Checking HTML links

Subject: Checking HTML links
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 1997 14:33:54 -0600

Chris Hamilton wondered how to verify the validity and
completeness of HMTL links. One possibility would be to use
a product such as Adobe Sitemill that automates this
process. Alternatively, some of the techniques used for
online help might prove useful:

An approach I intend to use for some online help I'm
currently designing is a flowchart that identifies where
each chunk of text points and what chunks point to it. This
may become unmanageable (i.e., too visually complex)
without creating a series of linked flowcharts,
particularly as the size of the project grows, but it
should provide at least a good high-level overview. The
overview can help you plan how to test the links.

For a lower-level approach, I plan to make a list (on paper
so I can have it beside my computer as I proof the help) of
incoming and outgoing links for each chunk. As part of my
editing, I'll treat these lists as checklists, so I can
confirm that each and every link on the checklist exists
and has been attached to the correct piece of text. This
approach should also identify "orphan" chunks that have no
incoming links.

Warning: I haven't tried out either approach other than for
small projects, but logically they should scale up fairly
well; in any event, the price is certainly right. Any
advice (particulary from those who have tried this and
failed) would be appreciated.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.

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