Linkbot takes on the enterprise

The best just got better. TetraNet Software Inc. recently released a new version of its industry-leading World Wide Web site link-checker, Linkbot Enterprise 1.0, which offers new tools specifically designed for large enterprise sites.

Linkbot Enterprise's interface will be familiar to users of Linkbot Pro. Configuration of the program, including scheduling of scans, is accomplished through a Windows application interface that is simple and straightforward. As with Linkbot Pro, all reports are displayed in a Web browser, which is automatically called up once the report has been generated.

The reports are both thorough and highly customizable. In addition to checking the validity of Uniform Resource Locator links, Linkbot also checks for unused files, stale files (files that haven't received hits in a long time), missing images, large pages that may be slow to download, new and old files and even files that are buried deep within a site. In addition, the program can scan pages with JavaScript code and Hypertext Markup Language syntax checking is supported.

Linkbot Enterprise also lets you filter pages and URLs, an important feature for administrators with large sites. You even can sort URLs by author, making it easy to check on which authors might be producing an inordinate number of problem pages.

Unlike Linkbot Pro, which could generate reports only in HTML, Linkbot Enterprise can generate reports in either HTML or Microsoft Corp.'s Active Server Pages. Assuming you have the required software, Active Server Pages makes report construction faster and offers site administrators greater flexibility in designing reports. The program also can handle sites with an unlimited number of links. By comparison, Linkbot Pro is limited to 75,000 links.

Also, Linkbot Enterprise employs a SQL database for generating and storing reports rather than its own proprietary database. In addition to greater flexibility in managing report data, the use of a SQL database is part of the reason that the program can handle an unlimited number of links. With the SQL database, data is stored during the scan so it won't run out of system resources before the entire site is scanned. Although that slows down performance a tad, the tradeoff is well worth it.

Linkbot Enterprise also provides for the automatic generation of e-mail reports, a feature not offered in Linkbot Pro. And because Linkbot Enterprise can be run as a Windows NT service, you can schedule unattended scans and have the results automatically e-mailed to specified individuals.

On the downside, be aware that Linkbot Enterprise doesn't provide or even link to an HTML editor. If you want to edit pages, you will have to note their locations and call them up independently via an HTML editor.

And bear in mind that Linkbot Enterprise is not inexpensive. In fact, Linkbot Enterprise's $3,995 sticker price dwarfs Linkbot Pro 4.0's price of $295. The product is worth the extra cost to those who have very large sites, especially sites with more than 100,000 links. But if your site is smaller, you will probably want to stick with Linkbot Pro.

REPORT CARD

Linkbot Enterprise 1.0

Grade: B+

TetraNet

(613) 599-3888

www.tetranetsoftware.com

Price&availability: $3,995

Remarks:Linkbot Enterprise is a fast and thorough Web-page link analyzer designed specifically for enterprise sites. The program can check an unlimited number of links per site, offers detailed and customizable reports and can generate automatic e-mail notifications.

BY PATRICK MARSHALL
Nov. 01, 1999

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