Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
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Ben Nadel at CFUNITED 2010 (Landsdown, VA) with: Scott Stroz and Vicky Ryder and Ray Camden

ColdFusion 404 Handling Makes Sub Domain Redirects Hard

By Ben Nadel on

My site runs on the handling of 404 Page Not Found IIS errors within ColdFusion. It is through this mechanism that I am able to translate things like:

... into:

This has been really cool for search engine optimization, but has certainly added some complexity to the page load process. What I have in place has been really good. Except now, I want to add a global 301 permanent redirect for users that access the site without the "www" sub domain. This way, Google and other search engines won't think that and are not two different sites.

At first, I thought this would be really easy: All I was gonna have to do is put some logic in my Application.cfc OnRequestStart() event method that would check the current URL, do some CFHeader magic, and then return FALSE (such that the rest of the page wouldn't render - an awesome use case for returning FALSE in an Application.cfc event handler). The problem is, since I am using 404 redirects, the "page" that I am actually firing is the error handling page and NOT the page that was original requested by the end user.

Arrrrg! Now, I need to go back an re-evaluate my whole page load process (it's been a long, long time since it was built). I think I can really move some stuff around and make it work a whole lot nicer. It was an experimentation at the time of construction; now, I think I have the understanding to go back and make it sweet-ass-sweet.

Now don't get carried away and tell me I should just use something like ISAPI_Rewrite or Mod-Rewrite (I don't have access to that sort of mumbo-jumbo on my server). I know I can do an easy All-ColdFusion solution; it's just a matter of sitting down and really thinking out the page request process and standardizing the way I refer to variables (ie. Using an internal CGI representation vs. the CGI object).

More to come...

Reader Comments

"Now don't get carried away and tell me I should just use something like ISAPI_Rewrite or Mod-Rewrite (I don't have access to that sort of mumbo-jumbo on my server)."

That had me cracking up.

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Are you trying to make me sad that I only run on a CFMX 7 box - maybe you'd like to kick my dog while you're at it :)

J/K... I can't wait to be on an CF8 machine. Sooo much cool stuff in CF8 (such as OnMissingTemplate()).

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Also, that "kick my dog" thing was a reference to an old ESPN commercial - not sure if anyone will pick up on that :)

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If you are using Application.cfc, CF8+, you should be able to use onMissingTemplate() AND only if they requested a CFM/CFC page. If you request a non-ColdFusion page, however, you either have to rewrite the request (ala mod_rewrite or IIS Mod-Rewrite) or handle it via 404 error handling.

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