Session vs Cookie in Rails

2015-03-07 ·

Rails session makes values available from page to page by storing it in a cookie which expires when the browser closes, e.g

session[:foo] = "bar"
Name    _session_name 
Value   a_base_64_value
Host    localhost
Path    /  

Rails 3 session data is base64 encoded value, while for Rails 4 it is an encrypted value.

A cookie can be set to expire in the future so it still exists even if the browser is closed.

cookies[:foo] = { value: "bar", expires: 3.years.from_now.utc }

Setting a cookie to expire far in the future became common enough that Rails added a special permanent method to implement it, e.g.

cookies.permanent[:foo] = "bar" 
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