Why do we need rewrite?

Let's say you have a proxy running om and have proxied the site to the directory /remote. The links on the proxied page doesn't know they are being proxied, this can create some problems. But lets start with looking at the three different link types.

The first link will work since it is relative to the content.

The second link is mapped to the root and therefore the browser will request the following page:, but this file isn't found since only files in the directory /remote will be sent to We have to change so that the link points to /remote/myfile.html.

The third link is absolute and therefor the browser will follow it to This works correctly, but only if the remote site is visible to the client. Probably the site being proxied is some internal server not accessible from the outside. We have to change the link to

The rewrite filter

As you should already have learned the proxy is built using a filter that proxies all incoming requests. To make the rewrite work there is another filter supplied, the rewrite filter. The proxy filter will work perfectly fine without a rewrite filter and doesn't have any knowledge of the possibility for links to be rewritten. This makes it just as easy to run the proxy with and without rewriting.

How it works

The current rewriting is done by parsing the html, javascript and css files looking for links using regular expressions.

The reason the proxy is using regular expressions is that it then can use the the same type of parsing to find links in both css and html. There is one other reason for using regular expression over a XML parser, pages aren't writing in XHTML. Since there are so many non XML compatible pages out there using a standard XML parser wouldn't work. There are other options like javax.swing.text.html and changing from regular expressions is something considered for the next versions. There will have to be some measurable performance benefits for doing so however.

Turn on rewrite


The default setting of the proxy is to not do any link rewriting. But you can easily turn the rewriting on by adding the rewrite filter. A alternate web.xml is supplied with the proxy that has rewriting enabled. The file is called web_rewriting.xml and can be found in TOMCAT_HOME/webapps/J2EP_INSTALL_DIR/WEB-INF/. To enable rewriting rename web_rewriting.xml to web.xml, make sure that you overwrite the existing file.

data.xml (config file)

Here are the good news, you don't have to do anything (almost). If you have mapped a site for the proxy all of the links excluding the absolute ones will be rewritten. The reason that the absolute links aren't rewritten is that you might want to leave them as they are and let the user follow those links.

You will probably turn absolute link rewriting on however. To do this, simply add the parameter isRewriting="true" to the server. All absolute links found on a page will be matched to see if we have them mapped in the config. If we have the server mapped and isRewriting is set to "true" absolute links for the server will be rewritten.

All servers doesn't support the isRewriting=”true”, for instance RoundRobinCluster will always do rewriting. Consult the documentation of the servers for more information.

Other form of rewrites

There are two more issues with rewriting. One is when the server says a page has moved and sends a location for the new page, we have to rewrite that location. The other issue is when a cookie is sent from the server, we have to change so the cookie is set for the correct directory. Both of these issues are handled by the proxy without having to do any extra configuration. Logo