Are you the type of person that writes menus by hand in view files or do you find yourself looking for the best place to store links to pages on your website? then Menu is for you!
An item list is what a menu is all about and it should be pretty self explanatory because it simply stores a list of items. there are some configurations available for an item list. You can, for example set the HMTL element that will be used to render the list, prefix every item in the list with all the parent’s url segments,
and a lot more. We will explore these options later.
Menu handlers allow us to create and interact with item lists and act as a place to store and retrieve our menus. Because we are able to interact with multiple item lists at the same time some interesting possibilities become available to us.
The Menu package has 2 types of items available out of the box.
- Link For creating links to other pages
- Raw Be free to add anything you like in the item. This type is usually used for dividers, titles etc.
The HTML element and attributes for the item can also be changed, more on this topic later.
Install Menu via the artisan command line tool. Open the terminal and navigate to your Laravel project’s root. Now type the following command :
php artisan bundle:install menu
To let Laravel know the Laravel Menu package should be started, open up
application/packages.php and add the following lines to the packages array.
'menu' => array('auto' => true),
Add this to your
And add the following to your
app/config/app.php file :
- In the Service Providers array :
- In the aliases array :
'Menu' => 'Menu\Menu',
The Laravel Menu packages consists of a couple of classes, but you can interact with all of them via the Menu class. Let’s take a look at the handler method. it takes a string or an array as the only argument, the string(s) given are the names for the item lists we want to retrieve. If an itemlist we asked for didn’t exist yet, it will create it for us. After the menu class has found and created the item lists we want, it will hand back a menuhandler that handles the item lists we asked for.
// Get a MenuHandler instance that handles an ItemList named "main" Menu::handler('main');
When we call a method on this menu handler, it will simply forward the call to all the item lists that it handles. In order to find out what we can do now that we have a handler, we need to take a look at the methods on the ItemList class.
The ItemList class has a method called add that you are probably going to use a lot. It adds an Item of type “link” to the ItemList.
Menu::handler('main')->add('home', 'Homepage'); /* The add method takes these arguments $url string The URL to another page $title string The visible string on the link $children (default = null) ItemList (optional) The children of this page $link_attributes (default = array()) array (optional) HTML attributes for the <a> element $item_attributes (default = array()) array (optional) HTML attributes for the list element (usually <li>) $item_element (default = 'li') string (optional) The type of the list element */
Let’s take a look at the raw method, for adding “anything” to the list.
Menu::handler('main')->raw('<img src="img/seperator.gif">'); /* The raw method takes these arguments $html string The contents of the item $children (default = null) ItemList (optional) The children of this item $item_attributes (default = array()) array (optional) HTML attributes for the list element (usually <li>) $item_element (default = 'li') string (optional) The type of the list element */
Great! Now that we have learned how to add items to an item list, let’s have a look at how we add children to a item. Every item can have children, the children object is just another ItemList. As we have seen before, we can create item lists via the handler method, but this method returns a MenuHandler, making it unusable for item children. So what do we use? the items method returns a fresh ItemList object. Let’s have a look.
Menu::handler('main') ->add('home', 'Homepage', Menu::items() ->add('sub-of-home', 'Sub of homepage')); /* The items method takes these arguments $name (default = null) string (optional) The name (=identifier) of this ItemList $attributes (default = array()) array (optional) HTML attributes for the ItemList element (usually <ul>) $element (default = 'ul') string (optional) The type of the ItemList element */
So now we know how to build menus, add items and items with children. Let’s find out how to display the menus. The MenuHandler and ItemList classes implement the “__toString” method, that calls the render method. This means you can simply echo the MenuHandler or ItemList object. Here is an example to make things more clear.
echo Menu::handler('main'); // Is the same as echo Menu::handler('main')->render();
The render method (only) takes an array with render options, presented below.
- max_depth Hide items below a certain depth
- active_class Change the (automatically added) class for the active item
- active_child_class Change the (automatically added) class for the item that has an active child item
Now that we have the basics under control, we are going to explore some other cool features this package provides.
You might have noticed earlier that the items method takes a “name” as the first argument. And you also might have wondered what it is for.
Thanks for following along and using this package. More last words soon