By: John Michael PierobonJohn Michael Pierobon is an Internet consultant based in Fort Lauderdale.
With the on-line holiday shopping season upon us, now is a good time to explore the relationship between cookies and on-line shopping.
Serious on-line merchants use a shopping basket application. Sometimes it is called a shopping cart application, but in the United Kingdom it is called a shopping trolley.
A shopping basket application is software that permits the selection and purchase of products on the Web. It displays products from the on-line product catalogue based on a search criteria. It also remembers customer selections placed in the shopping basket, and totals the order. And naturally, it accepts shipping and credit card information.
Here is how cookies work. When a browser is used to issue a request to visit a Web site, the browser first looks in the
Cookiesfolder (for Internet Explorer), or in the
cookies.txtfile (for Navigator), for the existence of cookies pertaining to that Web site or domain. If they exist, the browser presents those cookies to the Web server when the connection to the Web server is established. The Web server reads the cookie information, and when it returns a Web page to the browser the Web server may send back one or more cookies.
When shopping on-line, a cookie value is assigned to your cart or basket. With each subsequent Web page visited, items may be added or removed from the basket. Keeping track of the current state of the contents in the basket, and of the basket identification number, is done via cookies being sent back and forth between the browser and Web server.
Just as I mentioned in a previous article on the subject, cookies are safe. Cookies pose no virus threat. They cannot fill up your disk drive. Netscape Navigator, for example, will store a maximum of 300 cookies. However, cookies help fill your shopping cart and greatly enhance the on-line holiday shopping experience.
© 2001 - 2006 John Michael Pierobon