Remember me

No, it’s not about the song …

Remember me (From Coco, Disney/Pixar)

It’s about those tickboxes we’re all so familiar with, and yet, are we?

Remember me. Keep me Signed-in. Keep me logged in.

Some people always tick them. Some people never tick them.

Most people haven’t got a clue what they do.

And honestly, it took me some time to work out what exactly Devise’s rememberable actually does.

Rememberable manages generating and clearing token for remembering the user from a saved cookie. Rememberable also has utility methods for dealing with serializing the user into the cookie and back from the cookie, trying to lookup the record based on the saved information. You probably wouldn’t use rememberable methods directly, they are used mostly internally for handling the remember token.

Yeah. Sure. Exactly.

Survey

I did a mini survey at my company, to see what people make of it, since we actually have it on our login page.

People kinda knew, but also nobody totally got it right.

Back to the Future

The reality is that browsers essentially rendered this option obsolete. For good reasons. I can only describe it as a relic from time long gone by. A time when browsers had one window (no tabs), and when a household would have one computer that the entire family shared.

Back then, when you closed your browser, would it forget you? or keep you logged-in to your Geocities or Myspace account?

Remember me?

This stuff is as useful as a Discman! Well, actually your Discman won’t lie to you. Those boxes will.

The thing is, modern browsers (rightfully) want to make our lives easier. They keep our tabs open. They remember exactly where we were. Including session cookies. So they generally remember everything for you. Whether you ticked the box or not.

So what’s the point?

Virtually none. At best, it’s just a distraction. But even worse, it’s confusing, it can give you a false sense of security if you expect your browser to forget your login simply because you didn’t tick that box.

Now I love double negatives as much as the next person, but you can agree with me that it’s virtually the only way to explain this. Right?

If you don’t check the option to remember your login, you might expect your browser to forget you. But, well, It doesn’t forget you that easily.

Aha!

Throw away your Discman, and with it your Remember me tickboxes. Nobody will notice when they’re gone.

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