Software Technology Tips

The purpose of writing this tip is that somedays before I  was almost lost in my current project. It was miserable for me to find out how  and where a particular event is fired to execute a particular functionality  though it was understandable that the event was fired because whenever I changed  something in the event-handler of that particular event the changes were  reflecting in the application. Then after a lot of searching and researching I  found out a new thing (for me) called “URL Rewriting” as the cause of  this happening. Now, lets discuss briefly about the concept “URL  Rewriting”.


The URL Rewriting rule is one the best concept we can use  for increasing the searching capability and usability of the developed websites  by us in the search engines.

Ex: We have created an application in ColdFusion which  contains the product searching feature. So whenever we like to search some  product like 'pencil' or anything, a particular ColdFusion service is called or  an event is fired to call that service to give us all the data regarding the  search resullts of pencil from the database. So, our URL in the web browser for  that functionality will be almost like: ( in general )                                    

Now, from the above URL we cannot get a clear idea about  what we are willing to search. And, it is also a littlebit difficult to remember  the URL for searching as well as to read out to someone else to use it for  searching. Instead of the above URLs if we will use the following URLs in the  browser :

Then, from the URL also we can say that we are searching  for pencils and its not at all difficult to remember the URL. And also we cannot  say by seeing the URL that which technology we have used for the application  which is good.

Now, the thing is how our server will know what to  process when it gets the request through the last URL of the above so that it  can return the user the actual data ( here the results of searching 'pencil'  ).

So, the technique of translating the URLs like the above  last one internally which the server can understand to process the particular  event or service for that functionality ( here the 'pencil' searching  ).

HOW TO DO “URL Rewriting”  :

To use URL Rewriting we need to first create a  file called '.htaccess.txt' or 'rules.htaccess.txt' to contain all the rules to  change or translate the URLs and put it under the root folder of the server in  our system. If previously the root directory contains this file, then we should  edit it instead of overwrite it.


RewriteRule  ^products/([A-Za-z0-9-]+)/?$ /search_product.cfm&product=$1 [QSA,L]  # Handle requests for  "pencil"

The above rule will translate the URL like  :


to the translated URL  internally for the server to understand and for executing a particular event or  service to get the results :

There are also a lots of  rules for translating the URLs. I will provide some links for the tutorials of  these rules at the end of this tip.

But depending on the  software our server is running we will have the access of these URL Rewriting  modules. In Apache server we can have the easiest way to run the URL Rewriting  because the built-in URL Rewriting module of this  server.

In IIS7, we can have its ownMicrosoft URL Rewrite Module 2.0 for this purpose while in the earlier versions of the IIS, we should install some add-ons like “ISAPI_Rewrite ” to rewrite the URLs.

Now, I am giving the content of the entire .htaccess.txt  file :

RewriteEngine On # Turn on  the rewriting engine

RewriteRule ^products/([A-Za-z0-9-]+)/?$  /search_product.cfm&product=$1 [QSA,L] # Handle requests for  "pencil"

Above, the first line is  for telling the server to turn on the rewrite engine and the second line is the  rule of the URL rewriting. We should write the first line only once per a  .htaccess file.

The link to follow for the vast tutorial on URL  Rewriting:


Related Tags:

URL Rewriting, Website Searching, ColdFusion

Author: Pausali Sanyal


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