Cookie control and interface

Matthew Hambley lists at
Fri Jan 18 10:58:09 GMT 2008

I have held off mentioning this so far as I don't have time to work on it
myself. However I see jmb has just committed a patch relating to cookies so
maybe these ideas can feed into that work.

I would like to see a mechanism where cookies are accepted and rejected
based on the URL of their parent server. What I don't want, however, is a
solution like the one used by every other browser I have seen which offers
a similar feature. Namely modal yes/no dialogues for every damn cookie.

The reason:
  1) Initiate page load
  2) Accept/Reject page's cookies
  3) See the page and realise it isn't what you wanted
  4) Try to backtrack or close window but can't because you are now being
     prompted about some add agencies cookie
  5) Reject cookie
  6) Try to backtrack or close but can't because of some other add agencies
  7) Rinse and repeat.

I'm not sure what the ideal interface is but it would probably include a
list of cookies awaiting a decision. This would then allow you to accept
reject a particular cookie, a particular site or maybe a RegEx of the URL.
Such decisions would remove one or more cookies from this pending list but
may cause new ones to be added.

I'm not sure that description is very clear so here's a walk-through of a
typical session to illustrate it:
  1) Initiate page load
  2) Page includes cookies which are presented to user.
     The page can be displayed at this point but no further fetches can be
     initiated until the user makes a decision on the cookies.
  3) User makes a decision. The cookies affected by this decision are
     removed from the list and pending fetches (images, etc) which are
     blocked on those cookies can be initiated.
  4) If there are cookies attached to any of these new fetches they will be
     appended to the list.

The advantage I see in this is a much less intrusive interface. If you are
going to a page purely for textual information you may well be happy to
ignore the whole issue of cookies while you read the page, then move on to
a different page. In other cases you may want to pick and choose which
cookies you want. This may be eased by being able to see all the cookies
being offered at a particular time.

I appreciate this represents a lot of work which is why I didn't want to
suggest it while I couldn't offer assistance. I offer it now for comment in
the light of work currently being done in the cookie system.


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