In object-oriented programming, the state of an object is the combination of the original values in the object plus any modifications made to them.
The current or last-known status, or condition, of a process, transaction or setting. "Maintaining state" or "managing state" means keeping track of the process. This is an issue on the Web, because the HTTP protocol does not maintain state between one page request and the next. A website needs to keep track of customers that fill a shopping cart with an item, wander off to another page and then come back to complete the order. Likewise, Webmasters like to analyze the routes users take when visiting their sites. In order to maintain state in a stateless environment, cookie files and server protocols such as NSAPI and ISAPI are used.
Maintaining State with Voice Calls
Because everything is chopped into packets by the network, maintaining "state" is also an issue when voice is carried over the Internet (voice over IP). Techniques are devised to simulate the end-to-end connection of a regular telephone call that would "maintain the state of the call." This would readily allow the call to be barged in on, a requirement in certain call centers as well as for emergencies. See cookie
, IP telephony signaling protocol
, Web bug