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.
An application that includes a very basic site mapping tool is Xenu, a report program that tests a number of factors including broken links and orphaned files. When generating a report, part of the results page can be set to display a very basic sitemap. If you wish to search a site, whether it is local or remote, for broken links, then Xenu is the tool for you. If you want an application that will create a visually appealing sitemap without any real effort on your part, look at one of the other solutions available.
The CoffeeCup SiteMapper application is the only freeware application dedicated to the task of sitemap creation that I have actually been able to find and use. It has no static interface; this is another program that relies upon a wizard to create the sitemap. It is presented very well, and is quick and easy to use.
One of the things that impressed me about SiteMapper was the code that it output; in addition to being the only freeware application of this nature that is readily available, it is also one of the few applications that doesn’t format its output using an html table. The sitemap itself keeps to a pretty basic design, relying on simple color schemes and some appropriate images. It can map any file within your site's file structure by simply appending the file extension into the file extensions field, and the output HTML is placed into a text area on the results section of the wizard for easy copy and pasting into an existing page. All in all, this is an excellent application.
The images represent a folder for the root or a directory and a page icon for pages. It then simply lists the shortcuts to the pages. The only problem is the fact that the <br> tags are not closed correctly, although this is acceptable under the transitional DOCTYPE statement added to the document head.