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How to Choose From Viewstate, Session, Application, Cache, and Cookies
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How to Choose From Viewstate, Session, Application, Cache, and Cookies

Author: Ahmed Siddiqui

Problem with Web Applications

Web Applications are natively statesless, means once a web page renders from server to client, nothing remains on server and the next time user submits the page you have to load all values and create the page again.

ASP.NET provides multiple simple solutions to this problems like:

  • Viewstate

  • Session Variables

  • Application Variables

  • Cache

  • Cookies

Now the question arises that when to use what?

1- Viewstate

Viewstate is a hidden fields in an ASP.NET page, contains state of those controls on a page whose "EnableViewstate" property is "true".

You can also explicitly add values in it, on an ASP.NET page like:

Viewstate.Add( "TotalStudents", "87" );

Viewstate should be used when you want to save a value between diferent roundtrips of a single page as viewstate of a page is not accessible by another page.

Because Viewstate renders with the page, it consumes bandwith, so be careful to use it in applications to be run on low bandwith.

2- Session Variable

Session variables are usually the most commonly used.

When a user visits a site, it's sessions starts and when the user become idle or leave the site, the session ends.

Session variables should be used to save and retrive user specefic information required on multiple pages.

Session variables consumes server memory, so if your may have a huge amount visiters, use session very carefully and instead of put large values in it try to put IDs and references

3- Application variables

Application variables are shared variables among all users of a web application

Application variables behave like static variables and they are substitute of static variables as static variables are stateless in web applications

Only shared values should be persisted in Application variables, and as soon as they are not in use they should be removed explicitly.

4- Cache

Cache is probably the least used state feature of ASP.NET.

Cache is basically a resource specific state persistence feature, means unlike session it stick with resource instead of user, for instance: pages, controls etc.

Cache should be used or frequently used pages, controls, and data structures

Data cache can be used to cache frequently used list of values e.g. list of products

6- Cookies

Cookies are some values saved in browsers by the website to retrivbbe and use afterwards.

Usually cookies are used to help dynamic websites to identify visitors and retrieve their saved preferences.

Cookies are also used to facilitate auto login by persisting user id in a cookie save in user's browser.

Because cookies have been saved at client side, they do not create performance issues but may create security issues as they can be hacked from browser.

Finally remember the following points on your finger-tips:

  • Viewstate is bandwidth hungry

  • Session variables are memory hungry as per number of users

  • Applications variables are shared

  • Cache is memory hungry as per number of resources

  • Cookies are the least secure

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/programming-articles/how-to-choose-from-viewstate-session-application-cache-and-cookies-443393.html

About the Author

Seasoned Microsoft Certified Professional having seven years of experience in analysis, design, and development of enterprise applications; utilizing true world class software development patterns & practices.

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