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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.

Author Info:
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 - Sitemapper v2
(Page 2 of 7 )

Sitemapper v2 from Trellian provides a workspace in which to create your sitemap rather than just a wizard interface. The application exposes more of your site's resources; for example, in addition to mapping the links of your site, it also lists audio and video files, images, applications, scripts and news feeds and can also pick up on broken links, redirected links, spelling mistakes and email addresses.  

Perhaps this application's best feature is the ability to output the sitemap in a variety of formats: a basic html sitemap, a CSVfile, an expandable tree style rendering, an XML file for search engine integration or even a plain text file. However, despite the fact that these differing file formats are supported, the html output still leaves a lot to be desired; the table based output pages will need code modification to improve its visual appearance, and the DHTML output feels more like a navigation menu than a sitemap. Trellian is priced at a slightly more palatable $39 per single licence. 

A sample of the code output of the table-style page is as follows:

<TABLE border=1>


<TR><TD><A href="file://LocalHost/C:/Documents and Settings/Dan Wellman/Desktop/test site/index.htm">file://LocalHost/C:/Documents and Settings/Dan Wellman/Desktop/test site/index.htm</A></TD><TD>Home Page</TD><TD></TD></TR>

<TR><TD><A href="file://LocalHost/C:/Documents and Settings/Dan Wellman/Desktop/test site/page1.htm">file://LocalHost/C:/Documents and Settings/Dan Wellman/Desktop/test site/page1.htm</A></TD><TD>Page 1</TD><TD></TD></TR>

<TR><TD><A href="file://LocalHost/C:/Documents and Settings/Dan Wellman/Desktop/test site/page2.htm">file://LocalHost/C:/Documents and Settings/Dan Wellman/Desktop/test site/page2.htm</A></TD><TD>Page 2</TD><TD></TD></TR>

<TR><TD><A href="file://LocalHost/C:/Documents and Settings/Dan Wellman/Desktop/test site/page3.htm">file://LocalHost/C:/Documents and Settings/Dan Wellman/Desktop/test site/page3.htm</A></TD><TD>Page 3</TD><TD></TD></TR>

<TR><TD><A href="file://LocalHost/C:/Documents and Settings/Dan Wellman/Desktop/test site/page4.htm">file://LocalHost/C:/Documents and Settings/Dan Wellman/Desktop/test site/page4.htm</A></TD><TD>Page 4</TD><TD></TD></TR>

<TR><TD><A href="file://LocalHost/C:/Documents and Settings/Dan Wellman/Desktop/test site/page5.htm">file://LocalHost/C:/Documents and Settings/Dan Wellman/Desktop/testsite/page5.htm</A></TD><TD>Page 5</TD><TD></TD></TR></TABLE>

As you can see, this table in no way comes close to an accessibility-compliant Web page. Additionally, I was not prompted to enter page descriptions, and yet a column for them has been automatically added to my table. A code sample of the tree-style site map follows:


<BASE href="file://LocalHost/C:/Documents and Settings/Dan Wellman/Desktop/test site/">

<LI id=foldheader>file://LocalHost/C:/Documents and Settings/Dan Wellman/Desktop/test site/

<UL id=foldinglist style=&{head};>

<LI><A href=index.htm>index.htm</A>

<LI><A href=page1.htm>page1.htm</A>

<LI><A href=page2.htm>page2.htm</A>

<LI><A href=page3.htm>page3.htm</A>

<LI><A href=page4.htm>page4.htm</A>

<LI><A href=page5.htm>page5.htm</A>

<BASE href="file://LocalHost/C:/Documents and Settings/Dan Wellman/Desktop/test site/stuff/">

<LI id=foldheader>stuff

<UL id=foldinglist style=display:none style=&{head};>

<LI><A href=page6.htm>page6.htm</A>

<LI><A href=page7.htm>page7.htm</A>


This output format is a lot cleaner and the resulting Web page looks and acts much better. In addition to the above code, some further additions are made by the applications. A stylesheet is added to the page code, and a script is written that handles the sub-list visibility and the image placement (a folder to designate the root of the site or other folders included in the directory structure, or an explorer icon to designate a Web page).

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