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Smooth Navigational Menu (v2.1)

Author: Dynamic Drive

Updated: Sept 17th, 13": Updated by jscheuer1 to fix erroneous detection of Chrome desktop browser as touch enabled, resulting in menu behaving differently in those browsers.

Description: Smooth Navigation Menu is a multi level, CSS list based menu powered using jQuery that makes website navigation a smooth affair. And that's a good thing given the important role of this element in any site. The menu's contents can either be from direct markup on the page, or an external file and fetched via Ajax instead. And thanks to jQuery, a configurable, sleek "slide plus fade in" transition is applied during the unveiling of the sub menus. The menu supports both the horizontal and vertical (sidebar) orientation.

Some noteworthy features- You can specify a delay before the sub menus appear and disappear when the mouse rolls over and out of them, respectively. The sub menus reposition themselves if too close to the window's right edges. And last but not least, the depth of the accompanying shadow can be customized, or removed altogether. Smooth we say!

Directions Developer's View

Step 1: Insert the following code into the <head> section of your page:

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The above code references a few external files, which by default you should upload to the same directory as the page itself (right click each file and select "Save As"):

Step 2:  Add the below menu code to the BODY section of your page. It contains the markup for 1 horizontal menu and 1 vertical menu:

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Each menu should consist of an outer DIV and a valid UL list contained inside it.

If you wish the menu content to reside in an external file on your server and dynamically added to your page(s), read the section "Putting the Menu contents in an external file" below.

Well, that's it for installation.

ddsmoothmenu.init() and Menu content structure

Setting up a Smooth Navigational Menu on your page involves calling ddsmoothmenu.init() inside the HEAD section of your page:

 mainmenuid: "smoothmenu1", //menu DIV id
 orientation: 'h', //Horizontal or vertical menu: Set to "h" or "v"
 classname: 'ddsmoothmenu', //class added to menu's outer DIV
 //customtheme: ["#1c5a80", "#18374a"],
 contentsource: "markup" //"markup" or ["container_id", "path_to_menu_file"]

where "smoothmenu1" corresponds to the menu content's outermost DIV on the page. Here's a description of each option:

Option Description
mainmenuid The ID of the menu's outermost DIV. If the menu contents are fetched via Ajax, then this ID should correspond to the outermost DIV that's within the external file.
orientation Sets the orientation of the menu. Enter the value "h" or "v" for a horizontal or vertical menu, respectively. Note that the "classname" setting below must also be set according to the "orientation" setting.
classname Sets the CSS class name that gets applied to the outermost DIV of the menu, effectively styling it. Based on the "orientation" setting above, you want to enter the CSS class that correctly styles the menu By default, "ddsmoothmenu" creates a horizontal menu bar, while "ddsmoothmenu-v" creates a vertical one. Take a look inside ddsmoothmenu.css and ddsmoothmenu-v.css.

v2.0 option

Sets the method for which the sub menus should open and close, either "hover" or "toggle". Defaults to "hover", which opens each sub menu when the user rolls the mouse over it. With "toggle", the menus are opened when the user clicks on them instead.

v2.0 option

Boolean that if set to true (defaults to false) will cause the script to show alternate versions of the arrow images (down and right) of the menu when the mouse rolls over a menu header. In other words, it enables rollover effect on the arrow images.

You do NOT specify the paths to the rollover images when this option is enabled. Instead, the script simply looks at the path and file names of the default arrow images inside ddsmoothmenu.js and appends a "_over" suffix to the default images' file names to form the full path and file names to the rollover images. So if the paths to the default arrow images as specified inside ddsmoothmenu.js are as follows:

arrowimages: {down:['downarrowclass', 'images/down.gif', 23], right:['rightarrowclass', 'images/right.gif', 6]},

In this case you should name your rollover images down_over.gif and right_over.gif respectively, and place them inside the images/ directory.

customtheme In general, customizing the menu's style and background colors is done by editing the two CSS files of the script. However, you can also modify the menu's background and hover background color- on a per page or per menu basis easily, by taking advantage of the "customtheme" setting. To do so, uncomment (remove the // prefix) from this setting and declare two CSS background values, one for the default state, the other, when the mouse rolls over the menu items:

customtheme: ["#1c5a80", "#18374a"], //override default menu CSS background values?

This property is useful for quickly testing out color combinations without having to edit "ddsmoothmenu.css" each time.

contentsource Enter "markup" if your  menu contents are directly inline on the page, or ["container_id", "path_to_menu_file"] For more info on the later option, see "Putting the Menu contents in an external file and fetched using Ajax" below.

Menu content structure

As far as the HTML markup of each menu, it should consist of an outer DIV plus a valid UL list inside it, such as:

<div id="smoothmenu1">
 <li><a href="">Item 1</a></li>
 <li><a href="#">Folder 0</a>
  <li><a href="#">Sub Item 1.1</a></li>
  <li><a href="#">Sub Item 1.2</a></li>

Make sure the UL list is valid You can use W3C's validation service to quickly check your HTML list for incorrectly nested or unclosed tags.

Putting the Menu contents in an external file and fetched using Ajax

Instead of the menu's content being direct markup on the page, you can instead put that HTML in an external file on your server and have the menu dynamically added to the BODY of your page using Ajax. The above menu is embedded this way. The process for this is simple enough:

  1. Move the entire menu's HTML markup- including the outermost DIV container- to an external file on your server. For example: "smoothmenu.htm"
  2. On your page(s) themselves where you want the menu to be dynamically added, add an empty DIV container with a unique ID of its own in the BODY section of the page:

    <div id="smoothcontainer">
    <a href="link to site map for search engines and user with JS disabled">Site map</a>

    This container's contents will be replaced by the menu contents defined in your external file when ddsmoothmenu.init() is run. You can include any HTML within this empty container that you may want shown to search engines or users with JavaScript disabled, as it will be replaced when the script is run.
  3. Finally, you need to edit ddsmoothmenu.init()'s "contentsource" setting to the appropriate setting :
    mainmenuid: "smoothmenu-ajax",
    //customtheme: ["#1c5a80", "#18374a"], //override default menu CSS background values? Uncomment: ["normal_background", "hover_background"]
    contentsource: ["smoothcontainer", "smoothmenu.htm"] //"markup" or ["container_id", "path_to_menu_file"]

    The path to the external file, in this case "smoothmenu.htm", should be a relative path to it based on the current page's position within your site.

Styling the menu item the user is currently at

When the user rolls over a menu item (LI element) that contains a sub menu (UL element), the script dynamically adds a CSS class of ".selected" to the former's inner A element. This allows you to style the current active menu item differently from the rest. Inside "ddsmoothmenu.css", the relevant CSS you'll want to tweak is:

.ddsmoothmenu ul li a.selected { /*CSS class that's dynamically added to the currently active menu items' LI A element*/
 background: black !important;
 color: white;

Notice the !important declaration next to some of the properties inside the CSS file.  You may  need to experiment with adding or removing this declaration to the color related properties (background and color properties) inside the file to get the desired look.

Global menu settings

Finally inside ddsmoothmenu.js there are a few global settings you can modify, such as setting the paths to the arrow images, speed of animation, and whether to disable shadows:

//Specify full URL to down and right arrow images (23 is padding-right for top level LIs with drop downs, 6 is for vertical top level items with fly outs):
arrowimages: {down:['downarrowclass', 'down.gif', 23], right:['rightarrowclass', 'right.gif', 6]},
transition: {overtime:300, outtime:300}, //duration of slide in/ out animation, in milliseconds
shadow: true, //enable shadow? (offsets now set in ddsmoothmenu.css stylesheet)
showhidedelay: {showdelay: 100, hidedelay: 200}, //set delay in milliseconds before sub menus appear and disappear, respectively
zindexvalue: 1000, //set z-index value for menus
closeonnonmenuclick: true, //when clicking outside of any "toggle" method menu, should all "toggle" menus close?
closeonmouseout: false, //when leaving a "toggle" menu, should all "toggle" menus close? Will not work on touchscreen The last line above lets you specify the delay before the sub menus appear and disappear when the mouse rolls over and out of them, respectively.