I just wanted to share this thing I had to search a while for.

When making a SPA (Single Page Application) I divided my website into two parts: One part web api and one part static html/js/css, as one usually does. However, I also wanted to use the html5 history api with no hash in the url. For example, imagine that returns a list of users, and when clicking on "Dolly Parton" we change the url to, an ajax request is made to a back-end api, which returns a JSON-string, which is rendered in the view. Now imagine that we bookmark that url and then open it later, what will happen? Well, the server will receive a request for that path and e.g. try to find a directory /users/dolly-parton with an index.html in it, none is found so 404 you get.

In other words, we need to make sure that most incoming paths are routed to our spa index.html so that it can handle the path and show the right view. We also need to still be able to call our back-end api, and we also need to be able to fetch our static html-templates, js- and css-files. In my case I have my api at /api and all my static files in a directory /public.

I'm sure there are many ways to do this, but since I'm running an Web API project I opted for IIS configuration in my web.config. Specifically this:

      <rule name="RewriteUnknownToIndex" patternSyntax="ECMAScript" stopProcessing="true">
        <match url="^(public|api)/.*" negate="true"/>
        <action type="Rewrite" url="/public/index.html"/>

This rule simply says: If the path does not start with "public" or "api", then return /public/index.html.

It is an OWIN application, so there are probably some neat way to do this using the Owin.IAppBuilder (comments are welcome), but right now I decided to go with the IIS config, mainly for the simplicity.