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HenryCan

Creating/Using a Cookie to remember user preference

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I'm an experienced programmer with several languages (COBOL, REXX, Java, Javascript, etc.) under my belt over many years but I know very little about PHP. I dabbled in it a bit a year or two back and got it to do what I wanted to do but I'm not sure how to do what I currently need.

 

A bit of context: I have designed a website where the user can choose between various page styles; each style invokes different CSS to give them a different visual experience of the site. They can select the style they want via View/Style in Internet Exploder and View/Page Style in Firefox  but that preference is only remembered as long as they're on that page. As soon as they move to another page on the site, they have to choose the alternate style again or live with the default style. I want them to be able to select that preference ONCE, the store it in a cookie specifically for them, then keep using that style every time they visit the site. (Naturally, I want them to be able to change the style and then remember the new style as well.) There will be many visitors and each will want that same capability. I currently don't require any login to the site. (I'm toying with password-protecting some of the site down the road but that's not a factor in this page style thing that I'm talking about here.

 

Now, my questions.

 

I've found a variety of short articles describing how to use setCookie() to create the cookie (and delete it later) and getCookie() or the newer echo $_COOKIE["name"] to determine the cookie value. However, I am NOT seeing anything that says where I put the code to set and/or read the code within my web pages. I would really appreciate an explanation of that! I expect to write short fragments of php code to do those jobs which I will then imbed within my web pages via SSI (Server Side Includes). Is that reasonable or is there a better way?

 

Also:

1. When the user clicks on the desired Style in the View/Style menu, how do I detect what choice they made?

2. Should the name of the cookie be something like "pageStyle" or should it be something that uniquely identifies the user so that the right cookie is retrieved when the come back? If the latter, what value should I use and how should I obtain it? I assume that something unique about the user obtained from their headers is far better than displaying a dialog and asking them for some unique identifier.

 

I'd rather stay away from Javascript in any of this functionality since I can't rely on it being turned on.

 

One quick aside while I'm here. Does  anyone know how to change the page style if visitors use Google Chrome or Opera? I can't even FIND options for changing the page style in my copies of those two browsers and both are current versions. Do they not support differing page styles at all or do they just hide the technique to choose the style very effectively?

 

--

Henry

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One question at a time.

 

Where to put the code in your web page??  Well - technically you don't.  You place it in your php script.  And that can be done wherever your logic dictates.  It's up to you.  Just realize that you won't 'see' the cookie until your script loads the next time. 

 

You receive the page, grab any inputs that arrive in the POST/GET array, decide what needs to be done, and if that decision includes setting a cookie, then you set it.

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