Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Web Architecture Consultant specializing in open source frameworks.

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Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

Enhancing your GWT Application with the UrlRewriteFilter

Last week, I spent some time trying to change the location of my cache/nocache HTML files in my GWT project. I started the project with the gwt-maven-plugin's archetype. The message I posted to the gwt-maven Google Group is below.

Rather than having my application's HTML file in src/main/java/com/mycompany/Application.html, I'd like to move it to src/main/webapp/index.html. I tried copying the HTML and adding the following to my index.html, but no dice:

<meta name="gwt:module" content="com.mycompany.Application"/>

Is this possible with the gwt-maven-plugin? I'd like to have my main HTML and CSS at the root of my application.

The good news is I figured out a solution using the UrlRewriteFilter that 1) allows hosted mode to work as usual and 2) allows your app to be served up from the root URL (/ instead of / Here's the urlrewrite.xml that makes it all possible.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCENGINE urlrewrite PUBLIC "-// UrlRewrite 3.0//EN"

        <to type="forward" last="true">/</to>
        <to type="forward" last="true">/</to>
    <-- This last rule is necessary for JS and CSS files -->
        <to type="forward">/$1.$2</to>

If you're using the gwt-maven plugin, this file goes in src/main/webapp/WEB-INF. In addition, you'll need to add the following to your web.xml.



Finally, add the UrlRewriteFilter dependency in your pom.xml:


Please let me know if you have any questions.

Update: Jeff posted an alternative configuration that allows you to eliminate the last rule in urlrewrite.xml, as well as use the beloved mvn jetty:run command. To use cleaner WAR packaging and the Jetty plugin, add the following to your pom.xml:

            <baseResource implementation="org.mortbay.resource.ResourceCollection">

Then you can trim your urlrewrite.xml down to:

        <to type="forward" last="true">/Application.html</to>
        <to type="forward" last="true">/Application.html</to>

Of course, you could also change the welcome-file in your web.xml or use index.html and the <meta http-equiv="REFRESH"> option. Personally, I have so much affection for the UrlRewriteFilter that I like having it in my project. I'm sure I'll need it someday.

Thanks Jeff!

Posted in Java at Feb 23 2009, 05:02:29 PM MST 13 Comments

Hi Matt, I'm a regular reader of your website. Great work!

Won't the rule "/$" match anything with a trailing slash in the URL? Is this the behaviour you're after? E

Posted by Elwyn Malethan on February 24, 2009 at 03:52 AM MST #

Hi Matt. No need to do the URL rewrite. Add the maven-war-plugin to your pom and set the <webappDirectory> to "${}/${}/". Run your hosted mode in "noserver" and you can run with the jetty plugin. This gets rid of the nasty package name in the URL. If you want an entire pom that works with the gwt maven plugin, jetty maven plugin, etc, ping me on IM and I will be happy to send you the setup.

Posted by on February 24, 2009 at 09:55 AM MST #

Whoops..last post was from me.

Posted by Jeff Genender on February 24, 2009 at 09:55 AM MST #

@Elwyn - you are correct. The manual suggests using <from>^/$</from>. I tried that and it works. I'll update the post.

@Jeff - I'd definitely be interested in that configuration. Can you post it here (or at least a link to a sample)? Might be easiest to reply to my thread on the gwt-maven mailing list.

Posted by Matt Raible on February 24, 2009 at 10:06 AM MST #

Ok... I answered it in the thread. Its in moderation in their groups, so hopefully you will see it shortly.

Posted by Jeff Genender on February 24, 2009 at 11:00 AM MST #

I've been using UrlRewrite to fake REST style urls with my Spring MVC app. It's a great product.

Posted by Clay Mitchell on March 04, 2009 at 01:02 PM MST #

I am also trying for cleaner url in my gwt application. However, I am not sure about what should I write <to type="forward" last="true">/</to> Can you please suggest

Posted by Asha on March 25, 2009 at 02:39 AM MDT #

In above scenario, how do u access ur application? what url r u using?

Posted by Asha on March 25, 2009 at 03:47 AM MDT #

@Asha - If you've configured UrlRewriteFilter and the war plugin as recommended, you should be able to deploy your WAR to a local Tomcat instance and access it at http://localhost:8080/yourappname.

Posted by Matt Raible on March 25, 2009 at 08:45 AM MDT #

Thanks Matt. I would like to explain in detail. I have a gwt apps, which I am currently accessing as http://localhost:8080/myapp/myapp.html. I want to remove this myapp/myapp.html part from url and replace with some myportal. How would I achieve this using urlrewritefilter. I added rule for this as

        <to type="forward">/myapp/myapp.html</to>

But this does not work. Please suggest.

Posted by Asha on March 25, 2009 at 10:32 PM MDT #

@Asha: the <from> is the url that the user is requesting.

Turn on logging (see and you'll see the webapp name doesn't get passed into the pattern. You want something like <from>/myapp.html</from>.

Posted by Matthew McEachen on July 22, 2009 at 10:42 PM MDT #

Thanks for the tutorial!

In my case, it worked only when I put / followed by the HTML.



Posted by Rodrigo Marini on November 09, 2011 at 07:35 AM MST #

Hey Matt!

I saw your article here on Rewriting and GWT, thought you might be interested in this... extension to

Worth mentioning? :) I think it simplifies this example a good deal (particularly if running in a Servlet 3.0 environment!


Posted by Lincoln Baxter, III on April 11, 2012 at 06:59 AM MDT #

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