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mod-rewrite - Can I use a RewriteCond backreference in the PATTERN for the subsequent RewriteRule

While this works as I'd expect (rewrites http://www.whatever.com/BLAH to http://www.whatever.com/test.php):

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/BLAH/ [NC]
RewriteRule ^BLAH/$ test.php [NC,L]

, I was half expecting this to work (both http://www.whatever.com/BLAH and http://www.whatever.com/SCHMLAH being rewritten to http://www.whatever.com/test.php):

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine On
RewriteBase /
RewriteRule ^%1/$ test.php [NC,L]

I have tested that the backreference from the RewriteCond contains a value by tracing it in the substitution of the RewriteRule. It seems that i cannot use a backreference from a RewriteCond in the PATTERN of the RewriteRule.

Is this the case or am I doing something wrong?

1 Solution
You are correct that you can't do that.

Let's establish some baseline terms:

RewriteCond TestString CondPattern
RewriteRule Pattern Substitution

According to the reference:
Using parentheses in 'Pattern' or in one of the 'CondPatterns' causes back-references to be internally created. These can later be referenced ... for creating the 'Substitution' and 'TestString' strings.

There's a diagram in the reference showing what backreferences are available at which points in the processing:

The red arrow in the lower right shows the bit related to your inquiry.  The backreference from the CondPattern is available in the Substitution, but not the Pattern.

I just found a real nice mod_rewrite cheat sheet that is real helpful when you are writing rules and conditions.  You can download it from http://www.ilovejackdaniels.com/apache/mod_rewrite-cheat-sheet/

I hope that Cheat Sheet can help you as much as it has helped me out.
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