Imagine your Moodle course like your own learning mansion. Gold letters at the door name the subject of the course. Inside, long halls lead to room after room, or stairs to the upper floors with more long halls leading to more rooms. You go from “sweet deal” to “who is going to keep my house up?”
Wealth can get messy, and it applies for knowledge too. Link Crawler Robot is a crawler that looks around all the corners of your Moodle site looking for broken links. When you authenticate it, the robot scrapes each Moodle page, parses it to find for links, and tests the links.
Broken links are an internet epidemic. Every day, somebody forgets to renew a domain or decides it is not worth it anymore. A new content management system gives PDFs a new storage structure. Somebody inadvertently steps on the power plug of a server. I have a personal bone to pick with many university sites that keep changing the addresses of professors personal pages. They often have valuable references, or use to have and now they’re gone. Some links are available, but too slow or temporarily down. Link Crawler will also find and report those. If you are concerned about the SEO of your site, “Panda”, the latest version of the Google PageRank algorithm, penalizes broken links on your site.
To install Link Crawler Robot you need also the Basic Authentication plugin. Brendan Heywood, developer of both plugins, created Link Crawler as if it were a student on Moodle’s eyes that logs in from outside. That way you can be sure it only reads your course and cannot make any changes.
With Basic Authentication enabled, you install by creating a git submodule on your Moodle Admin Tools folder. Step-by-step instructions are available here.
You can run Link Crawler at anytime, or you can schedule it to go over your mansion and dust things off on the regular. Like a butler, or should I say, a ‘bot-ler’?
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