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Apache模块 mod_proxy_ajp

说明mod_proxy的扩展,提供Apache JServ Protocol支持
兼容性仅在 Apache 2.1 及以后的版本中可用


This module requires the service of mod_proxy. It provides support for the Apache JServ Protocol version 1.3 (hereafter AJP13).

Thus, in order to get the ability of handling AJP13 protocol, mod_proxymod_proxy_ajp have to be present in the server.




Overview of the protocol

AJP13 protocol is packet-oriented. A binary format was presumably chosen over the more readable plain text for reasons of performance. The web server communicates with the servlet container over TCP connections. To cut down on the expensive process of socket creation, the web server will attempt to maintain persistent TCP connections to the servlet container, and to reuse a connection for multiple request/response cycles.

Once a connection is assigned to a particular request, it will not be used for any others until the request-handling cycle has terminated. In other words, requests are not multiplexed over connections. This makes for much simpler code at either end of the connection, although it does cause more connections to be open at once.

Once the web server has opened a connection to the servlet container, the connection can be in one of the following states:

Once a connection is assigned to handle a particular request, the basic request informaton (e.g. HTTP headers, etc) is sent over the connection in a highly condensed form (e.g. common strings are encoded as integers). Details of that format are below in Request Packet Structure. If there is a body to the request (content-length > 0), that is sent in a separate packet immediately after.

At this point, the servlet container is presumably ready to start processing the request. As it does so, it can send the following messages back to the web server:

Each message is accompanied by a differently formatted packet of data. See Response Packet Structures below for details.


Basic Packet Structure

There is a bit of an XDR heritage to this protocol, but it differs in lots of ways (no 4 byte alignment, for example).

Byte order: I am not clear about the endian-ness of the individual bytes. I'm guessing the bytes are little-endian, because that's what XDR specifies, and I'm guessing that sys/socket library is magically making that so (on the C side). If anyone with a better knowledge of socket calls can step in, that would be great.

There are four data types in the protocol: bytes, booleans, integers and strings.

A single byte.
A single byte, 1 = true, 0 = false. Using other non-zero values as true (i.e. C-style) may work in some places, but it won't in others.
A number in the range of 0 to 2^16 (32768). Stored in 2 bytes with the high-order byte first.
A variable-sized string (length bounded by 2^16). Encoded with the length packed into two bytes first, followed by the string (including the terminating '\0'). Note that the encoded length does not include the trailing '\0' -- it is like strlen. This is a touch confusing on the Java side, which is littered with odd autoincrement statements to skip over these terminators. I believe the reason this was done was to allow the C code to be extra efficient when reading strings which the servlet container is sending back -- with the terminating \0 character, the C code can pass around references into a single buffer, without copying. if the \0 was missing, the C code would have to copy things out in order to get its notion of a string.

Packet Size

According to much of the code, the max packet size is 8 * 1024 bytes (8K). The actual length of the packet is encoded in the header.

Packet Headers

Packets sent from the server to the container begin with 0x1234. Packets sent from the container to the server begin with AB (that's the ASCII code for A followed by the ASCII code for B). After those first two bytes, there is an integer (encoded as above) with the length of the payload. Although this might suggest that the maximum payload could be as large as 2^16, in fact, the code sets the maximum to be 8K.

Packet Format (Server->Container)
Contents0x120x34Data Length (n)Data
Packet Format (Container->Server)
ContentsABData Length (n)Data

For most packets, the first byte of the payload encodes the type of message. The exception is for request body packets sent from the server to the container -- they are sent with a standard packet header ( 0x1234 and then length of the packet), but without any prefix code after that.

The web server can send the following messages to the servlet container:

CodeType of PacketMeaning
2Forward RequestBegin the request-processing cycle with the following data
7ShutdownThe web server asks the container to shut itself down.
8PingThe web server asks the container to take control (secure login phase).
10CPingThe web server asks the container to respond quickly with a CPong.
noneDataSize (2 bytes) and corresponding body data.

To ensure some basic security, the container will only actually do the Shutdown if the request comes from the same machine on which it's hosted.

The first Data packet is send immediatly after the Forward Request by the web server.

The servlet container can send the following types of messages to the webserver:

CodeType of PacketMeaning
3Send Body ChunkSend a chunk of the body from the servlet container to the web server (and presumably, onto the browser).
4Send HeadersSend the response headers from the servlet container to the web server (and presumably, onto the browser).
5End ResponseMarks the end of the response (and thus the request-handling cycle).
6Get Body ChunkGet further data from the request if it hasn't all been transferred yet.
9CPong ReplyThe reply to a CPing request

Each of the above messages has a different internal structure, detailed below.


Request Packet Structure

For messages from the server to the container of type Forward Request:

    prefix_code      (byte) 0x02 = JK_AJP13_FORWARD_REQUEST
    method           (byte)
    protocol         (string)
    req_uri          (string)
    remote_addr      (string)
    remote_host      (string)
    server_name      (string)
    server_port      (integer)
    is_ssl           (boolean)
    num_headers      (integer)
    request_headers *(req_header_name req_header_value)
    attributes      *(attribut_name attribute_value)
    request_terminator (byte) OxFF

request_headers have the following structure:

req_header_name :=
    sc_req_header_name | (string)  [see below for how this is parsed]

sc_req_header_name := 0xA0xx (integer)

req_header_value := (string)

attributes are optional and have the following structure:

attribute_name := sc_a_name | (sc_a_req_attribute string)

attribute_value := (string)


Not that the all-important header is content-length, because it determines whether or not the container looks for another packet immediately.

Detailed description of the elements of Forward Request

Request prefix

For all requests, this will be 2. See above for details on other Prefix codes.


The HTTP method, encoded as a single byte:

Command NameCode

Later version of ajp13, will transport additional methods, even if they are not in this list.

protocol, req_uri, remote_addr, remote_host, server_name, server_port, is_ssl

These are all fairly self-explanatory. Each of these is required, and will be sent for every request.


The structure of request_headers is the following: First, the number of headers num_headers is encoded. Then, a series of header name req_header_name / value req_header_value pairs follows. Common header names are encoded as integers, to save space. If the header name is not in the list of basic headers, it is encoded normally (as a string, with prefixed length). The list of common headers sc_req_header_nameand their codes is as follows (all are case-sensitive):

NameCode valueCode name

The Java code that reads this grabs the first two-byte integer and if it sees an '0xA0' in the most significant byte, it uses the integer in the second byte as an index into an array of header names. If the first byte is not 0xA0, it assumes that the two-byte integer is the length of a string, which is then read in.

This works on the assumption that no header names will have length greater than 0x9999 (==0xA000 - 1), which is perfectly reasonable, though somewhat arbitrary.


The content-length header is extremely important. If it is present and non-zero, the container assumes that the request has a body (a POST request, for example), and immediately reads a separate packet off the input stream to get that body.


The attributes prefixed with a ? (e.g. ?context) are all optional. For each, there is a single byte code to indicate the type of attribute, and then a string to give its value. They can be sent in any order (thogh the C code always sends them in the order listed below). A special terminating code is sent to signal the end of the list of optional attributes. The list of byte codes is:

InformationCode ValueNote
?context0x01Not currently implemented
?servlet_path0x02Not currently implemented
?req_attribute0x0AName (the name of the attribute follows)

contextservlet_path are not currently set by the C code, and most of the Java code completely ignores whatever is sent over for those fields (and some of it will actually break if a string is sent along after one of those codes). I don't know if this is a bug or an unimplemented feature or just vestigial code, but it's missing from both sides of the connection.

remote_userauth_type presumably refer to HTTP-level authentication, and communicate the remote user's username and the type of authentication used to establish their identity (e.g. Basic, Digest).

query_string, ssl_cert, ssl_cipher, and ssl_session refer to the corresponding pieces of HTTP and HTTPS.

jvm_route, is used to support sticky sessions -- associating a user's sesson with a particular Tomcat instance in the presence of multiple, load-balancing servers.

Beyond this list of basic attributes, any number of other attributes can be sent via the req_attribute code 0x0A. A pair of strings to represent the attribute name and value are sent immediately after each instance of that code. Environment values are passed in via this method.

Finally, after all the attributes have been sent, the attribute terminator, 0xFF, is sent. This signals both the end of the list of attributes and also then end of the Request Packet.


Response Packet Structure

for messages which the container can send back to the server.

  prefix_code   3
  chunk_length  (integer)
  chunk        *(byte)

  prefix_code       4
  http_status_code  (integer)
  http_status_msg   (string)
  num_headers       (integer)
  response_headers *(res_header_name header_value)

res_header_name :=
    sc_res_header_name | (string)   [see below for how this is parsed]

sc_res_header_name := 0xA0 (byte)

header_value := (string)

  prefix_code       5
  reuse             (boolean)

  prefix_code       6
  requested_length  (integer)


Send Body Chunk

The chunk is basically binary data, and is sent directly back to the browser.

Send Headers

The status code and message are the usual HTTP things (e.g. 200OK). The response header names are encoded the same way the request header names are. See header_encoding above for details about how the the codes are distinguished from the strings.
The codes for common headers are:

NameCode value

After the code or the string header name, the header value is immediately encoded.

End Response

Signals the end of this request-handling cycle. If the reuse flag is true (==1), this TCP connection can now be used to handle new incoming requests. If reuse is false (anything other than 1 in the actual C code), the connection should be closed.

Get Body Chunk

The container asks for more data from the request (If the body was too large to fit in the first packet sent over or when the request is chuncked). The server will send a body packet back with an amount of data which is the minimum of the request_length, the maximum send body size (8186 (8 Kbytes - 6)), and the number of bytes actually left to send from the request body.
If there is no more data in the body (i.e. the servlet container is trying to read past the end of the body), the server will send back an empty packet, which is a body packet with a payload length of 0. (0x12,0x34,0x00,0x00)