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In Dreamweaver CS5 Essential Training, Adobe Certified Instructor James Williamson explores the tools and techniques of Dreamweaver CS5, Adobe's web design and development software. This course covers both the ins and outs of Dreamweaver, as well as recommended best practices for crafting new web sites and files, the fundamentals of HTML and CSS, and how to ensure clean and accessible code. The course also includes how to use tools in Dreamweaver to create and style web pages, manage multiple sites, and add user interactivity with widgets and scripting. Exercise files are included with the course.
When you're working on a site, especially if you have a tight deadline, missing a broken link is incredibly easy to do. Maybe you renamed a graphic in Photoshop, and saved over it without remembering to update your site. Perhaps you reorganized a folder outside of Dreamweaver and forgot to update it once you get back or maybe you just never got around to make it a page after creating placeholder links for it. Regardless, broken links create incredibly negative user experiences and should be avoided at all times. Using Dreamweaver's Link Checker panel you should never have to worry about broken links again.
I have defined the 16_02 as my root directory for this particular chapter. So if you haven't done that, go ahead and do that now. And looking down at my Results panel group, I am going to click on the Link Checker panel and extend that up a little bit. Now, if don't see your Link Checker panel, you can go right up here to Window > Results and choose Link Checker. There we go. Now, the first thing we notice in the Link Checker panel is that we have three options for the types of links that it can check.
We have Broken Links, External Links, Orphaned Files. Orphaned Files are files that were created in your site, but no pages are linking to them. So maybe you created the placeholder page or a page early in the design process and then said "later on I'll get pages to link to it," and you just never got around to it. So you would have a page in your site that nobody can get to and that's a bad thing. So it's really nice that Dreamweaver will go throughout your site and find all the orphan files for you. Now, External Links are going to check the absolute links that you've entered into any pages, and it's going to check to make sure those pages can be found online.
So you need to have an Internet connection while you're doing that. Now, we are going to check Broken Links. Now, this is going to test against multiple types of links including images and links to pages. Really a lot of different types of links as we're going to see when we run our report. So I want to make sure Broken Links is selected, and now I am going to go to the Play button here and I can either check links for any current document I might have open, selected files in your site or what we are going to do which is the entire current local site. So I am going to go ahead and choose that.
It's going to check all the pages in my site for me and it came back with a couple of errors. And what's really interesting about this is the different types of errors that it came up with. One of the things I am going to do is sort this. So I am going to go over to the column for Broken Links and click on that. So it will sort it by link type, and then you can flip those up or down however you would like. And notice the first link when I put tours on top here is tours/tour_detail_calm.htm. And that's not right. So this is a link to a page within the site that obviously isn't right.
So it looks like a little typo happened there when I was entering that link. So what I am going to do is click right there on the link. Notice that if I wanted to, I could very easily come in and just fix that typo myself. Now, I have to hope that is correct. So if I'm worried about making it worse and making another typo, I'm also able to browse right here. I can click the Browse For File icon, and then I can go into the directory that that page is in which in this case is tours. And I can find that tour_detain_ calm right there and click OK.
Now one of the nice things about the Link Checker panel as opposed to the Site Report panel is that when you make a change and you fix a link, let's say hit Return, it's going to away. It removes itself from the list, so as you are clearing out all those broken links, they are going to be removed and you can really tell how much progress you're making. Now, the next one we have is an image. So in addition to broken links to pages, any broken link to an image or a source that points to an image that it can't find, it's going to list one as well. Obviously, this is another typo.
There is a T on the end of lunch, and I know better than that. So I'm going to go ahead and remove that and hit Return. Now, if it's able to find that, it'll disappear from the list. If you just changed the type and you hit Return, if it's not a valid link, it's going to let you know about that. Now, the next three are all exactly the same problem. In three separate files, I'm linking to the wrong CSS file. And again, we just have a misspelling here. So I'm going to highlight this and I am going to browse and I'm going to go up my CSS folder and find main.css.
Now, one of things I want to point out about this is notice that some of these files are in different locations. Gallery is inside the explorer subdirectory. So the resolved path to the CSS file is going to be different for that. But Dreamweaver is really intelligent and it knows that all three of these are trying to link to the same file. So when I fix this one, it's going to ask me, do you also want to fix the remaining broken references to this file? When I say Yes, no matter where they're broken or what the resolved path that is, Dreamweaver is going to figure that out for you based on your site structure and you can see all of those are being cleared out.
That's really cool. That's a huge timesaver, because if, for some reason, may there was a typo in the way that you originally name the file, maybe that's a broken link on 50 pages, you're not going to have to go through and fix it 50 times even if they're in different directories. So that's amazingly helpful. Now, the thing that I love about working with the Link Checker is that I don't have to actually open the documents in order to fix them. It'll catch broken links to pages, graphics, external documents, and it can even check for those orphaned pages that we were talking about a little bit earlier.
Like most maintenance tasks, make sure that you run your Link Checker periodically as well to make sure that your site is fully connected.
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