A broken link preventer

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Craig Cockburn, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. I have a tool which tells me the number of times that visitors attempt
    to access a link from my site to an external site and what the response
    code received was. In the event of the remote site returning an error
    code, they are not sent to the remote site - why bother, it wouldn't
    work!

    Since I have over 1000 external links, this allows me to locate the
    broken links that people see the most often and fix those first.
    Conventional link checkers offer a complimentary service and detect
    instances of broken links rather than instances of frequency seen.


    The output from the program can generate reports based on time, link
    accessed, page on my site where the link occurred and so on.

    This means that on my site, I now have much better control over what
    happens if the visitor would see a 404 on an external link and I can
    offer them more options.

    Try it out here
    http://www.siliconglen.com/Scotland/2_2.html

    Whilst accepting that broken links are a generally bad thing, this tool
    at least helps me to manage them more effectively.

    comments, feedback welcome. This is an early release so there may be
    bugs but I hope not :)



    --
    Craig Cockburn ("coburn"). http://www.SiliconGlen.com/
    Home to the first online guide to Scotland, founded 1994.
    Scottish FAQ, weddings, website design, stop spam and more!
     
    Craig Cockburn, Dec 6, 2005
    #1
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  2. Craig Cockburn

    Chris Beall Guest

    Craig Cockburn wrote:

    > I have a tool which tells me the number of times that visitors attempt
    > to access a link from my site to an external site and what the response
    > code received was. In the event of the remote site returning an error
    > code, they are not sent to the remote site - why bother, it wouldn't work!
    >
    > Since I have over 1000 external links, this allows me to locate the
    > broken links that people see the most often and fix those first.
    > Conventional link checkers offer a complimentary service and detect
    > instances of broken links rather than instances of frequency seen.
    >
    >
    > The output from the program can generate reports based on time, link
    > accessed, page on my site where the link occurred and so on.
    >
    > This means that on my site, I now have much better control over what
    > happens if the visitor would see a 404 on an external link and I can
    > offer them more options.
    >
    > Try it out here
    > http://www.siliconglen.com/Scotland/2_2.html
    >
    > Whilst accepting that broken links are a generally bad thing, this tool
    > at least helps me to manage them more effectively.
    >
    > comments, feedback welcome. This is an early release so there may be
    > bugs but I hope not :)
    >
    >
    >

    Craig,

    Seems to work here and the suggestions provided to the user are helpful.

    1. Rather than depend on UCSD, I'd suggest you provide your own
    explanation of the error, showing only the one appropriate to the
    immediate situation.

    2. I used Netscape 7.1. When I see a list of links like those in your
    example, I tend to keep the page with the list open in one tab, then
    right click on each link I'm interested in and select "Open in new tab"
    from the resulting popup menu. But something in your code prevents that
    option (and several others) from appearing in the popup.

    Chris Beall
     
    Chris Beall, Dec 6, 2005
    #2
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  3. Craig Cockburn

    Krustov Guest

    <alt.www.webmaster , Craig Cockburn , >
    <>
    <Tue, 6 Dec 2005 02:20:53 +0000>

    > This means that on my site, I now have much better control over what
    > happens if the visitor would see a 404 on an external link and I can
    > offer them more options.
    >


    TMK if a website uses custom 404 pages then it wont show up as a broken
    link .
     
    Krustov, Dec 6, 2005
    #3
  4. Craig Cockburn

    Steve Pugh Guest

    Krustov wrote:

    > TMK if a website uses custom 404 pages then it wont show up as a broken
    > link .


    Sometimes yes. But well configured web servers return 404 headers even
    when displaying a custom 404 page. There are, of course, many badly
    configured web servers out there.

    Steve
     
    Steve Pugh, Dec 6, 2005
    #4
  5. Craig Cockburn

    Philip Ronan Guest

    "Steve Pugh" wrote:

    > Krustov wrote:
    >
    >> TMK if a website uses custom 404 pages then it wont show up as a broken
    >> link .

    >
    > Sometimes yes. But well configured web servers return 404 headers even
    > when displaying a custom 404 page. There are, of course, many badly
    > configured web servers out there.


    I think the most common mistake is to use a fully qualified URL in the
    ErrorDocument directive. For example:

    ErrorDocument 404 http://example.com/error-docs/not_found.html

    will cause the server to issue a 301 redirect header to the error page when
    it can't find the requested document. The eror page will then be served with
    a '200 OK" header.

    It's all explained in the Apache documentation.

    --
    phil [dot] ronan @ virgin [dot] net
    http://vzone.virgin.net/phil.ronan/
     
    Philip Ronan, Dec 6, 2005
    #5
  6. Craig Cockburn

    Matt Probert Guest

    On Tue, 06 Dec 2005 14:15:50 GMT, Philip Ronan
    <> wrote:

    > "Steve Pugh" wrote:
    >
    > > Krustov wrote:
    > >
    > >> TMK if a website uses custom 404 pages then it wont show up as a broken
    > >> link .

    > >
    > > Sometimes yes. But well configured web servers return 404 headers even
    > > when displaying a custom 404 page. There are, of course, many badly
    > > configured web servers out there.

    >
    > I think the most common mistake is to use a fully qualified URL in the
    > ErrorDocument directive. For example:
    >
    > ErrorDocument 404 http://example.com/error-docs/not_found.html
    >
    > will cause the server to issue a 301 redirect header to the error page when
    > it can't find the requested document. The eror page will then be served with
    > a '200 OK" header.
    >
    > It's all explained in the Apache documentation.
    >


    Explained? That's an interesting term to use with regard to the Apache
    documentation! I find the Apache documentation to be slightly less
    intelligible than if it were written in Ancient Greek.

    And as this is being widely cross-posted, perhaps a challenge could go
    out for another techinal author - one who can decipher the Apache
    documentation - to produce a version which can be widely understood.

    Matt


    --
    The Probert Encyclopaedia - Beyond Britannica
    http://www.probertencyclopaedia.com
     
    Matt Probert, Dec 6, 2005
    #6
  7. Craig Cockburn

    Philip Ronan Guest

    "Matt Probert" wrote:

    > Explained? That's an interesting term to use with regard to the Apache
    > documentation! I find the Apache documentation to be slightly less
    > intelligible than if it were written in Ancient Greek.


    This seems perfectly clear to me:

    >> Note that when you specify an ErrorDocument that points to a remote URL
    >> (ie. anything with a method such as "http" in front of it), Apache will
    >> send a redirect to the client to tell it where to find the document,
    >> even if the document ends up being on the same server. This has several
    >> implications, the most important being that the client will not receive
    >> the original error status code, but instead will receive a redirect
    >> status code. This in turn can confuse web robots and other clients
    >> which try to determine if a URL is valid using the status code.


    <http://httpd.apache.org/docs/1.3/mod/core.html#errordocument>

    Where's the problem?

    --
    phil [dot] ronan @ virgin [dot] net
    http://vzone.virgin.net/phil.ronan/
     
    Philip Ronan, Dec 6, 2005
    #7
  8. Craig Cockburn

    Nick Kew Guest

    Matt Probert wrote:

    > Explained? That's an interesting term to use with regard to the Apache
    > documentation! I find the Apache documentation to be slightly less
    > intelligible than if it were written in Ancient Greek.


    OK, here's a simple challenge. Find another complex product with
    documentation that's more readable than Apache's, while not being
    misleading or downright wrong.

    --
    Nick Kew
     
    Nick Kew, Dec 6, 2005
    #8
  9. Nick Kew wrote:
    > Matt Probert wrote:
    >
    >> Explained? That's an interesting term to use with regard to the Apache
    >> documentation! I find the Apache documentation to be slightly less
    >> intelligible than if it were written in Ancient Greek.

    >
    >
    > OK, here's a simple challenge. Find another complex product with
    > documentation that's more readable than Apache's, while not being
    > misleading or downright wrong.
    >


    MySQL
    Microsoft's Visual Studio products
    AutoCad
    Websphere
    Exim

    To start.

    Apache's documentation is some of the worst I've ever seen.

    --
    ==================
    Remove the "x" from my email address
    Jerry Stuckle
    JDS Computer Training Corp.

    ==================
     
    Jerry Stuckle, Dec 7, 2005
    #9
  10. Craig Cockburn

    Nick Kew Guest

    Jerry Stuckle wrote:
    > Nick Kew wrote:
    >
    >> Matt Probert wrote:
    >>
    >>> Explained? That's an interesting term to use with regard to the Apache
    >>> documentation! I find the Apache documentation to be slightly less
    >>> intelligible than if it were written in Ancient Greek.

    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> OK, here's a simple challenge. Find another complex product with
    >> documentation that's more readable than Apache's, while not being
    >> misleading or downright wrong.
    >>

    >
    > MySQL


    Hmmm, that's a very readable manual, too.

    > Microsoft's Visual Studio products


    You must be joking! Where do you find anything that isn't just a
    longwinded explanation of how to use GUI menus? It certainly
    never told me anything that wasn't bleedin' obvious.

    Unlike back in the 1980s, when a microsoft manual was somewhat
    helpful in learning C.

    > AutoCad


    never used it.

    > Websphere


    Put off even looking by the webpages and ambiguous license
    (not sure if that's changed since IBM started to get more
    serious about opensource).

    > Exim


    Well, I chose postfix in preference when I last changed MTA,
    and find postfix's documentation much harder than Apache's -
    though nevertheless adequately workable.

    >
    > To start.
    >
    > Apache's documentation is some of the worst I've ever seen.
    >


    How so? Instead of whinging, how about some constructive criticism
    that might offer some ideas for improving it?

    --
    Nick Kew
     
    Nick Kew, Dec 7, 2005
    #10
  11. Nick Kew wrote:
    > Jerry Stuckle wrote:
    >
    >> Nick Kew wrote:
    >>
    >>> Matt Probert wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> Explained? That's an interesting term to use with regard to the Apache
    >>>> documentation! I find the Apache documentation to be slightly less
    >>>> intelligible than if it were written in Ancient Greek.
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> OK, here's a simple challenge. Find another complex product with
    >>> documentation that's more readable than Apache's, while not being
    >>> misleading or downright wrong.
    >>>

    >>
    >> MySQL

    >
    >
    > Hmmm, that's a very readable manual, too.
    >
    >> Microsoft's Visual Studio products

    >
    >
    > You must be joking! Where do you find anything that isn't just a
    > longwinded explanation of how to use GUI menus? It certainly
    > never told me anything that wasn't bleedin' obvious.
    >
    > Unlike back in the 1980s, when a microsoft manual was somewhat
    > helpful in learning C.
    >
    >> AutoCad

    >
    >
    > never used it.
    >
    >> Websphere

    >
    >
    > Put off even looking by the webpages and ambiguous license
    > (not sure if that's changed since IBM started to get more
    > serious about opensource).
    >
    >> Exim

    >
    >
    > Well, I chose postfix in preference when I last changed MTA,
    > and find postfix's documentation much harder than Apache's -
    > though nevertheless adequately workable.
    >
    >>
    >> To start.
    >>
    >> Apache's documentation is some of the worst I've ever seen.
    >>

    >
    > How so? Instead of whinging, how about some constructive criticism
    > that might offer some ideas for improving it?
    >


    Let's see...

    More examples on how to do things. More information on how different
    commands interrelate. How to effectively use .htaccess (or place those
    commands in your httpd.conf file if you have access to it).

    And how about some developer documentation? There isn't anything other
    than an old Apache 1.x book mainly written for Perl with C as a second
    thought.

    If the documentation is so good, why are there so many messages on
    usenet by people trying to figure out how to do things?

    --
    ==================
    Remove the "x" from my email address
    Jerry Stuckle
    JDS Computer Training Corp.

    ==================
     
    Jerry Stuckle, Dec 7, 2005
    #11
  12. Nick Kew wrote:
    > Jerry Stuckle wrote:
    >
    >> Nick Kew wrote:
    >>
    >>> Matt Probert wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> Explained? That's an interesting term to use with regard to the Apache
    >>>> documentation! I find the Apache documentation to be slightly less
    >>>> intelligible than if it were written in Ancient Greek.
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> OK, here's a simple challenge. Find another complex product with
    >>> documentation that's more readable than Apache's, while not being
    >>> misleading or downright wrong.
    >>>

    >>
    >> MySQL

    >
    >
    > Hmmm, that's a very readable manual, too.
    >
    >> Microsoft's Visual Studio products

    >
    >
    > You must be joking! Where do you find anything that isn't just a
    > longwinded explanation of how to use GUI menus? It certainly
    > never told me anything that wasn't bleedin' obvious.
    >
    > Unlike back in the 1980s, when a microsoft manual was somewhat
    > helpful in learning C.
    >
    >> AutoCad

    >
    >
    > never used it.
    >
    >> Websphere

    >
    >
    > Put off even looking by the webpages and ambiguous license
    > (not sure if that's changed since IBM started to get more
    > serious about opensource).
    >
    >> Exim

    >
    >
    > Well, I chose postfix in preference when I last changed MTA,
    > and find postfix's documentation much harder than Apache's -
    > though nevertheless adequately workable.
    >
    >>
    >> To start.
    >>
    >> Apache's documentation is some of the worst I've ever seen.
    >>

    >
    > How so? Instead of whinging, how about some constructive criticism
    > that might offer some ideas for improving it?
    >


    Oh, and yes, I've found the Visual C++ documentation to be much better
    than Apache's. I've taught a lot of classes in it, and by the end of
    the week (they're one-week corporate classes) the students know enough
    to get good information from the help files.

    Sure, there's a lot on how to use the IDE. But there's a huge amount on
    the Microsoft Foundation Classes, also - and it's very well organized.

    Not to say I'm fond of MFC - I don't think its a great OO
    implementation. But it's workable and well documented (if you load the
    correct help files).


    --
    ==================
    Remove the "x" from my email address
    Jerry Stuckle
    JDS Computer Training Corp.

    ==================
     
    Jerry Stuckle, Dec 7, 2005
    #12
  13. In message <>, Nick Kew
    <> writes
    >Matt Probert wrote:
    >
    >> Explained? That's an interesting term to use with regard to the Apache
    >> documentation! I find the Apache documentation to be slightly less
    >> intelligible than if it were written in Ancient Greek.

    >
    >OK, here's a simple challenge. Find another complex product with
    >documentation that's more readable than Apache's, while not being
    >misleading or downright wrong.
    >

    This is all very well but back at the base article, how about some
    feedback on my broken link preventer?

    --
    Craig Cockburn ("coburn"). http://www.SiliconGlen.com/
    Home to the first online guide to Scotland, founded 1994.
    Scottish FAQ, weddings, website design, stop spam and more!
     
    Craig Cockburn, Dec 7, 2005
    #13
  14. William Tasso, Dec 7, 2005
    #14
  15. Craig Cockburn

    Nick Kew Guest

    Jerry Stuckle wrote:


    > And how about some developer documentation? There isn't anything other
    > than an old Apache 1.x book mainly written for Perl with C as a second
    > thought.


    Yep, that's a gap. Wait for the new book in the new year:)
    Meanwhile, some people find www.apachetutor.org helpful.

    > If the documentation is so good, why are there so many messages on
    > usenet by people trying to figure out how to do things?


    For every person asking on usenet, there are a million just getting
    on with it. Bear in mind, Apache is a product with three times
    Microsoft's market share, and an altogether more helpful community
    standing behind it. Of course there are all kinds of users, from
    the expert, through the newbie capable of reading TFM, to the no-hoper.

    --
    Nick Kew
     
    Nick Kew, Dec 7, 2005
    #15
  16. In article <>,
    Nick Kew <> wrote:

    > For every person asking on usenet, there are a million just getting
    > on with it. Bear in mind, Apache is a product with three times
    > Microsoft's market share, and an altogether more helpful community
    > standing behind it. Of course there are all kinds of users, from
    > the expert, through the newbie capable of reading TFM, to the no-hoper.


    Plus, I've never found a more helpful config file than httpd.conf. A
    whole lot is explained there directly.

    leo

    --
    <http://web0.greatbasin.net/~leo/>
     
    Leonard Blaisdell, Dec 8, 2005
    #16
  17. apache proxy - WAS: [Re: A broken link preventer]

    Writing in
    news:alt.www.webmaster,alt.html,comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html,comp.software.testing
    From the safety of the Studio H cafeteria
    Leonard Blaisdell <> said:

    > In article <>,
    > Nick Kew <> wrote:


    [apache web server]

    >> Of course there are all kinds of users, from
    >> the expert, through the newbie capable of reading TFM, to the no-hoper.

    >
    > Plus, I've never found a more helpful config file than httpd.conf. A
    > whole lot is explained there directly.


    ok chaps, not quite sure what category of user you want to put me in - I
    can take the knocks <g>, but while we have a collection of apache gurus
    clustered around a hot steaming monitor, please indulge me while I repeat
    an earlier question.

    : Greetings One and All
    :
    : I have a domain hosted on linux/apache: http://example.com
    :
    : I use ProxyPass / http://192.168.1.111/
    : and ProxyPassReverse / http://192.168.1.111/
    :
    : to deliver http://site2.example.com from a secondary server that is
    : otherwise not connected to the internet.
    :
    : Is there a similar thingie I can use to deliver
    : http://example.com/resource3 from that same secondary server?
    :
    : Thanks for reading - please let me know if I haven't made myself clear.

    --
    William Tasso

    Save the drama
    for your Mama.
     
    William Tasso, Dec 8, 2005
    #17
  18. Re: apache proxy - WAS: [Re: A broken link preventer]

    In article <>,
    "William Tasso" <> wrote:

    > ok chaps, not quite sure what category of user you want to put me in - I
    > can take the knocks <g>, but while we have a collection of apache gurus
    > clustered around a hot steaming monitor, please indulge me while I repeat
    > an earlier question.
    >
    > : Greetings One and All
    > :
    > : I have a domain hosted on linux/apache: http://example.com
    > :
    > : I use ProxyPass / http://192.168.1.111/
    > : and ProxyPassReverse / http://192.168.1.111/
    > :
    > : to deliver http://site2.example.com from a secondary server that is
    > : otherwise not connected to the internet.
    > :
    > : Is there a similar thingie I can use to deliver
    > : http://example.com/resource3 from that same secondary server?
    > :
    > : Thanks for reading - please let me know if I haven't made myself clear.


    I know far less than you do. I hope Mr. Kew replies. If not, consider
    posting the question in <news:comp.infosystems.www.servers.unix>.

    leo

    --
    <http://web0.greatbasin.net/~leo/>
     
    Leonard Blaisdell, Dec 8, 2005
    #18
  19. Craig Cockburn

    Nick Kew Guest

    Nick Kew, Dec 8, 2005
    #19
  20. Thanks to all for the feedback here and via email on the broken link
    preventer.

    There is now a product page here for more information:
    http://www.siliconglen.com/software/links.html

    Having scratched my head for a bit to come up with a name for a program
    that prevents broken links, I've called it The Broken Link Preventer :)

    There is also a news release out today:
    http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/12/prweb321865.htm

    thanks for all the support, I have received a lot of praise for the tool
    via email.

    Craig

    --
    Craig Cockburn ("coburn"). http://www.SiliconGlen.com/
    Home to the first online guide to Scotland, founded 1994.
    Scottish FAQ, weddings, website design, stop spam and more!
     
    Craig Cockburn, Dec 14, 2005
    #20
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