The concern is documenting cookies, essential to understanding for the modern BI.

1. origins

  • cookies were created in Netscape by Lou Montulli
  • the term goes back to Unix and C (same authors, same origins) meaning a piece of data passed between programs not essential for their functionality

2. http & state

  • http is designed as stateless protocol
  • there are transactions, known as request-response transactions
  • stateless means that each transaction is independent from any previous or future transaction
  • nothing in the protocol requires the server to retain state
  • every message is self-descriptive and requires all the information that is required to process that message
  • see Introducing self-describing JSONs for an inspired take on the data transfer
  • most of the applications built atop of the HTTP are stateful
  • example: banking app needs to know that user has logged in before resources can be accessed
  • app needs to know about the user before-hand
  • there are independent http transactions, but the app needs to know where the user is

3. cookies

  • defined by rfc6265 called HTTP State Management Mechanism
  • describes how a website gives a cookie
  • it uses HTTP HEADER
  • the browser then sends the same cookie to every other request sent to the site
  • now, a website can track user when then make a request
  • a website can put any information into a cookie, mostly just a unique identifier (GUID)
  • assuming the browser is configured to accept cookies, it accepts the set cookie instruction
  • it sends it along with any subsequent request that it makes to the domain
  • the server looks for appropriate info
  • used for identification, not authentication purposes

4. browser storage type

  • unique browser storage option.
  • only storage (there are many types) that is also shared with the server
  • how? they are sent as part of every request.
  • it creates a shared state between the client and the server
  • also between multiple applications in different subdomains.
  • This is not possible by other storage options
  • One caveat: cookies are sent with every request, which means that we have to keep our cookies small to maintain a decent request size.

5. cookie usage

  • The most common use for cookies is authentication
  • Just like the localStorage, cookies can store only strings
  • cookies are concatenated into one semicolon-separated string
  • and they are sent in the cookie header of the request.
  • You can set many attributes for every cookie, such as:
  • expiration
  • allowed domains
  • allowed pages
  • and many more.

6. writing cookies

  • with JavaScript straightforward
  • to save a new cookie, set document.cookie — check out the save function in the example above.

7. seven attribues to a cookie

— From Set-Cookie — MDN

8. reading

  • A cookie string looks like this:


  • split the string by semicolon.
  • Now, we have an array of cookies in the form of key1=value1
  • find the right element in the array
  • In the split by the equal sign and get the last element in the new array
  • A bit tedious, but once you implement the getCookie function (or copy it from my example :P) you can forget it.

9. saving app data in a cookie ?

  • can be a bad idea
  • drastically increases the request size
  • reduces performance.
  • if cookies — keep them small.

10. inspect cookies from a new websession using powershell

11. get all saved cookies

so cookies are stored locally. they used to be stored in text files, but that is no longer the case, the cookie file in chrome is no longer human-readable. what you can do with powershell is to pass the url into something like the parameter and then return that immediatelly to get the cookies you would like for the host. but you would not be able to get them all — you need an extension to achieve that

12. first-vs-third party

  • technically, no difference
  • same pieces of info; same functionality
  • where is the diff?
  • how are they created
  • how are they used

13. sources

today I learnt… | as a support eng of the wonderful Snowplow Analytics, expect everything around modern (postmodern?) business intelligence

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