The Google Web Accelerator is back with a vengeance: The Google Web Accelerator is back in a more brutal form than before.
In version 1.0, web masters at least had a fighting chance as the GWA identified its requests with a “X-moz: prefetch” header (as prescribed by Mozilla). Sure, everyone in the world had to change their web applications to fit Google’s vision of a perfect world, but at least they could.
Not so for version 2.0 of this virus. It ships with a brand new mutation: The header is gone! There’s now no way to identify a pre-fetch from a regular request, which means that it’s no longer possible to block the GWA.
But this has prompted people to be aware of something: GET requests should only retrieve data, they should never modify it. This means that URLs like this…
…are bad (unless you have a confirmation screen that POSTs the request instead). Bad, bad, bad. POST that stuff, even if you just have a form with one hidden field (the article ID) and a submit button.
I can’t say I’ve always followed my own advice here, but I should have. GET requests should be harmless. If you modify data, use POST.