Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: gbm22-ga
List Price: $15.00
19 Nov 2005 19:50 PST
Expires: 19 Dec 2005 19:50 PST
Question ID: 595315
Online dating sites such as Yahoo Personals and Match.com allow members to send instant messages to other members that are listed as "Online Now". Since these sites don't use an outside downloadable client that would instantly inform the system of their presence, exactly how do these sites determine somebody's presence? I understand that they probably determine it based on some function of listing someone online if they have clicked on a page within the last X number of minutes. If this is indeed the case, what is that X number? I'm interested in knowing the general approach/technology these sites use to calculate presence, as well as the specific policy (i.e., the X number of minutes). Thanks.
Re: Online Presence
Answered By: webadept-ga on 19 Nov 2005 21:24 PST
Hi, Typically this is handled by using PHP sessions of similar technology. http://us2.php.net/manual/en/ref.session.php The idea is that there is a memory log on the server (most of the time in a database table) which keeps track of when the last time you clicked on a page was. It does this by setting the session variable when you log into the website. The time frame for inactivity log-out is usually around 20 minutes for casual meeting and social websites like the ones you have listed. Websites like these tend to want as little "hassle" associated with them as possible. Whereas a bank website (like Washington Mutual for instance) will log you out in 2 minutes of inactivity, stressing security rather than relaxed hassle free surfing. You can test the actual time, or at least get a close figure by testing the log out period on the site. Sometimes you can see the information in a cookie in your browser. If you have Firefox for example, you can use it to check the page information looking for the expire-time. Go to Tools, Page Information, Cookies to see this in Firefox. Get Firefox Browser http://www.mozilla.org/products/firefox/ Also, if you logout of course then the setting is switched instantly. webadept-ga
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