Starting a long goodbye to .jsp

We went live with a couple of new features today.

URL rewriting: If you look at your browser’s address bar, for many pages it will now display a shorter address. For example, the “place page” for Evesham is now:

Note that the old address still works:

So what has changed? Behind the scenes, the new address is in fact being rewritten to the old address via a set of “rewrite rules” running at quite a high level within our server. However, from now on we want people to use the new addresses for two reasons:

— They are not tied to particular technology. For example, JSP is short for “Java Server Pages”, and you will see many other sites that instead use ASP (Active Server Pages) or PHP (Personal Hypertext Processor, I think). Any such addresses will change if the site gets hosted on a different kind of server.

— The new addresses have been consciously designed and reflect the underlying structure of our information. As such, they meet the general rules for URIs; Uniform Resource Identifiers. See:


Some more examples of these new addresses:

Evesham Municipal Borough home page:

Population time series for Evesham MB:

It is going to take some time to implement these new addresses across the whole site, and we apologise for any glitches that arise during this process.

New search interface to data documentation: we have been working for some time to make our statistical content easier to access. Another step on the way is a simple keyword search interface for statistics:

Try terms like “unemployment”, “blacksmith” or “Irish Nationalist”. More about that later, once we have made it easier to reach not just the documentation but the actual data.

Humphrey Southall

About Humphrey Southall

Director, Great Britain Historical GIS; Reader in Geography, University of Portsmouth
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