• Apache’s Handler Use

    What is a Handler

    Related Modules

    mod_actions
    mod_asis
    mod_cgi
    mod_imap
    mod_info
    mod_include
    mod_mime
    mod_negotiation
    mod_status

    Related Directives

    Action
    AddHandler
    RemoveHandler
    SetHandler

    A “handler” is an internal Apache representation of the action to be performed when a file is called. Generally, files have implicit handlers, based on the file type. Normally, all files are simply served by the server, but certain file types are “handled” separately.

    Apache 1.1 adds the ability to use handlers explicitly. Based on either filename extensions or on location, handlers can be specified without relation to file type. This is advantageous both because it is a more elegant solution, and because it also allows for both a type and a handler to be associated with a file. (See also Files with Multiple Extensions.)

    Handlers can either be built into the server or included in a module, or they can be added with the Action directive. The built-in handlers in the standard distribution are as follows:

    • default-handler: Send the file using the default_handler(), which is the handler used by default to handle static content. (core)
    • send-as-is: Send file with HTTP headers as is. (mod_asis)
    • cgi-script: Treat the file as a CGI script. (mod_cgi)
    • imap-file: Parse as an imagemap rule file. (mod_imap)
    • server-info: Get the server’s configuration information. (mod_info)
    • server-parsed: Parse for server-side includes. (mod_include)
    • server-status: Get the server’s status report. (mod_status)
    • type-map: Parse as a type map file for content negotiation. (mod_negotiation)

    Examples

    Modifying static content using a CGI script

    The following directives will cause requests for files with the html extension to trigger the launch of the footer.pl CGI script.

         Action add-footer /cgi-bin/footer.pl
         AddHandler add-footer .html
    

    Then the CGI script is responsible for sending the originally requested document (pointed to by the PATH_TRANSLATED environment variable) and making whatever modifications or additions are desired.

    Files with HTTP headers

    The following directives will enable the send-as-is handler, which is used for files which contain their own HTTP headers. All files in the /web/htdocs/asis/ directory will be processed by the send-as-is handler, regardless of their filename extensions.

        <Directory /web/htdocs/asis>
        SetHandler send-as-is
        </Directory>
    

    Programmer’s Note

    In order to implement the handler features, an addition has been made to the Apache API that you may wish to make use of. Specifically, a new record has been added to the request_rec structure:

        char *handler
    

    If you wish to have your module engage a handler, you need only to set r->handler to the name of the handler at any time prior to the invoke_handler stage of the request. Handlers are implemented as they were before, albeit using the handler name instead of a content type. While it is not necessary, the naming convention for handlers is to use a dash-separated word, with no slashes, so as to not invade the media type name-space.


    Apache HTTP Server

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