15.11 ETag support

An ETag (entity tag) is an HTTP response header returned by an HTTP/1.1 compliant web server used to determine change in content at a given URL. It can be considered to be the more sophisticated successor to the Last-Modified header. When a server returns a representation with an ETag header, the client can use this header in subsequent GETs, in an If-None-Match header. If the content has not changed, the server returns 304: Not Modified.

Support for ETags is provided by the servlet filter ShallowEtagHeaderFilter. It is a plain Servlet Filter, and thus can be used in combination with any web framework. The ShallowEtagHeaderFilter filter creates so-called shallow ETags (as opposed to deep ETags, more about that later).The filter caches the content of the rendered JSP (or other content), generates an MD5 hash over that, and returns that as an ETag header in the response. The next time a client sends a request for the same resource, it uses that hash as the If-None-Match value. The filter detects this, renders the view again, and compares the two hashes. If they are equal, a 304 is returned. This filter will not save processing power, as the view is still rendered. The only thing it saves is bandwidth, as the rendered response is not sent back over the wire.

You configure the ShallowEtagHeaderFilter in web.xml: