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stateless
Last modified: Monday, December 09, 2002 

(adj.) Having no information about what occurred previously. Most modern applications maintain state, which means that they remember what you were doing last time you ran the application, and they remember all your configuration settings. This is extremely useful because it means you can mold the application to your working habits.

The World Wide Web, on the other hand, is intrinsically stateless because each request for a new Web page is processed without any knowledge of previous pages requested. This is one of the chief drawbacks to the HTTP protocol. Because maintaining state is extremely useful, programmers have developed a number of techniques to add state to the World Wide Web. These include server APIs, such as NSAPI and ISAPI, and the use of cookies.

Also see stateful.

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