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Resolving Absolute Paths of included files from relative paths when using SEO friendly URLs

Thursday, January 12, 2012

How to resolve base paths of your included files when using Htaccess mod rewrite rules for generating SEO friendly URL?

Most of the programmers might have encountered a design break issue while using mod rewrite rule in htaccess to override websites dynamic url with SEO friendly URLs

SEO friendly URLs

Search Engine Friendly URLs are purely structural URLs that do not contain a query string and instead contain only the path of the resource.

A dynamic url may look like:

http://www.awebsite.com/index.php?act=search&key=vacancies
this url may not look so pretty

You can rewrite this to a SEO friendly URL like this

http://www.awebsite.com/search/vacancies

Even though the webpage is called as http://www.awebsite.com/search/vacancies in background server is accessing the actual url of the webpage ie, http://www.awebsite.com/index.php?act=search&key=vacancies

This is done by using mod_rewrite rule in htaccess file.

Apaches mod_rewrite rule is a really sophisticated module which provides a powerful way to do URL manipulations. With it you can do nearly all types of URL manipulations you ever dreamed about.

in the .htaccess file add this

RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^search/([a-z0-9\-_]+)(/)?$ index.php?act=search&key=$1 [L]

ErrorDocument 404 http://www.awebsite.com/index.html



Mod rewrite - design breaks - JS and CSS Includes fails

If you are including JS and CSS file in your web pages using the relative paths like


<head>
<title> PHP techi </title>

<link rel=stylesheet type="text/css" href="include/style.css">
<script language="JavaScript" src="include/scr.js"></script>

</head>


then there is a chance like, you will see you web design break or your JS functions do not work.

this is because when you used the url rewriting the absolute url to the style.css and scr.js files (shown above) becomes :
http://www.awebsite.com/search/includes/style.css
http://www.awebsite.com/search/includes/scr.js

but it is invalid. The valid path for this files are :

http://www.awebsite.com/includes/style.css
http://www.awebsite.com/includes/scr.js

and this is the reason for your design break and JS scrpt failing.

Solution to the problem

Add a BASE tag inside the head tag just before calling all the including files.

The <base> tag specifies the base URL/target for all relative URLs in a document.
The <base> tag goes inside the <head> element.

it looks like the one below:


<head>
<title> PHP techi </title>
<base href="http://www.awebsite.com/" />
<link rel=stylesheet type="text/css" href="include/style.css">
<script language="JavaScript" src="include/scr.js"></script>

</head>


Mod rewrite - Query string checking
Usage of BASE tag
Apache Mod rewrite rule
Apache Mod rewrite Guide



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