Getting around Dead Links to Outdated Documentation
We are all getting older. It’s sad but true – even for content in the internet.
Perhaps there is a forum reply that answers one of your most burning questions with a link to documentation. But when you click on it you get a dead-link error. This occurs particularly if you try accessing a documentation set for a product that ran out-of-maintenance some time ago. For example, this is true for the documentation set for SAP NetWeaver 2004. At best, you are already using a supported release anyway and just need to find the corresponding topic in that documentation set. Luckily, that is easy because you just need to replace part of the broken URL.
Let’s use a real SCN example. I like it because the user recommends looking up the documentation, although he’s using the rigorous but commonly known acronym rtfm 😉 The link provided in that thread is pointing to the defunct SAP NetWeaver 2004 documentation using this link: http://help.sap.com/saphelp_nw04/helpdata/en/fc/5ad93f130f9215e10000000a155106/frameset.htm
Don’t click on it yet! The link just returns an error page explaining that you might have clicked on a link to a product that is no longer in maintenance – we know that already. If you take a closer look at the URL, you see a directory name right after the domain help.sap.com: in our case saphelp_nw04. This is what we call the Help Portal alias. Usually our aliases are fairly straightforward. So if you want to access the same topic in SAP NetWeaver 7.3 just replace nw04 with nw73 and you are done. Now you can click this link: http://help.sap.com/saphelp_nw73/helpdata/en/fc/5ad93f130f9215e10000000a155106/frameset.htm
If you are unsure about the correct alias, just go to the Help Portal overview page of your product, scroll down to the application help section, and open some html-based content. Look in the URL field of your browser.
You may have noticed that the URL also consists of a parameter for the language helpdata/en/… You can try other ISO 639-1 codes
to access translated documentation sets directly. But before you get disappointed by too many failed attempts, most parts of SAP NetWeaver is available in English and German only and only subsets are translated into Japanese (ja) or Russian (ru).
The easier way is to use the language toggle offered on every page where translated content is available.
If this doesn’t help either, please read my blog on Help Portal Search to learn how to find the desired information another way.