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Webapps Policy Manual
Chapter 5 - Dealing with the webserver


5.1 Registering a web application with a web server


5.1.1 Document roots

Web applications should be completely agnostic of the global document root. All placement of content should be compliant with previously mentioned rules, and not make any assumptions about the content existing in other locations, such as /usr/local, /var/www or /srv. Such locations are intended for use at the discretion of the local administrator.

If possible, applications should use the web server's implementation of an "alias" directive. For example, in Apache the directive is named "Alias". For web servers that do not provide such a directive, the local administrator is responsible for placing symbolic links in the document root to make an application accessible to web-users.


5.1.2 Registering and unregistering an application with web servers

To register a web application with a webserver, a package should place the relevant webserver configuration in a file under /etc/PACKAGE if the target web server supports drop-in configuration via a configuration file directory (such as the Apache family of httpds' conf.d directories) or "include" configuration. In the case of the latter, standard Debian policy applies with respect to the modification of the web servers' configuration files. In the case of the former, a symbolic link should be used.

If the target web server does not support either of these configuration mechanisms, the package in question should instead provide the configuration as an example following standard Debian documentation policy.

Such configuration should only be performed during installation. During upgrade web applications must not take any actions to enable or disable the registration of an application, to allow the local administrator to have ultimate control.

Unregistering a web application should be handled by removing the symbolic link in the case of conf.d-style directories. In the case of "include" style directives, standard Debian policy applies to modifying web server configuration files.

During package removal, web applications that register themselves with the web server must unregister themselves.


5.2 Enabling virtual hosting facilities

Web packages should support registration with the system administrator's chosen httpd server under multiple ip based or name based virtual hosts.

Several methods exist for registering a web application with several virtual hosts:

Under no circumstance should one instance of an application interfere with another instance.


5.3 Default web location of package

The static and dynamically interpreted content of a web application should be accessable from, at or underneath http://SERVERNAME/PACKAGE The package's dynamically executed content may also be accessible from http://SERVERNAME/cgi-bin/PACKAGE


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Webapps Policy Manual

Revision: DRAFT-1.10

Alexis Sukrieh
Pascal Hakim
Neil McGovern
Sean Finney
Joey Schulze