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.
If you are creating a sitemap for an ASP.NET website, and are using Visual Studio as your development environment, you may want to take a look at Web.UI 2.1 as you can get some excellent results when using this clever piece of code. It was constructed by Component Art and is basically a suite of development classes that can be used with Visual Studio to create a SiteMap object and control its behavior and appearance through the use of the properties and methods it implements. The Web.UI set comprises more than just a sitemap class; it also contains other useful components such as a menu or navigation bar control, an animation tool and a tabbed interface developer among other things.
It comes as part of an installer which adds the required assemblies to the .NETglobal assembly cache and installs the toolbox sets in Visual Studio. Creating an effective and stylish sitemap is extremely easy; you simply drag a sitemap object onto the page, configure its properties using the properties panel, or via the HTML view. You then use an XML file to specify the page and folder nodes and the node groupings, and create a stylesheet to control the visual appearance of the sitemap. The installation includes full offline documentation with working samples of each of the different interface controls.
Getting started is very straightforward; the following sitemap took less than half an hour to create once the components had been installed.
There are several different formats that your sitemap can take, such as the basic tree layout in my example, or a Google listing style layout. The complete suite can be purchased for $499 for a developer license, or $199 for just the Sitemap component.