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Question about HTTP redirects

From: Watson, Robert C <Robert.C.Watson@scottforesman.com>
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 2005 21:05:04 +0000
To: "'www-qa@w3.org'" <www-qa@w3.org>
Message-Id: <3E0BC146-434F-48A2-8975-AFAAE35FB27A@scottforesman.com>

The page http://www.w3.org/QA/Tips/reback recommends using an HTTP  
However, we have found it necessary to provide "friendly" redirection.
Here's what we do:

User encounters missing page
Server throws 404 status, which is set to go to a custom 404.cfm page
404.cfm gets referrer URL from CGI variables and forwards to friendly
support page using HTTP meta refresh tag (can't use javascripts  
because of
popup blockers and an annoying XP SP2 bug)
Support page uses referrer URL as a key to look up the replacement  
URL for
the missing content
Support page forwards the user to the correct page

My question is, how can sites with hundreds of changing URLs (read:
"Marketing making them up") be manageable using HTTP redirects?  It  
seems to
me that the only sane solution is a relational database that a human
(non-technical admin) can edit through a web interface.

Rob Watson
Web Development Manager
Pearson/Scott Foresman
(847) 486-2621

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Received on Wednesday, 19 October 2005 21:11:50 UTC

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