ISSUE-276: 3.1.1 Retain Personalization Information


3.1.1 Retain Personalization Information

Mobile Web Applications Best Practices
Raised by:
Adam Connors
Opened on:
Bryan Comments:

Under "3.1.1 Retain Personalization Information":

The earlier version (20080521) had guidance on non-cookie methods of retaining information, e.g. "Information retention is possible by using cookies, as hidden information in content (e.g. forms, URL parameters, Javascript variables), in server-side databases, etc." The non-cookie methods are useful means to store information. As the section currently stands, users may be given the impression that cookies are the *only* recommended method of retaining state. Indeed, for the reasons noted about cookie limitations, other methods should be recommended as well. I welcome other input on methods of info retention, but to remove what has already been proposed does not improve the usefulness of the document.

Adam Comments:

->-> hidden form elements & javascript variables are not applicable for storing state across sessions / site visits. In revised version these have been removed and now states "Cookies are most natural means to store small amounts... More extensive personalization should be stored on the server..." It then enumerates the limitations of cookies.

Bryan Comments:

The earlier version had guidance on the duration of retention, e.g. "The duration of retention should be matched to the type of application and typical user session profile, e.g. how often users typically access the application and how long they interact with it during each use." This may seem obvious to some, but the usability of an application can be significantly impacted by having to reenter information too often. So developers need to be thinking about the typical usage of their application, e.g. to establish a sense of the typical "session" length, and set their data retention design at least slightly longer than the typical session.

Adam Comments:

->-> The context of this BP (see is limited to "to avoid the need to re-enter it the next time a user visits the site". (e.g. rention of data across sessions).

->-> I don't understand "slightly longer than the typical session" statement. Can you explain? Duration of retention has relevance in terms of "don't store personal info for too long for data protection reasons" but since this is a server policy it's out of scope for this group.

->-> We don't explicitly say that a user shouldn't be required to re-enter data within a session... Is it necessary to state this when we are already discussing storing data across sessions? This would seem standard good web-application design and not something that needs special attention in the mobile world.

Related Actions Items:
No related actions
Related emails:
  1. [minutes] BPWG 2008-11-13 (from on 2008-11-13)
  2. [minutes] BPWG Teleconference 2008-10-09 (from on 2008-10-09)
  3. [Minutes] Minutes from the MWABP Editorial Meeting 2008-09-26 (from on 2008-09-26)
  4. ISSUE-276 (adam): 3.1.1 Retain Personalization Information [Mobile Web Applications Best Practices] (from on 2008-09-18)

Related notes:

[jo]: Adam will re-write the relevant section calling out the different techniques available intra and inter session per ACTION-853

26 Sep 2008, 14:01:47

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Jo Rabin <>, Daniel Appelquist <>, Chairs, Dominique Hazaël-Massieux <>, François Daoust <>, Staff Contacts
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