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controller in visual force

I am new to Visual force. I am confused with the state of controller. Is controller like a session bean in java? Does it maintain the state of member variables  during the entire session. Or does each request reinitialize the member variables?
Ron HessRon Hess

the page + controller do maintain a view state, variables in the controller, which persists while you are on that page and doing partial page updates.

You can clear the view state with pageReference.setRedirect(true);

 

visiting another page and returning to your page would not, unless you passed variables in on the URL.  those are available in the controller.