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From Justin Ruthenbeck <>
Subject [OT] Webapp upgrades and browser caching
Date Thu, 07 Oct 2004 17:45:51 GMT

I'm looking for some advice about how to handle the following situation.

(1) Apache 2.x in front of Tomcat 5.x
(2) Deploy new web application.  Bunch of servlets, bunch of jsps, bunch 
of static content (mainly js, css).
(3) Many users use the application, during which time their browsers 
cache lots of static content
(4) We do a major version upgrade of the webapp, including (almost) all 
new static content, but URLs stay the same (to alleviate 
bookmark-maintenance requirements).

The problem arises when the browsers continue to use their cached version 
of the static content.  Now, the browsers eventually get updated, but 
immediately after deployment there are huge numbers of graphical and 
functional (js files) problems.  It seems like behavior in this area is 
widely different amongst browsers and/or their settings.

I have only come up with the following option:

(1) Play with URLs.  New deployments can be deployed under
     a different url domain like:
     This would force browsers to get new content since the
     content appears as totally new content to the browser.

Aside from disabling static content caching, are there any other options 
out there?

Much thanks for the help!

Justin Ruthenbeck
Lead Software Engineer, NextEngine Inc.
justinr - AT - nextengine DOT com
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