Saturday 31 May 2014

Don Morris on Link Checkers

With many thanks to Don for including Integrity and Scrutiny into his round-up and test of link checkers.

Scrutiny comes out well, especially as this was written before Scrutiny v5 which has a much-improved interface; one of his niggles with the earlier version that he tested.

Saturday 24 May 2014

Google able to index content relying on javascript

When you've worked as a webmaster with accessibility an important part of the job, it's difficult to accept that javascript is now becoming a more legitimate part of the page's rendering process.

Early on, any important content needed to be visible as text with javascript disabled. If it couldn't be seen in a text-only browser without js then it wasn't going to get past me and onto a local government website.

Justifications include Googlebot's blindness to such content and the anecdotal user with assistive technology. (Not really hypothetical, I met some.) But even then I couldn't help feeling that perhaps their software ought to be capable of a bit more, rather than the web being limited by the most basic or old user agents.

I guess the tipping point is the point at which Google is able to index content that relies on javascript to render it. That shoots a big fox of old stalwarts like me and that point has arrived.

This is the reason for Scrutiny now being able to execute javascript before scanning a page (it's early days and if it doesn't work as expected for you, we need to know, let support know.)

This article from Google's Webmaster Central Blog gives their view of the matter. As well as useful tips like making sure the necessary js and css files are accessible by the search engine bots, I'm happy to say that they do still recommend that your pages 'degrade gracefully', ie that users without the latest whizzy browser can still get at your important content.

Sunday 18 May 2014

HTML sitemap export from Scrutiny

Scrutiny 5.0.9 has just been released. It improves the html sitemap export by adding the option to export the list as a flat list (as before) or a heirarchical list (now the default).

The html export is designed to be pasted into a website's sitemap page. Such a page is usually there to make sure that search engines can find all of the pages on your website.

The heirarchical-style view has been requested because it has other uses.

After scanning the site and displaying the Sitemap in Scrutiny, go to Export > HTML. To switch between flat and heirarchical styles, go to Scrutiny > Preferences > Sitemap.

Here's an extract. It's plain HTML which will obviously pick up the styles from your website stylesheet when added to your site.

You may also be interested in:

How to generate an XML sitemap using Scrutiny

Using canonical href to exclude duplicates from your xml sitemap

Update your XML sitemap by FTP on your server using Scrutiny

Friday 9 May 2014

Scrutiny (webmaster tools suite) major new release

Scrutiny version 5 is the biggest step forward in its history. It's been well-received during beta testing and is now available as a full release.

The first of the new features is a redesigned user interface. We hope that it looks more welcoming, is more user-friendly and useful. Managing your sites will be easier now with bigger icons, sortable columns (sortable by name, url or last checked date) and a search box.
The next of the new features is website monitoring. It's very easy to add a url for monitoring, and with the 'enabled' checkbox checked and while Scrutiny is running, it'll check that url at the interval you set.
Options include sending GET or POST requests, and setting the code you expect back. You can choose what happens if the expected code isn't received - an on-screen alert, email, and/or writing to a log file.

Workflow is important to many, and I can tell you that setting a site to run on schedule is the best way to ensure that your site stays free of problems. With this in mind, this screen allows you to set a scheduled scan with a number of actions to take when finished.

Different options can be set for each of your sites and Scrutiny doesn't need to be running for a scheduled scan to start.

The new interface is task-based. New users should find it very easy to do what they need to do without reading the manual.
The list of new features is very long. Scrutiny can now handle urls with non-ascii characters (such as Cyrillic script eg Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian Cyrillic). Scrutiny can now execute javascript before scanning a page and drill into pdf documents to find links. It has an option to crawl your site and list pages containing specific text.... Here is a full list of all features, new and old.

Download / buy Scrutiny