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The Web is a brilliant illusion. When you visit a well-designed web site, you get a great feeling of continuity, as though flipping through the pages of a book or a magazine. Everything fits together as a coherent entity. The reality is quite different. Each part of an individual page is stored and handled separately by the web server. Apart from needing to know where to send the relevant files, the server has no interest in who you are. Each time a PHP script runs, the variables exist only in the server’s memory and are normally discarded as soon as the script finishes. Even variables in the $_POST and $_GET arrays have only a brief lifespan. Their value is passed once to the next script and then removed from memory unless you do something with it, such as storing the information in a hidden form field. Even then, it persists only if the form is submitted.
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- Chapter 11