making bbPress (and WordPress) work better!

Firefox plugin to detect when website sessions in use?

update: presenting my very first firefox plugin!
Detects if any of several session types are in use on a website. It has some room for improvement but the fact that it works at all is good start…

I dislike the use of sessions to track users between web pages because it slows things down on active websites and if cookies are disabled, they can create a mess when they get appended to the URL. They are also useless across multiple servers if they aren’t stored in a common memory pool (memcached, etc).

Here are some common session names:
.NET uses “ASP.NET_SessionId”
ColdFusion uses “CFID”
(let me know if you are aware of others)

I try to avoid using sessions in my bbPress plugins but there are two (Human Test & OpenID) where I’ve been too tired (aka too lazy) to come up with a complex way around them that would involve mysql tables, etc. However I try to make sure that sessions are not activated when not needed (in most cases, only during registration. But there is a popular third-party plugin that I’ve taken over ownership for (bb-topic-views) that uses sessions all the time when reading topics to prevent re-counting on multiple pages of the same topic.

I want to know when I’ve accidentally triggered session when I don’t need them. But I’d also like to know when other websites are using sessions. But this is not easy. Sessions can be hidden in cookies, or even when cookies are blocked, via POST or worst case, GET data. Sessions under PHP typically use the name “PHPSESSID” but they don’t have to and can be changed.

What I really want is a Firefox plugin that detects when PHPSESSID is in use in cookie,post or get data. The catch is I know very little about writing a Firefox plugin and have only modified other plugins in very limited ways.

Guess I have some research and coding experiments to do!

6 responses

  1. This is tough, anytime a web site that includes signins and/or navigation that is modified by the user for the most part requires sessions. Otherwise we (developers) would have to store multiple cookies on the users computer to store that information, essentially requiring data to be transferred between the client/server for every HTTP request. The worst part about cookies is they are part of the HTTP headers, which means they are never compressed like the body portions of HTTP requests can be to save bandwidth. As much as you hate sessions they are pretty much necessary for any kind of site that has logins or remembered navigation such as a shopping cart.

    This is a great plugin though, it will be nice to watch what kind of sites are maintaining sessions and which are not.

    December 14, 2008 at 6:50 pm

  2. hello

    could you make this addon for firefox 3.5?

    thanks in advice

    September 17, 2009 at 9:54 am

  3. It’s working with my Firefox 3.5, are you saying the install is complaining about the version number? I guess I use an override. I can patch it.

    September 17, 2009 at 10:01 am

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    November 4, 2009 at 9:54 pm

  5. I think you must see that – cheap ambien online

    November 16, 2009 at 8:22 pm

  6. Good article, thanks. I signed up to RSS on this blog.

    January 19, 2011 at 6:35 pm

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