WordPress 4.6 is set to introduce a broken link checker in the editor, a handy new feature which lead developer Andrew Ozz dubbed “spellcheck for URLs.” Ella Van Dorpe, who is co-maintainer with Ozz on WordPress’ editor component, opened a ticket three months ago to begin work on detecting broken URLs. She proposed that bad links could be shown with a message in the toolbar in order to prevent accidental user mistakes when entering links.
After working through various approaches for detecting broken links, contributors on the feature settled on having WordPress test if the link is well formed. Users can instantly see when a link they have added is broken, as it will appear linked in red in the link tooltip.
The broken link checker is also accessibility friendly and uses wp.a11y.speak() to announce bad URLs with an audible warning message.
“This is the logical next step for enhancing how we handle links (and URLs in general) in the editor,” Ozz said.
Broken links are essentially dead ends, and the new link checker helps prevent WordPress content authors from accidentally contributing to link rot, a growing problem on the web. The feature is available in the visual editor and there are two weeks remaining to test. WordPress 4.6 RC 1 was released last week and the official release is expected the week of August 16.