Tridion Tip: When Links aren’t Front-end Problems

This came up today. A few guys on the front-end team were trying to figure out why a link wasn’t working. I came in on the tail-end of the problem, when one of them shared the source code for a link. They were ready to start down the path of, “let’s find it in the codebase!” when I noticed that it wasn’t a front-end issue at all.

So here’s a quick tip for you front-end developers dealing with Tridion. Not every link that doesn’t work is your fault

When Links Go Loony

Here’s an example of what the link looked like, in the source code (used with view source, not inspect element) :

<a xlink:href="foo" xlink:title="How to sell amazing things"  xmlns:xlink="foo" title="How to sell amazing thinks">Link to amazing things</a>


Notice what attributes you see there:

  • xlink:href
  • xlink:title
  • xmlns:xlink

What you want to see is something like this:

<a title="How to sell amazing thinks" href="link/to/page.html"> Link To amazing things </a>

These are all clear signs that something has gone wrong on the content-management side. If you’re a front-end developer, you can’t fix this.

The Diagnosis

In Tridion, you can’t really link to pages. You link to the components that are on a page. When you do that, and then publish a page (or a component), a link resolver steps in, and it turns the markup that you see above, into a properly resolved link.

When you’re seeing a link that looks like the first example, there’s little you can do to get it looking like the second example:

The Solution

Someone could possibly correct this link by:

  1. Publishing the page that the target component is on, or
  2. Publishing the target component

Whether a content author needs to republish the component, the page, or both, depends on the kind of Tridion implementation you have. But, you as a front-end developer can’t do anything about this. And if republishing component and page don’t work, it’s time to get a glass of whisky, present it to your nearest back-end developer, and ask for some help.


  1. // Reply

    I like the idea of presenting a glass of whisky to the back-end developer, but maybe better to wait until after they’ve fixed it.

  2. // Reply

    Nice catch, Frank. Hopefully you saved some front-end devs some time on that issue. :-)

    The conversion of xlink tags happens way back in templating. And you’re right that users can’t link to Tridion pages, but Tridion templating and delivery does allow page linking so it’s possible to find the occasional page link through customization or with generated navigation.

    It’s also rare, but you might encounter TCDL tags which reference or embed content. Templating converts xlink tags to TCDL which are resolved to a proper link or rendered content on request. If you also see runat=”server”, you know to find a .NET developer. ;-)

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