SUNScholar/Clean URL

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Introduction

The use of a "clean URL" for your web site is generally regarded as best practice, however a DSpace installation without some special tweaking does not deliver a "clean URL".

What is a "clean URL"?

The following are clean URL's;

  1. http://scholar.sun.ac.za
  2. http://open.uct.ac.za
  3. http://repository.up.ac.za
  4. http://repository.hsrc.ac.za
  5. http://repository.uwc.ac.za

In other words the URL does not contain a port number, such as 8080 in it's URL. In addition the URL does not contain a forward slash identifier, for example /xmlui or /jspui, for the web interface to be used.

What is a memorable URL?

The following are memorable (easy to remember) URL's;

  1. http://www.google.com
  2. http://facebook.com
  3. http://scholar.sun.ac.za

A memorable URL therefore, is one that is SHORT, does not have repeating elements in the URL and directly relates to the purpose of the web site and does not promote the software product used to build the web site.

How to create a clean URL for a new DSpace installation

Step 1 - Choose a short, memorable name and therefore persistent URL

Before the installation of DSpace think very carefully about the name and purpose of the repository.

This name will be used in the URL of the repository. It is critically important that once the name has been selected and the proper URL developed, that you NEVER change it, because this will cause a lot of broken links (linkrot) and drastically affect your repository and researchers rankings.

Step 2 - Server network configuration

You need to ensure that the IP address used for the repository is properly registered by your campus network administrator. You also need to ensure that the IP address assigned to server and the DNS record assigned to server are properly configured on the server.

It is essential that you consult with your campus network administrator when completing this configuration.

Step 3 - Default Tomcat server port assginments

When preparing your Tomcat server to deliver the DSpace web application, make sure that the Tomcat server listens on port 80 and 433, not port 8080 and 8443. Ports 8080 and 8443 are used by Tomcat when doing a default installation of Tomcat on a linux server.

The method of installation used in the link above eliminates the need to use the Apache2 web server and therefore reduces the load on the server which therefore increases the responsiveness of your web app!.

Step 4 - Default Tomcat server web apps configuration

When actually deploying the DSpace application using the Tomcat server you need to ensure that you do not end up with a forward URL for the web interface you choose to use.

For example you will end up with: http://scholar.edu/xmlui or http://scholar.edu/jspui if you use the default installation method with Tomcat.

The method used in link the link above eliminates the /xmlui or /jspui in your URL and also ensures that you do not need to redeploy your web apps each time you customise something with one of your DSpace web apps.

This greatly simplifies upgrades and customisation of DSpace.