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mod_rewrite & .htaccess custom variables for Apache

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Joined: 15 Oct 2002
Posts: 3011
Location: NW England, UK
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 3:51 pm    Post subject: mod_rewrite & .htaccess custom variables for Apache Reply with quote

Something that took me months to work out when using mod_rewrite in .htaccess was how to store information and reuse it over and over again, ie: create custom variables in .htaccess

There seem to be masses of hints that this is possible, but very little actual substance, until I finally figured it by combining some of the hints with lots of testing. So I thought it might be useful to add a note about how to do this.

You create mod_rewrite variables thus:

RewriteCond  %{REQUEST_URI}  ^/category_abc/
RewriteRule .* - [E=cat_id:1]

RewriteCond  %{REQUEST_URI}  ^/category_def/
RewriteRule .* - [E=cat_id:2]

- The E= tells Apache we're creating a new ENV variable.
- The cat_id is the name of the variable we're creating
- The :x is the value of the variable (simple key : value syntax).

Now an example of using the custom environment variable:

RewriteRule ^category_[a-z]+$   outputscript.php?cat_id=%{ENV:cat_id}

If the URL comes through as say www.example.com/category_abc/ then internally we'll call "outputscript.php?cat_id=1".

Obviously things can get a lot more complicated than this but just remember to use the syntax %{ENV:variable_name} to pickup the value of the ENV variable and you should be fine. Those are curly brackets btw.

Hopefully that will help save someone months of frustration and hassle. If used properly it can reduce your .htaccess files by a huge amount.

Mad Theories - Ambleside - Coniston - Grange
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