#663 ✓invalid

UrlDecoder for request path fails when parsing request

Reported by mateas | March 18th, 2011 @ 03:47 PM

When Play! decodes request path containing query string with encoded unicode characters such as %u00e4 play! fails with IllegalArgumentException:

java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: URLDecoder: Illegal hex characters in escape (%) pattern - For input string: "u0"

Framework version: 1.1.1

Reproduction steps: http://localhost:9000/anypath?myparam=someValue%u00e4includingUnico...

PlayHandlers.parseRequest(ChannelHandlerContext ctx, HttpRequest nettyRequest) decodes the full path including the query string which fails when query string contains "illigal" characters.

Only decode the path excluding the query string (which Play! already does if query string is present)

The bug causes problems for url backward compatibility from a previous system.

Comments and changes to this ticket

  • Morten Kjetland

    Morten Kjetland April 24th, 2011 @ 10:40 PM

    • State changed from “new” to “invalid”
    • Assigned user set to “Morten Kjetland”

    I think the cause of this problem is that your url should have been URLEncoded in the first place:

    The the url would have looked like this:


    And it would end up like the original url after it has been URLDecoded.

  • mateas

    mateas April 27th, 2011 @ 12:23 PM

    Yes, the values are not encoded using url encoding standards, I agree on that. Its encoded using some library with a non-standard implementation rejected by W3C described here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percent-encoding#Non-standard_implementations

    Although, as I wrote in the initial request this cases problems for backward compatibility with a previous system. It is not possible to change the original URLs as they are created in a legacy web app and are bookmarked by users and partners all over the web. The new web solution (our Play! app) require to be backward compatible with these URLs but Play makes this very hard since Play! crashes before our rewrite Play! plugin can handle the request.

    The submitted patch did not change the outcome of the request decoding. It simply made the query string parameters not to be included when decoding the request which was the original case.

  • Guillaume Bort

    Guillaume Bort April 27th, 2011 @ 03:59 PM

    It is better to keep your fix and apply it yourself on Play. Applying patch like this one make the overall framework more fragile, and anyway we can't guarantee that these kind patch will work as expected on future versions.

  • Morten Kjetland

    Morten Kjetland April 27th, 2011 @ 04:28 PM

    one possible solution would be to include a new param called rawQueryString, which contains the queryString as received without performing any decoding on it..

    and if the decoding fails, we only skip adding the decoded params.. I don't think I like this solution.

    What if:

    We include another method in PlayPlugin:

    public String preUrlDecoding(String url);

    I'm no sure about that one either...

    But on the other hand we should make it possible to re-implement legacy applications in Play.

    What do you think Guillaume?

  • Guillaume Bort

    Guillaume Bort April 28th, 2011 @ 03:12 PM

    The submitted patch did not change the outcome of the request decoding. It simply made the query string parameters not to be included > when decoding the request which was the original case.

    Is there a patch for this? I don't find it.

    One way would be to ignore errors and continue. Anyway the request.queryString value already contains the raw queryString, right?

  • mateas

    mateas April 29th, 2011 @ 07:42 AM

    Yes, I made a pull request with my patch.
    See https://github.com/playframework/play/pull/150

    This patch just ignores the query string when decoding, the same thing the original code does but with minor modifications.

  • Morten Kjetland

    Morten Kjetland June 5th, 2011 @ 07:10 AM

    • State changed from “invalid” to “new”

    I tried pull on master but it didn't work due to changes. I've updated pull with comment

  • Morten Kjetland

    Morten Kjetland June 16th, 2011 @ 08:35 PM

    • State changed from “new” to “invalid”

    Closing this due to missing response from mateas

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  • John Smith

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    We had a similar issue in our angular application where we were encoding % sign once in client side code. When we received the value in servlet it was already decoded due to request.getParameter(). Since we already had URL decoder in our sever side code, decoding the % sign twice was causing a "URLDecoder: Incomplete trailing escape (%) pattern" exception. We figured out that we we should not encode and decode % as a value at all to get face this issue.

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