right now).

a document editing system is also a good example of where objects  
need to be persisted in two different scopes, i.e. a session-scope as  
well as a permanent scope.   I dont really think a session has  
anything to do with a "physical three-tiered model".   physically, it  
can be whereever you want.  i just think its advantageous from a  
conceptual point of view.

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