Xenu Link SleuthWork with any medium for awhile and you tend to get into a bit of a rut, or routine in how you do things. Once you’re in your rut, it’s rather rare when you come across something that changes how you do things. When you do, it’s a bit of a big deal. 😀

I’ve been in a bit of a rut when it comes to web development/web publishing. Granted, I learned how to use Moveable Type recently, but even then, I still tend to type out my entries in Edit+ first and use the rest of the tools that I’ve come to know and loathe, I mean love. However, recently I came across a little program called Xenu’s Link Sleuth and it’s changed how I manage web sites.

For those that aren’t familiar with web publishing, publishing to the web is much like creating MS Word documents. The main difference is that you need to keep track of where you put stuff. Think about how you save your work now. I would venture a guess that sometimes you save your work to your desktop. Other times you might save it to your My Documents folder, or even a network drive. Now, what if you had to keep track of every file that you’ve created with MS Word? Could you do it? Now you can see how difficult it can be to keep up with a web site.

Let’s face it, things change, and in the web world, what that typically means is that you could have a broken link. This is especially true of older sites that may have have had quite a few changes over time, but it even occurs with newer sites. In fact, with this weblog, I found that there were a number of broken links. The hard part is finding where the broken link is so you can fix it. That’s when I found Xenu’s Link Sleuth and oh boy and I glad I found it.

Xenu’s Link Sleuth is a small program (less than 500k) that you run on your workstation to check for broken links on a web sites, best of all, it’s free! This little program has turned into a life saver for me and it’s now a permanent part of my Internet toolbox. You simply enter in the site that you’d like to check as well as a few parameters and Xenu begins crawling for broken links. As the program crawls your site, you can follow along with a detailed log of what the program is doing. When the entire site scan is complete, a report can be generated in HTML for you to view. If Xenu found a broken link, it tells you where it found the link so that you can fix it. Again, a simple little program, but one that I now can’t live without. 🙂