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Old 04-05-2010, 01:15 AM   #1
john_b
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Scottish Borders, UK
Posts: 208
Default cookies and screen resolution...

I came across a website (the Survey link at the bottom of the page) that gives an indication of users' screen resolutions. Of course, it only shows results for people who visit that particular site but it is interesting nonetheless.

So I wondered about compiling similar stats for my own site - how is it done? I'd thought that the screen res would be part of the environment variables and that you could simply extract the details. Apparently not.

Further research reveals that cookies are the way to go. I have absolutely no experience of setting or using them. Indeed, I have a bit of an ethical 'block' against inflicting cookies on other people's machines; particularly when it is of no benefit to them, but is simply for my own indulgence.

I found bits and bobs which use PHP and also Javascript and my limited experiments confirm that it can set and read a cookie containing the information. Further research will be needed because you don't, for example, want to count the same client more than once...

...but that's another story. The algorithm seems to be something along the lines of "if the cookie has been set then read it, otherwise set one and then read it" but I'm just not understanding how the sequence of events works.

It appears that cookies are site-specific and if a browser requests a page from a server, then any existing cookie information specific to that site is sent along with the request. I can follow that, but what happens if no cookie has been set? The example I came across uses Javascript to set the cookie if none exists but I'm thinking that would happen too late for the browser to send the information to the server if it only requests the page once.

On the other hand, the script that I tested does seems to work but how does it do it?

If anyone could shed some light on what the sequence of events should be - in simple terms, please - then I'd be grateful.

John
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