Is there ANY web development software that manages links automatically?

Discussion in 'Computing and Networks' started by WBahn, Aug 2, 2015.

  1. WBahn

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
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    The server that my web pages have been on for the last two years has migrated and no longer supports Microsoft FrontPage Extensions (I've been using Microsoft SharePoint Designer for years to maintain my site, which has grown VERY large).

    The main reason I have stayed with FrontPage/SharePoint is that they very cleanly deal with links in files. If I move or rename a file, all of the links in all of the files are automatically updated. I have never found ANY other web development tool that has this feature.

    I would even be willing to purchase it, if it's not too outrageous, but this is an absolute must.

    Any recommendations.
     
  2. takao21203

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    Apr 28, 2012
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    Not really an issue with PHP.

    Files is a bit vague. Is it HTML?
     
  3. WBahn

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    So you are saying that if I have PHP code that opens a file named "fred.php" and I then change the name of "fred.php" to "sue.php" that it isn't an issue?

    Color me dubious.

    But, yes, in this particular case I am talking about html files that contain links both to other html files (on the same site, not worried about external links) and/or things like text files, image files, data files, zip files, etc.

    If I change the name of "ch3solutions.zip" to "ch03_solutions.zip", I want every (html) link and any of the files on that website to be updated.

    Microsoft, those evil and incompetent folks, have been able to do this for decades via Frontpage and SharePoint, yet it seems no one else is (yet I've never found anyone that could give me a reasonable explanation of why such a capability is not useful).
     
  4. takao21203

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    well you'd typically put your names in a table inside a database.

    All pages using filenames then fetch the physical name from the database.

    Its probably quite a hassle to set it up all manually but typical hosting packages have it all preinstalled there is even a management panel for the database.
     
  5. WBahn

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    I don't have any databases, but I can definitely see the advantages of doing it this way. But let's say that I did do it this way. What happens if I change the name or location of a file? Does the hosting package update the tables in the database automatically. This is what happens in SharePoint: I make a change that affects one or more existing links in any of the (HTML -- don't know about other types such as PHP) files on the site and it pops up a warning telling me that there are N links in M files that refer to that file and asks if I want to update them. If I do, then I click, "Yes" and I am done. If I don't think I've done anything that should affect any existing links, then I say, "No" and can then go to each of the links that would have been affected to figure out what is going on.
     
  6. takao21203

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    no of course not.

    You need to do that yourself manually or with a script.

    The point is you have it hardcoded just once in the database.
     
  7. WBahn

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    And, thus, my point. Microsoft has done this automatically and seamlessly for approaching twenty years. It is pretty clearly a huge time saver. But (as far as I've been able to tell after at least five different searches of the years) no one else has added this functionality to their tools.

    Why not?
     
  8. BR-549

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    Sep 22, 2013
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    Can you find a provider that can handle your FP/SP setup for comparable cost?

    As you say it seems like a basic task.
     
  9. WBahn

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    Microsoft has stopped the FrontPage/SharePoint product support, so even if I did find one it would be a temporary fix.
     
  10. BR-549

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    Sep 22, 2013
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    That shows you how much I know about it.

    Surely the FP/SP interface used some kind of data base or structure to organize your site?

    Your going to have to change anyway, knowing that structure might help you decide what to change to.
     
  11. WBahn

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    Knowing the data base structure doesn't really help -- as you say, it's the interface that does the work. If I use and FTP client to change the name or location of a file on a SharePoint site, then SharePoint ends up with a broken link the next time I use it because it has no way to deal with it -- though there are auditing features that help you detect many of these situations and repair them manually if needed (which I've almost never needed, perhaps twice in twenty years).

    So it's the interface itself -- the application (whether I write it or not -- I sure hope it's not) -- that must be used to organize, create, move, and rename files and directories in order for the database to be kept up to date. If this interface is not integrated into the web authoring tool, that becomes extremely cumbersome.

    I really have a hard time understanding why nearly ALL tools don't have this capability. At one time I thought perhaps Microsoft had patented/copyrighted it and wouldn't license it to others, but I have never found anything that hints of that.
     
  12. BR-549

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  13. WBahn

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    Thanks for the list. I've looked at almost all of those programs in the past, and unfortunately the two that I hadn't don't fit my needs in other ways.

    I think what I'm going to try to do is set up the website on my machine and edit it there using SharePoint Designer and then just FTP all the changes to the host server. That will work as long as I don't have to set up a SharePoint Server on my machine, which I'm not too sure is the case.
     
  14. BR-549

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  15. WBahn

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    While I am puzzled by why no other products seem to offer this very useful capability, the more I think about it the more I realize that the proper solution is to abandon the static content model that I've used up to this point and, instead, do "proper" web programming (which probably touches on why other products don't see this as a useful feature). There are a lot of advantages to doing that, but there is quite a learning curve and now is not a very good time to try to tackle it; but realistically I may never get around to tackling it unless forced to do so by something like this, so this might be a blessing in disguise.
     
  16. BR-549

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    Sep 22, 2013
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    From what I've read, the secret to web traffic, is to establish a cardinal relationship with the search engines.

    You must satisfy them in every way.

    A little foreplay is required, but the reward should be worth it.

    Never having a website, I have never considered your prospective.

    I want ease and intuitive use.

    But I never search for websites. Search engines do that for me.

    So your true target is search engines, not visitors. A small number.

    This was not obvious to me. Interesting subject.

    I'm sure you can organize and update it as well as anyone else.
     
  17. WBahn

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    I don't give a damn about web traffic. My students know how to find my website and I don't care if anyone else does or not.
     
  18. BReeves

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    Nov 24, 2012
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    Do the links require server side support. Might want to check and if not you can continue with FP and just FTP the updates to the site. The only things I lost when my ISP quit supporting FP were the forms but I didn't use the common links feature very much. I just waited till the ISP took it off then visited the site to see what was broken, you may be surprised.
     
  19. WBahn

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    That's the direction I'm heading right now. One thing I already know is going to be a pain is that a lot of my pages have links to specific pages on the site instead of using relative links. That means that they don't work properly when browsing them on my hard drive. But that's something that I can deal with over time.
     
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