Home > Articles > Operating Systems, Server > Solaris

Like this article? We recommend

Concepts of the Rewriter

The flexibility of the netlet and the uniqueness of the rewriter is what differentiates the Sun ONE Portal Server from most, if not all, other Portal Server offerings. Understanding how the rewriter works and what necessitates rule configuration is essential to a successful and secure Portal Server deployment. Experimenting with the rewriter before the Portal Server is moved into production will also reduce last minute problems that could be avoided.

Rewriter Verses Browser

Because the rewriter is one of the most highly used and sought after features in the Portal Server, it is constantly undergoing modifications and enhancements. Many Portal Server administrators found out that this content that worked in the SP2, no longer worked in SP3, and newer, versions. One major reason for this difference in behavior was the administrator's reliance (knowingly or not) on the browser to handle the resolution of relative URLs by using the location field as a BASE tag equivalent when the page was rendered.

This was more evident where the gateway component had been deployed as employee-facing secure remote access to an existing Intranet portal. In this particular case, an employee would log in to the gateway and be redirected, not to the Portal Server Desktop, but to their own home page or corporate Intranet portal. The location field in the URL would still have the gateway address prepended to it, and the Portal Server session would remain active, as long as requests continued to be made through the gateway. Relative URLs in the redirected page would be resolved by the location field as long as there was not a BASE tag present in the document.

Where this browser relative path resolution took place actually represented inadequacies in the rewriter itself. It meant that there was content that the rewriter was missing or not interpreting correctly. This was usually acceptable in cases where the browser would be able to help out, but prior to SP3, there were large gaps in rewritten content, such as in the case of imported JavaScript or imported CSS. For instance, in SP2, the SRC attribute in the SCRIPT tag would be rewritten so that the browser would be able to correctly retrieve the JavaScript content, but the JavaScript content itself was not rewritten according to the rules specified in the gateway profile. While some people were seeing favorable results where the browser would handle relative URLs, other people had problems where variables in imported JavaScript content were not being rewritten correctly.

Administrators who deployed the gateway in front of the Sun ONE Portal Server desktop in SP2 found that in SP3, with the new rewriter functionalities, the browser location field no longer could be used for resolution of relative URLs. The reason is that the URLs on the Portal Server desktop are derived from scraped channels or custom providers and cannot be resolved using the document location that contains the gateway URL, server URL, and DesktopServlet in the path.

For instance, consider the following URL:


This URL would not work for a relative URL of ../ for a page scraped from an internal site, other than ips-server because the incorrect server would be referenced by the relative path resolution of the browser.

Relative URLs, which are not rewritten to absolute URLs, should be avoided for the following reasons:

  • The Portal Server wants to be sure that requests to get internal content will always come back to the gateway component.

  • Absolute URLs are used to determine if the URLs need to be rewritten based on their domain and/or subdomain value.

  • Absolute URLs are compared to the profile of the user to see whether or not they have permission to retrieve the specified content.

  • Absolute URLs avoid situations where the browser may resolve a relative path to the incorrect fully qualified path.

Gateway Profile

The gateway profile is a component stored in LDAP with attributes and attribute values used by the gateway for initialization and runtime purposes. Contained in the gateway profile are attributes that are used specifically by the rewriter to determine what content, if any, should be rewritten. To look at the contents of the gateway profile, you can use the ipsadmin command to dump the component into an XML file to view it. Otherwise, you can access the Administration Console, select Gateway Management and Manage Gateway Profile to view the gateway profile. Both of these methods are explained in detail in "Adding and Removing Rewriter Rules" on page 8.

While the gateway profile contains entries for a variety of aspects related to the gateway operation, only those fields and/or attributes directly related to the rewriter will be discussed. Two settings to be aware of that control the overall behavior of the rewriter are the Rewrite All URLs Enabled checkbox and the DNS Domains and SubDomains list. These settings are not mutually exclusive as the checkbox will override any entries for Domains and SubDomains if checked. The remainder of the document assumes that Rewrite All URLs Enabled is checked.

It is worth noting that if Rewrite All URLs Enabled is not checked, any content you wish to have rewritten must have its server domain and subdomain (if one exists) entered in the DNS Domains and SubDomains list. If there is not a subdomain associated with the domain, be sure to put a vertical bar after the domain name. For instance, if you wanted to rewrite every URL that contains iplanet.com, you would add an iplanet.com| entry to the DNS Domains and SubDomains list. If you want to rewrite only certain subdomains within that domain, you would add an iplanet.com|internal entry (internal, in this case, signifies a fictitious subdomain name).

Rule Interpretation by the Gateway

Rules are a means of informing the gateway how to determine if content that passes through it contains a URL that needs to be rewritten. The rules are either strings, or, in some cases, strings containing wildcards, that are used as regular expressions. Each rewriter attribute and/or field in the gateway profile has an associated environment where the rule will apply, and a top down order in which rules will be compared one by one to content within that document or document section to see if there are any URLs which require translation.

One way an environment can be determined is by an HTML tag such as the SCRIPT tag for JavaScript code or the STYLE tag in the case of CSS. Within each environment, there are different data constructs that may require differing syntactical interpretation by the gateway. The JavaScript language, for instance, contains functions that can take function parameters. If one of these function parameters happened to be a URL, a rule would have to be added to the gateway Profile under the Rewrite JavaScript Function Parameters section that would determine the function name and parameter that requires rewriting.

Environments can also be determined by MIME types so that when the content is retrieved by the gateway, it is compared to the appropriate subset of rules and rule values. Imported JavaScript code would contain a MIME type of application/x-javascript extracted from the browser GET request so that when the gateway retrieves the content, it knows what the environment used to rewrite it.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020