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What is URL rewriting?

URL rewriting is a method of session tracking in which some extra data is appended at the end of each URL. This extra data identifies the session. The server can associate this session identifier with the data it has stored about that session.
Every URL on the page must be encoded using method HttpServletResponse.encodeURL(). Each time a URL is output, the servlet passes the URL to encodeURL(), which encodes session ID in the URL if the browser isn't accepting cookies, or if the session tracking is turned off.
E.g., http://abc/path/index.jsp;jsessionid=123465hfhs
URL rewriting works just about everywhere, especially when cookies are turned off.
Multiple simultaneous sessions are possible for a single user. Session information is local to each browser instance, since it's stored in URLs in each page being displayed. This scheme isn't foolproof, though, since users can start a new browser instance using a URL for an active session, and confuse the server by interacting with the same session through two instances.
Entirely static pages cannot be used with URL rewriting, since every link must be dynamically written with the session state. It is possible to combine static and dynamic content, using (for example) templating or server-side includes. This limitation is also a barrier to integrating legacy web pages with newer, servlet-based pages.

Every URL on a page which needs the session information must be rewritten each time a page is served. Not only is this expensive computationally, but it can greatly increase communication overhead.
URL rewriting limits the client's interaction with the server to HTTP GETs, which can result in awkward restrictions on the page.
URL rewriting does not work well with JSP technology.
If a client workstation crashes, all of the URLs (and therefore all of the data for that session) are lost.

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