Session: a poor man's global?

As I learn Rails I find myself all too often tempted to dump something into the session hash just because I can't think of a better way to make it briefly persistent (no oxymoron intended!).

For instance, I have report that allows all sorts of changes by the user. He can set filters on the data, sort it in different ways, and so on. Different Actions get involved, but each of them needs to see the underlying data. It makes things a lot easier if they can just pull it from the session. But I always feel a little bit 'dirty' in doing so.

How do others handle these sorts of things?

-George

This is exactly my approach, and I'm working on extracting a plugin
that deals with the find options extraction automatically. Aside from
being able to easily persist to the database, it also makes search
forms a snap. See my writeup at:

http://darwinweb.net/article/Implementing_Advanced_Search_In_Rails_Using_Search_Models

The idea is still somewhat rough in that article, but by the time I
get the plugin done it should be much cleaner to implement.