Cookies used on this site

Cookies are used by websites to store small amounts of information on your computer. This Website uses two cookies to store data which does not relate to any personal information, your browser, the operating system you use or any of the other operational capabilities of your machine. The cookies on this Website are used solely to improve the way the site works for you.

Please note that this site uses Google Analytics to measure traffic to this site. By default, Google uses four additional cookies to collect information on visits to this site. A full explanation of how Google's cookies are implemented, what they do, what information is collected is available here.

This is a summary of the information stored in the cookies:

Cookie 1

This cookie is named 'tempcookie' and contains the information ''.

Every time a page is loaded (or refreshed!), it needs to check to see if the user allows cookies on this Website. Owing to security restrictions, the only way to determine this is to attempt to save some information to a cookie and then see if that same information can be retrieved. But why do we do this...?

We want to be open about our use of cookies and we want to let you know as soon as you visit this site that we use cookies, what we use them for and where you can get more information about them. However, we don't want to ruin your browsing experience by telling you this on every single page, that would be annoying. Unfortunately, the only way to remember that you've already seen this information, is to use... a cookie!

However, if we store this information in a cookie and you have cookies disabled, the pop-up would appear on every page. Therefore we use this little trick to make sure we don't annoy you too much.

Cookie 2

We call this cookie 'propsoftware_prefs'. There are three pieces of information stored in this cookie and each piece of data is related to how you prefer to use this site.

  1. Superuser
    Some members who log onto this Website have special privileges. These uses tick an additional box on the log in page. For their convenience, this cookie remembers whether they last logged on as a superuser or not and, if they did, ticks this box. Currently, this value is set to ''.

  2. Updates Page Tab
    Members can view information regarding updates to our software products and services. This information is organised into subjects using tabs. When you return to the Updates page, having read one of the articles, for example, the tab you last selected is automatically selected for you. This makes it easier to remember how to access this information again, particularly if you are revisiting the site after some time. The value stored here is currently: ''.

  3. Cookie Alert
    When you first visit this site, a pop-up warning should be displayed which summarises our policy on the use of cookies. As we explained earlier, we don't want to show this pop-up on every page as that would be, to say the least, annoying. So, once that pop-up has been shown, we store a value of '' in the cookie.

Google Analytics

According to Google, the default implementation of Google Analytics employs four cookies.

  1. __utma
    This cookie is typically written to the browser upon the first visit to the site from your web browser. If the cookie has been deleted by the browser operator, and the browser subsequently visits your site, a new __utma cookie is written with a different unique ID. This cookie is used to determine unique visitors to this site and it is updated with each page view. Additionally, this cookie is provided with a unique ID that Google Analytics uses to ensure both the validity and accessibility of the cookie as an extra security measure.
  2. __utmb
    This cookie is used to establish and continue a user session with this site. When you view a page on this site, the Google Analytics code attempts to update this cookie. If it does not find the cookie, a new one is written and a new session is established. Each time a user visits a different page on your site, this cookie is updated to expire in 30 minutes, thus continuing a single session for as long as user activity continues within 30-minute intervals. This cookie expires when you pause on a page on this site for longer than 30 minutes.
  3. __utmc
    This cookie is no longer used by the ga.js tracking code to determine session status.
    Historically, this cookie operated in conjunction with the __utmb cookie to determine whether or not to establish a new session for you. For backwards compatibility purposes with sites still using the urchin.js tracking code, this cookie will continue to be written and will expire when the user exits the browser.
  4. __utmz
    This cookie stores the type of referral used by you, the visitor, to reach this site, whether via a direct method, a referring link, a website search, or a campaign such as an ad or an email link. It is used to calculate search engine traffic, ad campaigns and page navigation within this site. The cookie is updated with each page view to this site.

Websites are "stateless"

Every web page you visit is a separate entity; it's a little autonomous program that runs independently of any other Website or any other page even on the same site. Whilst a single page can store a huge amount of information — the text, the filenames and locations of the images and how this information is to be rendered to the visitor, and so forth — not a single bytes-worth of data is normally made available from one page to the next. That one page does not know what another page is doing is known by programmers as "stateless".

There are several mechanisms available to the programmer to overcome this statelessness, one of which is by the use of cookies. A cookie acts as a repository into which all pages on the same site can deposit, and then retrieve, information. Cookies are therefore little more than very small storage boxes.