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From Stephen Mencik <st...@mencik.com>
Subject general/4213: .htaccess skipped when IE5 has friendly error messages set
Date Fri, 09 Apr 1999 02:31:14 GMT

>Number:         4213
>Category:       general
>Synopsis:       .htaccess skipped when IE5 has friendly error messages set
>Confidential:   no
>Severity:       non-critical
>Priority:       medium
>Responsible:    apache
>State:          open
>Class:          sw-bug
>Submitter-Id:   apache
>Arrival-Date:   Thu Apr  8 19:40:01 PDT 1999
>Originator:     steve@mencik.com
>Release:        Apache/1.2.4 FrontPage/3.0.3
Linux frontpage.sslnet.com 2.0.34 #3 Wed May 13 09:24:39 CDT 1998 i686
When using .htaccess to provide custom error documents using the 
ErrorDocument directives, and browsing with MS Internet Explorer
release 5, with the "friendly HTTP error messages" setting enabled,
the .htacess file is skipped.
Use IE5 with the setting off and then on and access http://mencik.com/test.html which does
not exist. Notice the difference.

Now, the script that I use checks if the file not found ends in ".htm"
or ".html" and tries again with the ".shtml" ending. I did this because
I changed all my files to use SSI for statistics purposes. Anyway, try
accessing http://mencik.com/bs.html and with the "firendly error messages"
turned off, the server will check the .htaccess file and will deliver
the http://mencik.com/bs.shtml file. If you access http://mencik.com/bs.html
with "friendly error messages" turned on, you will get the "friendly error
message" instead of the correct page.
My guess is that the server is returning the error code to the client before
checking the .htaccess file. Normally the client does nothing with this,
waiting instead for the server to return the error document. That gives the
server time to check the .htaccess file and follow the script. With the
smarter client, it uses that error code to provide it's own message, and doesn't
wait for the server. Suggest that if this is the case, the error code should
not be returned until after the .htacess directives are processed.
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