Generating a Web Site Map with Visio 2002
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Published: November 1, 2001
Microsoft Certified Partner
Microsoft Visio Professional 2002
Summary: This article provides a step-by-step guide to generating a Web site map with Visio 2002.
For the latest information, please see http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/visio/default.mspx and http://office.microsoft.com/home/office.aspx?assetid=FX01085798
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About this article
New Product Features
Documenting an Existing Web site
About this article
This document addresses the Microsoft® Visio® Professional 2002 Web Diagram solution, and provides a new feature overview and step-by-step guide for generating a Web site map.
Visio 2002 Web Diagram sample database files are located in the Program Files\Microsoft Office\Visio10\1033\Samples\Web Diagram directory. The sample file for the Conceptual Web Site template is a map designed to aid in planning a new Web site. The sample file for the Web Site Map template includes site link information and a well-designed map layout, created by dragging link branches around on the drawing page.
You are encouraged to actively use the online Help (on the Help menu, click Microsoft Visio Help) as it provides extensive and useful tips for using the Web diagram features.
The Visio 2002 Web Diagram solution provides two tools to assist the Web developer with creating and maintaining Web sites: the Web Site Map and the Conceptual Web Site templates.
The Web Site Map template is a great documentation tool to capture information and the current status on any site that already exists. You can use the Web Site Map template to discover the contents of a Web site on an HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) server, network server, or a local hard drive. The template searches the HTML (HyperText Markup Language) code of the Web pages and stores information about the links on the site and the elements they connect. From this information, you can:
Automatically generate a map for a site, with shapes representing the links on the Web site.
Troubleshoot the site by quickly finding the shapes that represent broken links and viewing the errors encountered when those links were searched.
Generate a report listing all links in a site, or only those links that contain hyperlink errors.
Generate a report that tracks the changes on a Web site by comparing two maps of the same site and listing the differences.
The Conceptual Web Site template is a great Web site planning tool, enabling you to create a high-level, conceptual diagram of a new Web site or to experiment with reorganizing an existing site. The Conceptual Web Site template opens three stencils:
Conceptual Web Site Shapes Use these shapes to represent general content, such as pages, page groups, and related pages.
Web Site Map Shapes Use these shapes to represent specific content, such as Microsoft ActiveX® controls, files, multimedia, and images.
Callouts Use these shapes to annotate your diagram.
When you begin developing a Web site, use the Conceptual Web Site template to design the layout and organization of the new Web site. Then use an application such as Microsoft FrontPage® or Macromedia Dreamweaver to create and publish your Web site content. Finally, use the Web Site Map template to document and troubleshoot your site, identifying any broken links that may exist and to track your changes.
New Product Features
The Conceptual Web Site template in Visio Professional 2002 provides the same functionality as Visio 2000 Enterprise Edition, with the addition of new site shapes that can be used when planning a Web site. The Web Site Map tool in the Visio 2002 Web Diagram solution contains many new and improved features including:
- An internal database When you generate a Web site map, the Web Site Map template stores the Web site search data in a special database (known as the memory model) as part of the drawing file. The database contains a list of all links discovered, the properties of the linked objects (such as file type), and information on how links are organized. The template uses this database, or memory model, to layout the map. The memory model provides the ability to filter the data, to quickly expand and collapse the hierarchy of the objects shown in a window, and to create new views and new reports.
Web Site Map also performs better than Visio 2000 Internet Diagram when drawing and updating site maps, enabling users to create larger and more complex Web site maps than ever before.
New List and Filter windows to view the memory model contents and to determine what links are displayed on your map The List window displays all the links discovered, sorted according to the hierarchical structure of the Web site. For example, the List window displays an entry for each HTML, GIF, ASP or JAVA script for each link discovered on a site. The Filter window displays all the objects discovered, sorted by file extension and protocol, and enables users to temporarily remove files of any identified file type to simplify the display of the discovered site.
Support for the W3C HTML 4.01 specification The Web Site Map tool supports discovery of any Web site using HTML 4.01, or earlier (see http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/) as specified by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium).
Improved control of the layout and complexity of the map you generate You can control how many levels and links are discovered during a search, and you can display the map in a radial, flowchart/tree, or circular layout style. By default, the discovery settings are set at 3 levels for Maximum number of levels and 300 links for Maximum number of links.
Support for well-known, industry standard file extensions, protocols and HTML attributes You can enable or disable discovery of specific file extensions and protocols, and create new entries for additional file extensions, protocols, and attributes to be discovered in the Web Site Map Settings dialog box. By default, 17 file extension groups are supported including XML, Video, Template, Script, Program, and Multimedia, and 9 protocols: FTP, File, Gopher, mailto, News, NNTP, Prospero, Telnet, and WAIS. HTML attributes supported include ACTION, BACKGROUND, HREF, and SRC. The online Help lists all supported file extensions, protocols, and attributes (on the Help menu, click Microsoft Visio Help).
Create a Hierarchical or Page Centric view of your Web site map You can display the structure of your Web site map hierarchically, like an organization chart, in the layout pattern (for example, flowchart/tree, circular) you selected when you generated your map using the Hierarchical view. You can also use the Page Centric view to create a page in your drawing that displays a selected Web page and only the links connected to that Web page. Using the Page Centric view, you can quickly navigate one page at a time to view all known outgoing and incoming links.
Create reports on the information held in the memory model Three new reports exist. Use the Shapes with hyperlink errors report to capture information on any hyperlink errors discovered during the search. Choose the All shapes, by type report to create a report of all objects held in the memory model sorted by shape. The Compare to previous document report compares and reports on differences existing between multiple Visio drawings of a Web site.
Integrates with Windows native support for HTML Visio 2002 Web Diagram integrates with the HTML support in Microsoft Windows® to discover information about Web sites. The Web Site Map template passes a site's URL (Uniform Resource Locator) address to Windows, and the Windows HTML parser returns the information on the links, documents, and files discovered on the site.
Documenting an Existing Web site
You can use the Web Site Map template as a documentation tool to capture information and the current status of an existing site with these steps:
Generate a Web Site Map with the Generate Site Map wizard, selecting the discovery levels, diagramming layout style, and other options that fit your need.
Speed browse through the map by selecting a link or element on the map on which to focus and choosing the Page Centric view to see the objects connected to and from this link.
Use the Filter window to filter out certain images on the map such as JPG and ASP that are not of current interest. Expand (+) or collapse (-) link branches shown within the List window, providing more or less detail of a shape's child links and improving readability of the window.
Use the List window to jump to a link on the drawing page. First, select the link in the List window, then right-click and click Show On Page from the shortcut menu. Select the link on the drawing page and right-click. Then click Expand or Collapse to show or remove links connecting to the selected shape on the diagram.
Use the Hierarchical view of the List window to drag a selected link to a new page in your drawing. You can then expand the link to show details of the portion of the Web site you moved to a new page.
Use the Make Subpage command to move a portion of a Web site map to a new page.
By tailoring the map in this way, you can focus on sections of the Web site that are the most important to you.
Generate a Map of an Existing Web Site
To activate the Web menu if it is not visible on your toolbar, on the File menu, point to New and click Web Diagram. Then click Web Site Map.
On the Web menu, click Generate Site Map to launch the Generate Site Map dialog box. Enter the URL address in the Address field for the site the wizard is to discover, or click Browse to navigate to the file you want to serve as the root for the site map.
Note: You may achieve best results by entering a full path and file name rather than a path that assumes a default file name. For example, enter http://championzone.org/default.html rather than http://championzone.org. http://championzone.org/ The Web Site Map discovery can better determine duplicate links when the full filename is used. However, by entering the path name alone, you can more closely emulate the links a Web site visitor will receive when viewing the site.
Figure 1: Enter the URL for the Web site to discover and click Settings
To change the Current Discovery Settings or the Current Diagramming Settings, click Settings in the Generate Site Map dialog box shown in Figure 1. The default values for Maximum number of levels and Maximum number of links are 3 levels and 300 links. The default value for Layout is Flowchart/Tree, Flowchart.
To change the Layout style from the default setting, click Modify Layout on the dialog box shown in Figure 2. For example, you can change the layout Style from Flowchart/Tree to Circular or Radial, or routing from a Flowchart or Tree connection to a Center to Center connection.
To ensure Web site discovery completes for a current level regardless of the value set for maximum number of links, select Complete current level after maximum number of links have been discovered. This option overrides the value entered for maximum number of links, and ensures that discovery does not stop prematurely on a level.
Figure 2: Select the Web Site Map settings for the URL being discovered
To change the Extensions, Protocols, and Attributes values, click the appropriate tab on the Web Site Map Setting dialog box.
To limit the scope of a Web site discovery, select the links to display, and provide HTTP authentication for discovering protected Web sites, click the Advanced tab. You can then access the Internet Properties page by clicking the Advanced button on the Advanced tab dialog box.
Figure 3: Limit the scope of the search and enter authentication information
Click OK when you complete modifying values on the Web Site Map Settings dialog box. On the Generate Site Map dialog box, click OK to start scanning the documents, verifying the links, and laying out the Web site on the drawing page.
Tips on using the Web Site Map template
The memory model contains only the types of links you have directed the Web Site Map template to discover. To map additional types of links later, you must change the options you selected and rediscover the Web site.
The memory model contains all the links you have directed the Web Site Map template to discover, whether or not those links are represented by shapes in the Web site map. You can delete shapes from the map or filter them so they don't appear on the map, and this does not affect the underlying memory model. The links are maintained in the memory model for quick redraws and refreshes—for example, when a link is collapsed and then expanded again.
Each shape in the site map represents a link on your Web site, and each shape includes information about the link type and location. Shapes include hyperlinks so you can browse directly from a shape to the link it represents.
You can drop additional shapes on a Web site map page. However, the shapes are added to the memory model only after you specify a URL address for each shape.
The memory model and the Web site it represents are not actively linked. Updating one does not update the other. To map the changes made to an actual Web site, you must either refresh a portion of the site map or rediscover the Web site.
You cannot schedule the Generate Web Site wizard to run at a specific time. For example, you cannot schedule it to run at night in order to check for broken links.
You will get the best performance if you configure your Web site discoveries to contain no more than 1000 links per page, with a recommended upper limit of approximately 2000 links per page. The maximum number of links per page that Visio 2002 Web Site Map supports is 9999.
As documented in the Visio 2002 Release Notes, if you are running Visio 2002 Web Diagram on a Windows NT 4.0 platform, you can increase the speed of a large Web site discovery by increasing the page file size to be at least two times the amount of memory installed on the system. Consult the Release Notes for additional information on this topic, and for information about installing IE 5.0 on your system.
Speed Browse the Map with Page Centric View
You can use the Page Centric view to display a selected Web page and the links connected to and from that page. Individual pages in your map can be used in this way to display the portion of a site on which you wish to focus.
Note: The Page Centric view shows all child links connecting to the selected Web page and any parent links that lead to the page that have been discovered and identified. If a link exists that connects to the selected page but the link has not been discovered, the connecting link will not display in the Page Centric view.
To change your view to Page Centric
First, select the link on the map to use as the center of your view.
On the Web menu, point to View, and click Page Centric. The selected shape is centered on the drawing page, with the links arranged around it, as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Use the Page Centric view to focus your map on a selected object
To display the shapes in your Web site map hierarchically, on the Web menu, point to View, and click Hierarchical.
Speed Browse and Filter with the Filter and List Windows
The Filter and List windows always show the entire memory model while the Web site map may only show a portion of the model. For example, a page in your map may only show detail of a link using the Page Centric view. You can use the memory model and pages together to show different portions of the site, and to show as much detail as desired.
To use the Filter window
The Filter window displays all the links discovered during a search and held in the memory model, sorted by file extension and protocol.
By default, the Filter window is enabled but collapsed along the lower left border of the drawing page, adjacent to the Web stencils pane. You can view the contents of the Filter window by hovering your cursor over the collapsed window.
You can narrow the file and protocol types shown on the map by unselecting a file or protocol group in the Filter window. Objects of that type are no longer displayed on your map but still exist in the memory model. Re-selecting the group in the Filter window makes objects reappear on your map. For example, you can clear the Video group check box and the map layout is quickly redrawn without Video files in the diagram. You can later select the Video group option, and all objects discovered in this group reappear on the diagram.
Figure 5 illustrates the Filter window after clearing the Video check box.
Figure 5: Use the Filter window to temporarily remove objects from the map
To enable the Filter window if it is not visible on the drawing page, on the Web menu, point to Windows, and click Filter Window.
To use the List window
The List window displays a list of all links discovered during a site search and held in the memory model. The list is sorted by the hierarchical structure of the Web site.
By default, the List window is enabled but collapsed along the upper left border of the drawing page, adjacent to the Web stencils pane. You can view the contents of the List window by hovering your cursor over the collapsed window.
You can collapse (+) and expand (-) link branches in the List window to view more or less detail as needed of a shape's child links, and to focus on specific links in the map.
To locate an object on the map that is listed in the memory model
- Right-click the object in the List window and click Show on Page. The link is highlighted on the drawing page.
A red "X" placed on an object in the List window indicates that there is an error related to that hyperlink. You can view the stored URL for the link by selecting the shape. Right-click on the shape and then click Configure Hyperlinks from the shortcut menu. After you have corrected the URL, right-click on the shape again and click Refresh Hyperlinks to update the link's status, verifying your change.
The gray overlaid link shown on the drawing page (shown below the List window in Figure 6) indicates that the link is a duplicate and that the link appears elsewhere on the drawing page. Duplicate link errors only display as gray overlays on the drawing page. Link errors are identified in the List window, but do not display as gray.
Figure 6: A red "X" indicates a hyperlink error and a gray overlay indicates a duplicate link
To enable the List window if it is not visible on the drawing page, on the Web menu, point to Windows, and click List Window.
Tips on using the List and Filter windows
If you delete a shape from the Web site map, that link remains in the memory model. You can add the link to the map again by selecting the link in the List or Filter window and then drag and drop the link on a site map page.
If you delete a link from the List or Filter windows, the link is deleted from the memory model, and shapes representing that link are deleted from all Web site map pages.
When you drop a link from the List or Filter window onto a page, the Web Site Map template redraws the entire site map using that link as the starting point.
To use the Make Subpage command
The Make Subpage command creates a new page and moves the selected shape and the shapes connected beneath the selected shape to a new page. This enables you to separate your Web site diagram so that you can more easily view details of portions of the site, while retaining a high-level view of the site on Page-1. An Off-page connector shape is created on both pages enabling you to move easily between connected links shown on separate pages.
- Right-click the link and click Make Subpage.
To move between pages, double-click the Off-page connector shape. Or, right-click the Off-page connector shape, and then click Go To [Page] on the shortcut menu.
You can create three different report types with the Web Diagram solution:
Shapes with hyperlink errors Creates a complete list of any links stored in the memory model that have hyperlink errors. Web Site Map can report on all standard HTTP errors including 404 or File Not Found, Site Not Found, Access Denied, Password Required, or Site Timed Out error messages.
- To create a report showing hyperlink errors, on the Web menu, point to Reports and then click Shapes with hyperlink errors.
All shapes, by type Creates a complete list of the objects in the memory model sorted by shape type.
- To create a report showing all links discovered, on the Web menu, point to Reports, and click All shapes, by type.
Compare to previous document Compares the data stored in the memory models of each map, searching for links that appear in only one of the models. For links that appear in both models, this report compares the error status of the link, file title, file size, and the file modification date.
You can use this command to compare a Visio 2002 Web site map to a map generated by Visio 2000, since Visio 2002 Web Diagram will create a memory model for a Visio 2000 drawing when the drawing is loaded into Visio. However, the best approach is to generate a new Web site map using the Generate Site Map wizard, enabling you to take advantage of the enhanced discovery capabilities provided in Visio 2002 Web Diagram.
- To create a report comparing the discovered links between two Web site maps, on the Web menu, point to Reports, and then click Compare to previous document.
- HTML 4.01 Specification, W3C Recommendation 24 December 1999, http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/
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