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IP.Content 2.3 Dev Update: Navigation Bar

We hope that everyone is enjoying reading about the upcoming changes you will see in IP.Content 2.3. As we outlined originally, our focus is on four primary goals: usability, consistency, SEO and strengthening our existing feature set. One common usability issue our clients have pointed out is that after they create a page, there is not an easy way to link to the page in the primary navigation bar. While you can certainly edit the skin to accomplish this (and indeed, this is what most clients ultimately do), we have decided to build into IP.Content 2.3 a more robust and easier to use solution.

Our new primary navigation menu manager

Beginning with IP.Content 2.3, there will be a new link under the IP.Content 'Settings' module labeled "Navigation Menu". In order to use this new feature, a hook (provided in the IP.Content download and installed automatically for you) must be enabled - if it is not, the page will show you an error message indicating that the hook must first be enabled before you can utilize the navigation menu manager. Otherwise, you will be presented with a list of the applications installed in their current positioned order (which determines the tab order on the front end).

You can edit these applications from here to perform the following functions:

  • Change the tab 'title' (the text that shows when you mouse over the tab)
  • Change the application's public title (be aware that third party language packs can override this)
  • Toggle whether the tab is hidden or not
  • Change the tab permissions (who has access to see the tab)
  • Add custom attributes to the anchor tag that is drawn. This is a feature unique to IP.Content, allowing you to add custom onclick handlers, rel attributes, and other similar attributes to your tabs if you have a need.

In addition to being able to manage your existing applications, you can add custom tabs to your navigation bar from this page. Your custom tabs can be normal tabs that link to a page, or a dropdown menu (and you can choose whether to activate the dropdown menu when clicked, or when moused over). If you choose to make the tab a dropdown menu, you will be presented with an area to provide the links to display in this dropdown menu. As with applications, you can define the text to display on the tab, the 'title' or mouseover text, which groups can see the tab, and custom attributes to append to the HTML anchor tag. Additionally, you will need to supply the URL as well.

You can reorder your tabs in any order you like, putting them before, after, or intermingled with your regular application tabs. A handy preview window at the top of the screen allows you to quickly and easily see what the end result will look like, without having to visit the community front end and refresh the page. This preview is shown inside an iframe and is updated automatically whenever you reorder your tabs.

Tabs will automatically highlight when you are viewing that page, and disable associated application tabs from highlighting, if appropriate. For instance, if you link to an IP.Content page, the 'Pages' tab will no longer highlight, since a more appropriate tab has been lit up. Database strings are ignored, so any category or record you view on that page will still cause the tab to light up. Additionally, if you view a page that is linked to within a submenu, the submenu tab will light up.

Here are a few screenshots to give you an idea of the interface

Here is the overview screen, showing the tab bar preview, list of applications, and list of custom tabs you may have added.

Editing an application allows you to manage tab and link related details

Adding a custom tab allows you to create a submenu if you wish to, with an unlimited number of links in it

New tab bar on the front end, complete with custom tabs and a dropdown menu

Wrapping up

And no, that's not a pun based on the fact that Christmas just passed. :wink: It's a natural action for a new client to add a page and proceed to want to place a tab link to that new page on the front end, only to find that this requires navigating to the template manager and jumping into the HTML code to accomplish. This new module in IP.Content should make it much easier for new users and advanced users alike to quickly add navigational tabs to their custom pages (or any link they want!) in IP.Content. We will be monitoring feedback on this new module to look for ways to improve it in future releases, so please share your thoughts in the IP.Content feedback forum. And we look forward to your comments on this new feature below!

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