Broken Links in the Windows SDK: Progress!

Hey Everyone,

It’s me, Ken, and I’m back to give you an update on our progress in our campaign to eliminate broken links in the Windows SDK.

I’m happy to report that we’ve made steady progress in reducing the number of broken links in the SDK since I last posted. Out of the nearly 300,000 topics we ship in the Windows SDK, we’re now down to 18,882 broken links out of 2,389,722 links tested. That means .79% of our links are currently busted.

I’m happy to see that our broken link count has trended downward quite a bit over the past couple of weeks, and this number isn’t too bad. But we have a brisk march ahead to eliminate those remaining pesky 404s from your user experience.

So, how do we get to a place where we can say we’re shipping an SDK devoid of broken links? We do three things: we test, we analyze, and we fix.

·         As I mentioned in my previous post, we use a tool called HavMatLite to test the HxS files we ship for broken links. We test every HxS file we ship, and the tool provides a list of broken links in each HxS file.

·         We analyze the test results frequently. For example, today the bulk of our broken links are in the VBA Language Reference and in various sections of the Class Library. Currently, these two areas combined account for 12,769 broken links—67.63% of the total number of broken links in the currently building Windows SDK. We are actively working on driving our broken link count down in the Class Library, since we know it is one of the most heavily used areas in the Windows SDK documentation set.

·         We fix. This doesn’t always mean that we, the SDK team, do the fixing. It’s really the royal “we,” which means it’s the SDK documentation contributor community as a whole, who does the fixing. Fixing broken links in a large doc set is a big team effort:

o        Teams who drop content to the SDK are responsible for fixing broken links in their content.

o        The SDK team does its part by getting the word out, fixing broken links in the content it owns, and checking in updated content from teams who are fixing broken links and other bugs each time they drop.

o        The SDK team tests the docs for broken links daily, and posts each day’s fresh HavMatLite reports in a location accessible to all contributors.

Broken links are not evenly distributed in SDK documentation. In fact, we will be shipping several HxS files in Beta 2 that have no broken links at all. A great many others have very few broken links. That said, the majority of broken links outside the Class Library are currently in the previously mentioned VBA Language Reference, and in certain portions of messaging API and web programming conceptual and reference material.


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