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A configurable resource for mapping URIs to software assets

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000033303D
Original Publication Date: 2004-Dec-06
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2004-Dec-06
Document File: 4 page(s) / 85K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

A configurable resource for describing a mapping from an HTTP scheme URI to the physical software assets in a web server is described. The resource can be used in reverse to decouple web client application programs from the external URIs that they access.

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A configurable resource for mapping URIs to software assets

A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or Universal Resource Identifier (URI) is a generic identifier for Internet resources. This disclosure is specifically concerned with the subset of URIs that are used by HTTP clients and servers, which implement the HTTP protocol. It describes a configurable resource that aids the definition of the mapping of such URIs into software entities that return responses from an HTTP server, or that assists an HTTP client program to locate such a URI in an easily configurable way. Individual mapping definitions can be installed, enabled, disabled and destroyed independently of the state of other definitions.

    The format of a URI is described in the RFC (Request For Comments) RFC2396 at <http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2396.txt>. In the HTTP protocol (described by RFC2616 <http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2616.txt>), it is the server's responsibility to accept such a URI, to analyze it to determine a physical asset that the name represents, and then to return the physical asset to the client. The asset may be the contents of a static file, or dynamic content that is the result of executing a script or program. Typical web servers handle the mapping of URIs to physical assets by referencing a configuration file, usually httpd.conf, which can contain a list of complete or partial URIs together with the physical resources that they represent. In order to change the representation of URIs that are managed by the server, the server's administrator has to edit the configuration file and then schedule the updated configuration file to be brought into use. Editing the file is likely to be error-prone as there is a lack of cross-checking of the individual entries within the configuration file, although tools do exist for aiding this process. After it is edited, the configuration file has to be refreshed as a single event, which therefore affects the entire configuration at a stroke.

    A separate problem, is as follows: Although a typical HTTP client has traditionally been a web browser, which accepts URLs directly from a person through a graphical user interface, a new class of HTTP client programs is arising where the target URL is not a human-readable file but a program-oriented message such as a Web Service. In such a non-browser HTTP client, it is desirable not to include the name of the target URI within the application program since this requires a program change if ever the target URI changes. It is better from an administrative point of view to have the target URI configured outside the application program. This disclosure describes an indirect specification for such URIs.

The urimap resource

    This article introduces a configurable resource herein called a urimap. In a server system, the urimap resource represents a mapping from the incoming URI into the software asset that the URI represents. By using generic name matching, a single urimap can represent a whole c...