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DotNetNuke Daily Tip #10 7/19/06 Other Menu Options?

DotNetNuke Daily Tip for 7/19/2006

DotNetNuke comes with a lot of functionality out of the box that people don't even know exists. Once of those items that has been overlooked by many with the latest releases of DotNetNuke is the DNNMenu, part of the ClientAPI Framework that Jon Henning has worked on.

The SolPartMenu is by far the most used menu for DotNetNuke, it's been part of DNN since the early days, and really can be quite powerful in its implementation. It's also been a big beef with a lot of skin designers as getting solpartmenu working just right can be a bit tricky, and torturous at times. I'm actually a fan of the SolPartMenu, but for today's tip I want to point you to a few resources on the DNNMenu.

I recently, as in last night, implemented the DNNMenu for my wedding site I've been putting together the past few days, you can see it implemented at

The DNNMenu was created by Jon Henning, the same developer of the Original SolPartMenu. Here's a quote from Jon

“A few people asked me, the author of the Solution Partners Hierarchical Menu Control, why I would develop a competing menu control to my own.  The answer is simple.  The SolpartMenu is old and carries a lot of baggage with its almost 4 years worth of backwards compatibility.  It has been a goal for v2 of the solpartmenu to abstract all of the common logic not specific to the menu into separate js files that could be reused by other controls and applications.  This is exactly what the ClientAPI is; an abstraction of logic like positioning, DOM access, XML, etc.  The script for the menu should contain only code for the menu, thus making it easier to maintain and enhance.  So in essence, the DNNMenu is in a lot of ways the solpartmenu v2.0.” 

And some of the features for DNNMenuKeyboard Navigation
The menu can now receives focus as the user tabs through the controls on the page.  Once it has focus, you can use the arrow keys to navigate its structure.  Pressing enter will invoke the menu item's clickaction. 

Populate On Demand
The DNNMenu will support POD in the same manner as the DNNTree control.  This provide a nice performance boost for those of you concerned with page sizes.  I even had time to make the module actions menu support POD.  See chart below for comparisons between each option and other menus.

Mouse In Delay
One of the features of the Solpart menu that was continually asked for was a mouse-in delay.  This delay allows for people who are navigating to the sub-menus and accidentally move off the parent some grace period to get it right.  The DNNMenu defaults this value to a quarter of a second (.25).  I believe this is acceptable, however, for users used to the fast response times of other menus, it may look like the DNNMenu is a little sluggish.  Note:  At this time there is no way of configuring this property in the skin.

No Hardcoded Markup
Probably the biggest regret I had in the original design of the Solpart menu was the hardcoding of certain tags in the code.  This included the NOWRAP attribute added to the menu items, the use of spacer.gif and   to obtain the correct spacing, and the worst of all, the hardcoding of the border around the menu items when hovering.  None of this hardcoding is present in the DNNMenu.  Note:  the one exception is the spacer.gif that is used to do the iframe trick.  I need a url to point the IFrame to in order to not get the security error when the site uses SSL.

Option to Remove All Use of Tables
The menu supports a property that will completely remove its use of tables.  Hopefully this will appease those developers and skinners who think that tableless designs are the way to go.  I originally had the UseTables property default to False, but since it was too difficult to keep things lined up across browsers without adding some "hard-coding" to the css, I decided that I would default it to True and offer the most flexibility.  



Stay tuned for another DotNetNuke Daily Tip coming tomorrow!


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