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Automating Sitemap Generation

Sitemaps are an important element for any website; they help visitors navigate your site, and can help search engine spiders index it properly. However, they can be difficult to generate from scratch. Fortunately, there are a number of applications that can automate the process. Dan Wellman reviews a number of these tools, available in various price ranges.

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By: Dan Wellman
Rating: 5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars / 18
August 10, 2005
  1. · Automating Sitemap Generation
  2. · Sitemapper v2
  3. · Xtreeme SiteXpert Professional Edition
  4. · Xenu, CoffeeCup SiteMapper
  5. · All Web Menus
  6. · Web.UI 2.1
  7. · Chart Drawing Applications

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Automating Sitemap Generation
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Wherever there is scope for repetitive or unnecessarily complex processes to be completed, software appears in order to cater for people that wish to automate these tasks. When you are thinking about how you can make your life as a developer easier, the question is usually not "Is there an application that will do this for me?" but "Which application should I choose to do this for me?" Creating logical and professional sitemaps is no exception to this rule, and upon searching the Internet you should find a variety of these programs.

A sitemap should be the cornerstone of any decent website; it will give visitors an instant overview of your site, make all of your pages only two clicks deep, and is necessary for meeting accessibility standards.  The larger your site is, the more necessary a sitemap becomes, but coding the sitemap for even a moderately sized website can quickly become a chore. Perhaps this is the reason why only approximately half of websites have one. 

Creating a sitemap need not be difficult or time consuming with the aid of a dedicated sitemap generator that you can set to crawl or scan all of the pages of your site and produce an HTML or graphics based sitemap for you.

Sitemap Pro 2.2 is an easy to use and functional application. The interface acts as a step-by-step wizard rather than a traditional workspace based application, and leads you through each of the configuration options by the hand. 

You can create sitemaps of remote sites on the Internet, or local files on your machine, and you have a small number of configuration options that can be set during the creation process, such as whether to display the html <!DOCTYPE~> declaration, what information you want on the resulting sitemap page, and whether you want it to include pages under other domain names. You are able to specify either a stylesheet or template that the sitemap should be linked to, which is fortunate since the resulting sitemap generated by this program is bland at best. You do have some control over how the output is formatted, but this is restricted simply to the number of columns used in the display. The HTML output by the application uses a table structure to display the links, and the deprecated <font> tag, so developers looking for clean, compliant output will not be satisfied. 

It works in the way that it says it will work, however, and quickly gives you what you’ve downloaded it for. Beginners to HTML may be attracted to its simplicity, but the $59 price tag for a single site license seems a little steep, and $899 for the unlimited site licence is almost highway robbery.

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