See my fancy custom URL's? You like? You want? Read on ...
This took me a while to figure out, so I thought I'd make a note of it, hopefully it'll save someone else from having the same problem.
In PHP we regularly need to pass variables from one page to another. The most common way of doing this is through the URL, which is why you see URL's like showthread.php?id=127 and view_article.php?article=483 etc. Wouldn't it be nicer (and more search-engine friendly) to have URL's like www.mysite.com/redirects-using-php or www.mysite.com/php-hints-and-tips ?
I'm going to assume a certain level of knowledge here. If you've read this far, I'll assume that you know what 404 and .htaccess files are, and that you're reasonably proficient in PHP. If not, the following might serve only to confuse ...
My aim for this article was to create a custom 404 page that would redirect the user without changing the URL address bar. For example, if someone entered www.captainash.com/articles/websites, and I was using PHP's header() function to redirect to www.captainash.com/index.php?id=1, the user would see the right page, but the URL address would be changed. I wanted this to happen without the URL rewrite, so the user would still see the /articles/websites URL, but the browser would display the content from the index.php?id=1 page.
If I was using ASP, I could use Server.Transfer but PHP doesn't have an equivalent, so the first step is to edit the .htaccess file to include the line ErrorDocument 404 /not_found.php. You then need to write a new not_found.php that looks through the supplied URL string to search for certain identifiers. In my case, the phrase '/articles/'. Having identified that, the rest of the string (eg 'websites') is used to search the database for an article with the same name. If it finds it, the user can then be redirected. Seeing as we can't use header() I decided to use include() instead.
Here's the problem with that ... you can't supply variables into include(), which means include("index.php?id=1") won't work. You can, however, do the following
header("HTTP/1.0 200 OK");
>> Posted in Websites at 01:05, and viewed 12,531 times
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