MS FrontPage

Testing Hyperlinks

A hyperlink that goes nowhere or (horrors!) to the wrong page can really frustrate even your most devoted fans and turn them off.

Again, your best defense is testing all links yourself in a browser, but for the benefit of your mouse-clicking hand, FrontPage can help out. You can check out the flow of your links in Hyperlinks view (Fine Tuning Hyperlink Properties). This is a handy way to get a quick overview of your link pathways. FrontPage also gives you a bunch of reporting options to help you avoid broken links.

Finding Broken Links

When you're moving and editing pages, FrontPage updates links automatically. But broken links can still occur. If you sometimes type URLs in yourself, for instance, you might make a typo and not know it.

It's a good idea to run a quick site-wide check from time to time to make sure all your links lead somewhere. Since it's so easy, you don't have any reason not to.

When you open your site in Reports view, you can see the number of broken links at a glance. Within the Site Summary that automatically appears, find the "Broken hyperlinks" entry and look at the count. If the number is zero, you don't need to worry. If it shows that you've got broken links, click "Broken hyperlinks" to see what they are and correct them.

Checking for Orphaned Files

Sometimes Web pages fall out of the loop. Inevitably, you'll wind up with pages in your site that are orphaned. In other words, no other page in your site links to them. That means it's impossible for a viewer to navigate to the page using hyperlinks. Often, these are pages that have grown out of date. Maybe you removed all links to a page, but never got around to deleting it. Running a check like this could also alert you to links that should be made or fixed.

Checking for and deleting orphaned files can really reduce the size of your site. If you want to keep these pages, but put them back into rotation, you can do that, too. Or you may have a reason for keeping them unlinked. Whatever the case, if you want to see a list of these files, open the site summary report and click "Unlinked files." FrontPage shows all files that have no links leading to them.

You can also select View » Reports » Problems » Unlinked files.

To delete a file, right-click it in the list, and then select Delete. If you want to edit a page in the list, double-click it.

Verifying Hyperlinks

So you included a link to your favorite online surf shop, but your friend just told you that they went out of business months ago. You could have avoided frustrating all those visitors who clicked that link to nowhere.

FrontPage works hard to track and maintain all links within your site (internal hyperlinks). But it has less control over links that lead to other sites (external hyperlinks). Since it can't track them as you edit, FrontPage calls these "unverified hyperlinks." However, if you specifically ask it to, FrontPage can verify that these links do lead to working sites. This way, you'd have known about the surf shop ages ago, and you can also be sure that you haven't misspelled a URL somewhere along the way.

To check these links, you'll need to make sure you're connected to the Internet. Then open your site in Reports view (in the document window, click the Web Site tab and click the Reports button at the bottom of the program window) and select Unverified Hyperlinks from the list of reports. FrontPage prompts you to let it verify hyperlinks. Click Yes. If FrontPage can't find the destination, FrontPage changes the links status to broken. After verify runs, FrontPage clears out the unverified hyperlinks list.

If your site contains unverified hyperlinks, FrontPage asks if you want to verify them whenever you select "Internal hyperlinks" or "External hyperlinks" from the Site Summary report.

Recalculate Hyperlinks

As you work on your pages, FrontPage constantly updates the information it uses to maintain your site. But sometimes things fall through the cracks. For instance, say a colleague edits an included content snippet in Notepad. Since FrontPage doesn't know the file changed, it won't update all the pages that include that snippet.

The program's Recalculate Hyperlinks command reindexes the site. This means, for example, that included content (Included Content) refreshes on all pages, showing the latest changes. You can also use this feature to trigger a scheduled include (Included Content). Run Recalculate Hyperlinks any time you suspect that someone has edited site content outside of FrontPage, or when your site's not behaving as it should.

To do so, select Tools » Recalculate Hyperlinks and click Yes at the prompt. Your cursor changes into an hourglass while the program runs. When the hourglass disappears, the process is complete.