Redirect within a javascript file

There often comes a time when you are working on a large project and find a need to refactor javascript resources. Unfortunately, if those assets are accessed by 3rd parties or other code you cannot easily update, you might find yourself stuck.

If you have access to the Tier1 (HTTP server such as ApacheHTTPd) you can often do this within the httpd.conf, or an .htaccess file update. If not, you can always do a simple function within the old javascript file itself, such as the one below.

Put this in the old javascript file location, it is in a closure to prevent the variables from “leaking” into the global namespace.

/* MOVED */
"use strict";
var u='/js/newfile.js';
var t=document.createElement('script');t.type='text/javascript';t.src=u;
var s=document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s);

HTTP Forward vs. Redirect

A Controller servlet may perform either a forward or a redirect operation at the end of processing a request. It is important to understand the difference between these two cases, in particular with respect to browser reloads of web pages.


  • a forward is performed internally by the application (servlet).
  • the browser is completely unaware that it has taken place, so its original URL remains intact
  • any browser reload of the resulting page will simple repeat the original request, with the original URL


  • a redirect is a two step process, where the web application instructs the browser to fetch a second URL, which differs from the original
  • a browser reload of the second URL will not repeat the original request, but will rather fetch the second URL
  • redirect is marginally slower than a forward, since it requires two browser requests, not one
  • objects placed in the original request scope are not available to the second request.

There are several ways to perform a Redirect, here are a few common ones:

  • URL Redirection (HTTP 301):
    HTTP/1.1 301 moved permanently
  • HTTP Refresh Header (Not Recommended)
    HTTP/1.1 200 ok
    Refresh: 0; url=
  • HTML <meta /> tag
    <meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; URL=" />
  • JavaScript (many possible solutions, generally not accessible or searchable)
    <script type="text/javascript">location.href='';</script>

In general, a forward should be used if the operation can be safely repeated upon a browser reload of the resulting web page; otherwise, redirect must be used. Typically, if the operation performs an edit on the datastore, then a redirect, not a forward, is required. This is simply to avoid the possibility of inadvertently duplicating an edit to the database.

More explicitly :

  • for SELECT operations, use a forward
  • for INSERT, UPDATE, or DELETE operations, use a redirect

In HTML, a <FORM> tag can either GET or POST its data. In this context, a GET corresponds to a SELECT-then-forward, and a POST corresponds to an edit-then-redirect.

It is strongly recommended that forms for the input of search criteria should use GET, while forms for editing database records should use POST.

SECURITY NOTE: When using GET, be sure to not expose sensitive data in the URL’s.