The Most Annoying Yet Most Important Task in Website Management
Post from October 16, 2008 (↻ August 27, 2021), filed under Web Development.
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…is link checking. There are tools out there, en masse, but it’s annoying to run after professionals who neglect online basics or don’t know how to set up redirects—and with that waste other people’s time.
Even though I regularly do QA this doesn’t mean I myself am always handling this perfectly. Yet whenever I check links, it’s striking to me to see so many people change URLs without thinking. And I wonder, sometimes with a goal of sending people away? Link checking is not a fun job, and, in an ideal world, shouldn’t be necessary. It shouldn’t, and yet it’s so important. (RIP.)
I’m Jens Oliver Meiert, and I’m an engineering manager and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to the W3C and the WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. Other than that, I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
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Urgh, *raises hand* I’m totally bad at doing this. Just yesterday I found at that the URLs for enclosures in my RSS feed were wrong, and had been for weeks.
As an individual doing a personal project, I tend to just polish, polish and polish until I get to 99% and then “just ship it” and deal with the 1% failures afterwards 😛
Note to developers:
CHECK THE 404S IN YOUR LOGS!
It’ll reveal a whole world of mistakes
Yep, that’s totally true. I always do a double check on old links and redirect them through htaccess after I’ve made changes to site structures.
It can spare you lots of trouble and frustrated visitors (who might not come back again).
On November 11, 2008, 6:00 CET, Ann Arbor Web Designer said:
I couldn’t agree more with you. Its a tedious process but it pays rich dividends.
On April 16, 2009, 5:08 CEST, hari said:
yap! I am agree with ann. That process was still needed
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Perhaps my most comprehensive book: The Web Development Glossary (2020). With explanations and definitions for literally thousands of terms from Web Development and related fields, building on Wikipedia as well as the MDN Web Docs. Available at Apple Books, Kobo, Google Play Books, and Leanpub.