Update ALL links when Page name changes

(35)
Here's a common scenario:

 

An instructor makes a page, let's say a module overview page, and then links to this page from a custom Home page. While developing the course, the instructor changes the name of the module overview page. This breaks the homepage link because the page URL contains the page name.

 

Please create a system to avoid this common problem.

83 Comments
jonathan_potter
New Member

This seems like basic functionality that shouldn't need voting! Canvas, don't let the "lack of user interest" keep this from happening. This is a huge hassle. You should at least warn users when they attempt to change a page name that they will break all links. To me the ideal scenario would be that changing a page name triggers a dialogue asking users whether they want to update all links.

jonathan_potter
New Member

One thing I discovered that might be helpful, which hasn't been mentioned in this thread, is that you can "validate links" from the Settings page, and this will at least show you if you have links (including internal Canvas links) that are broken. You still have to manually fix each one, but at least you can find them here.

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team
  Idea is currently in Product Radar Learn more about this stage...
sphinney
Community Contributor

I'm so happy someone has requested this update and even more thrilled to see it on the product radar! In attempting to create course site templates for our faculty, I've found this to be a major issue that somewhat defeats the purpose of using a template to simplify course setup. Also, I've seen it suggested in a number of places that a Canvas "best practice" is to use the content selector when you want to link to a resource in your course, because for one thing it will ensure that the link will work when you copy the course to a new term. My thinking is that it should also ensure that the link will continue to work even after the title of a page or an assignment changes. I can't wait until this has been implemented Smiley Happy

tabbott1
New Member

Please update this! Smiley Happy

laurakgibbs
Community Champion

I voted up on this but it really feels a bit like rearranging-deck-chairs-on-the-Titanic. The Pages tool is an incredibly clunky, limited, and frustrating tool to use for building anything more than just a few pages. Instructure's emphasis lately has been on quizzes and gradebook, and I understand why there has been that emphasis, but now that those huge quiz and gradebook projects are reaching their conclusions (slowly but surely...), I hope that there will be a serious re-look at content development inside Canvas, because the content ecosystem really needs rethinking, beyond just tinkering with Page file names or putting folders in Pages or adding an HTML editor to the Files area and on and on (there is a whole slew of tinkering-at-the-margins feature requests having to do with the content tools). 

The most substantial discussion I've seen of the content-tool problems was at the Folders-in-Pages discussion, although I am sure there are other long-running discussions that I simply have not come across.

https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/7532-allow-folders-in-pages 

Here's my plea there for using Analytics as a way to rethink content; I worry that the current emphasis on Analytics without a serious look at content is going to pull the rug out from under Analytics before it even really gets going:

https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/7532-allow-folders-in-pages#comment-82704 

vandover
Community Participant

Is there any motion on this idea? I am encountering instructors who want to edit the title of a page they have linked to, which breaks the link, which then creates and links to a copy of the unlinked page, which creates a snowball of duplicate pages! It is very frustrating for instructors who want to adjust page names as their teaching topics shift.

c_murphy
Community Participant

Just adding my voice to concur with others here  - this issue with page renaming causing a broken link is one which crops up in particular at rollover time when courses are being tidied up. It's a pain.

873179959
Community Contributor

I know this thread is a bit old, but this is still a major problem when:

  • We update a page name and all links to that page within that course break
  • When a user has bookmarked a page url
  • When we link to a page in an email or document (we use a canvas course as a faculty resource portal, so there are tons of links to different pages within that portal in websites, emails, other courses, etc.)

Some workarounds we've used

  • If you right click a page link from the modules section, and save that url, it gives you a link with a numerical module ID that remains the same even when you rename the page or when you move that page to a different module. However, a new module ID link is created each time you add a page to a different module. So, if instead of dragging the module item from one module to the next, you removed it from a module and added it to another module, the url would change.
  • We run the link checker tool at the end of each course build and the start of each term to find the broken links. Links to pages whose name has changed should show up there, and you can find which links you need to update. (This helps for links within the course, but not for the other two use cases above.)

Some possible solutions and issues with those solutions:

  • I love the idea of using a numerical page ID that is stable even when the page name changes, but the reasoning I've heard as to why the url includes the page name is that it is best practice for UDL and accessibility. (Although if you use appropriate hyperlink and alt-tag practices, that's not an issue.)
  • Earlier in this thread, someone mentioned this idea Modules: enable editing page descriptor without altering page name (and therefore page URL) It looks like this is in "Cold Storage." So, I'm not sure if other issues with that solution emerged or if it just didn't have enough votes. I can see having two different names/identifiers could be messy.
laurakgibbs
Community Champion

There is nothing good about breaking URLs for accessibility or for design. It's just something that you used to see in old content platforms and, over time, it's a problem that has been fixed (Blogger URLs used to break when you changed the date of a post, etc.) ... there are lots of problems with the Pages area of Canvas, but this is definitely one of the most frustrating.

christopher_fra
Community Participant

Hi 873179959‌, 

When I utilized the URL of pages from the modules view, navigation gets "screwed up" in the canvas student app. What I mean, is that if I am on a page and click on a link to another page (or item) whose URL has been copied from the modules view, the canvas app navigates randomly to the modules view without going to anything specific.

Screenrecording of Navigating when Hyperlinks are created using URLs from the Pages:

Navigation works when using URL from pages - YouTube 

Screenrecording of Navigating when Hyperlinks are created using URLs from the Modules View:

Navigation issues when using modules URL - YouTube 

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

The Radar idea stage has been removed from the Feature Idea Process.  You can read more about why in the blog post Adaptation: Feature Idea Process Changes.

 

This change will only impact the stage sort of this idea and will not change how it is voted on or how it is considered during prioritization activities.  This change will streamline the list of ideas 'open for voting', making it easier for you to see the true top voted ideas in one sort, here.

anthony_sales1
New Member

I have to say the fact that Canvas doesn't update existing internal links to a page when you change the name is a really bad design flaw - coming from Moodle - if I changed a page name - it automatically updated all of the links - hey presto. I am trying to design a default template course for our college and the idea is all of the menus and pages will be created by default we just have to change the names of the units and pages to match the content - this means it will be a massive task - when it could have been a very simple process - really can't see why anyone wouldn't want this feature let alone object to it - this is pretty basic for any web-based content if you update the name of an object e.g. a page it should change it through-out surely????

anthonem
Community Contributor

60640769
New Member

I would like to know the thinking behind not giving pages a unique identifier, especially when every other item type (file, module item, assignment, discussion, announcement) has one.

What is the status on this? It's been over three years since the original idea was created.

anthony_sales1
New Member

It seems difficult to get a critical mass of votes for things which would appear to be pretty basic/essential....

laurakgibbs
Community Champion

That's also my impression,  @anthony_sales1 ‌: votes can help, they don't hurt, but ultimately the engineering agenda is something we don't have access to and there are a lot of different factors in play. I learned that lesson when the one issue from Project Khaki that I really cared about (search) got indefinitely postponed, despite having been voted up not just at the Community here but also through the Project Khaki process. There are no guarantees of anything... but I still keep on voting for the things that look useful. 🙂

anthony_sales1
New Member

Yep I understand that they can't take on board every suggestion and some things that might seem simple might require a major rewrite or rethink of code - I have managed coding projects myself. But I just think the current voting system can be used as an excuse to not even consider stuff that I think most online content developers would see as absolutely basic or essential - it is very difficult to get enough votes because most of us don't have time to be sifting through all of the ideas people have - all of which are just as important to them as mine is to me - and even if it gets enough votes that only guarantees that is will be considered not adopted. This is one of the major downsides to proprietary software, you can't just go and write a plugin yourself - although many things can be achieved using HTML, but most of our staff don't have the confidence to edit HTML code let alone write it - and the bottom line is we have paid so much for the licence and we haven't even got some basic features available in free open-source platforms. From what other people have said they seem to be focused primarily on the back end and the data management - there seems to be little interest in the front end or the content management - and if that doesn't deliver then there won't be any data coming out of the back end...

laurakgibbs
Community Champion

Yes, content is the most neglected area of Canvas for sure... although I've always developed my content OUTSIDE the LMS anyway. Always have, and I guess I always will... but I know some faculty do not have that same freedom of choice, so I really hope that with the new Gradebook and Quizzes deployed, maybe content will finally get some love here at Canvas! 🙂

ronmarx
Community Contributor

How about relational navigation? https://community.canvaslms.com/ideas/8612