10 September, 2009

Dead Links Test using Xenu’s Link Sleuth

Dead Link
A dead link also called a broken link or dangling link is a link on the World Wide Web that points to a web page or a server that is permanently unavailable. Though nobody explicitly complained about any dead links on my blog, I did not want to assume that all is well. I went ahead and performed a deadlink test out of curiousity :-)

Dead Link Test
Dead Link Tests are very important to identify the dead or broken links on the World Wide Web. This is one of the important tests while testing websites. It is very tedious to go through each and every link to check whether it is alive or dead. Several tools are available at no charge or at a cost to help testers with the dead link tests.

Dead links can be internal or external links. Internal links are the hyperlinks that refer to elements present within the website or domain of the internet. External links are the hyperllinks that refer to elements present outside of the website or domain of the internet. For eg, if you consider any blog, all the hyperlinks that reference to anything on the same blog are considered as Internal links. All the hyperlinks that reference to anything on other blogs other than this blog are considered as External links.

Xenu's Link Sleuth
Xenu's Link Sleuth checks Web sites for broken links. Link verification is done on "normal" links, images, frames, plug-ins, backgrounds, local image maps, style sheets, scripts and java applets. It displays a continously updated list of URLs which you can sort by different criteria. A report can be produced at any time. This software is a freeware that can be downloaded from HERE.

Dead Links Statistics on Curious Tester
1. Internal dead links: None
2. External dead links: 4

PS: Token of Thanks to Alan Jorgensen for introducing me to this tool.

Addendum on 11th Sep 09:
When it comes to tracking test coverage in product testing, Testing Checklists(either in MS Word or Excel) come very handy. One really good feature that I observed in the reports generated by Link Sleuth is the data presented in 'Site Map of valid HTML pages with a title' section. This can act as a good base for creation of Testing Checklists while testing the website as a whole. This is very useful for testers who start off with a high level checklist before starting with product testing.

Happy Exploring,
Parimala Shankaraiah