One of the biggest problems that web application developers face is the problem of state. State could be described as the capability of the web application to remember information, such as who is currently using the application and what he or she is doing. The application might also need to remember not only what each user was doing a few seconds ago, but also what he or she was doing a few weeks or months ago.
Developers often build their applications to remember user preferences, to analyze site traversal patterns, to analyze trends and site statistics, or to deliver customized content to each user.
To accomplish any of these things, developers need to understand the statelessness of the web. They also need to understand the features to which ColdFusion gives them access to help them conquer this problem.
In this chapter, we discuss the statelessness of web applications. We take a look at what is known as the Web Application Framework within ColdFusion. We also take a look at various types of ColdFusion variables that help us to develop sites that can remember information, maintain state, and help us to improve the overall user experience.