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Meassure the duration of a user login/session

Posted on 2006-04-19
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Last Modified: 2006-11-18
Hello folks

Im developing a webappliation that people will pay for the time that they use it.

What is the best way to meassure how long time a user is loged in ?

At first I thougth that session_start and session_end would help me, but if the users just closes the browser the session will not be ended until the session time out limit is reached(im well aware that the www is stateless=. Is there any realiable solution on this problem or is there a total different approach to this problem ?

Thanks for any ideas.

Best regards

Magnus

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Question by:holtis
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by:GavinMannion
ID: 16485729
There is no reliable solution.

Depending on what the site does you could change your Session timeout from the default 20 minutes to 2 minutes and then when they sign up they have to agree to pay the extra 2 minutes if they close their browser.

As you are aware it is stateless which makes this type of business plan more difficult to enforce.

You could write the entire site in something like Macromedia Flash which as far as I am aware is not completely stateless. (I could be wrong though).

Your other option would be to get the site to call an AJAX control every minute and once that request does not come through for a minute clsoe the session and send the bill

Cheers,
Gavin
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Author Comment

by:holtis
ID: 16485794
Ajax could be a possiblity but how reliable would this be ?

One approach could be that one set a time out limit to 20 minutes, on each page request you confirm to the billing database that this session is still acitve(could be a field like "lastupdate") and on each page one could integrate a ajax call that would confirm that the session is still active.

This would mean that when ever the browser is closed we would still know how long the session was active. What would be the main disadvantages of this solution ?

Can a user some how stop the ajax calls(by using the stop buttom in the webbrowser)?
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by:GavinMannion
ID: 16684146
If you enforced Javascript to view the page then it shouldbe quite reliable.

They cannot call stop, however they can process all requests through a personal proxy and stop it there...
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Expert Comment

by:GavinMannion
ID: 16867378
Decent solution offered.
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Author Comment

by:holtis
ID: 16940226
Hi.

Sorry not for replying earlier. None of the ideas really lead to a solution. However this thread can be closed.

Best regards
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