Building Content Management Systems
& e-Business Solutions

Tutorials: Dynamic Navigation 

Correct set-up is vital in getting the most out of Clear Site's navigation modules.  When applied properly, the website will have the capacity to maintain an inventory of all the different sections within it.  These sections play a key role in:

  • Applying the communications package.
  • Permitting the website owner to manage multiple blocks of navigation as opposed to a hierarchal menu system.

Applying Sections and Pages with Navigation Blocks

Sections are a way of grouping pages together.  Grouped pages are able to share a secondary navigation bar.  Figure II shows a design template that has sitewide navigation across the top — plus a secondary navigation bar on the left-hand side.

The horizontal navigation block across the top appears on every page of the site and displays links to the different sections of the website.  The vertical navigation running down the left-hand side displays links to pages within the current section.

  • When you surf into a different section, all of the links on the left will change, even though the same page layout is being used.
  • When a link is added to the left-hand navigation block, that link will show up on all of the pages in the current section.

Case Study

Figure I shows the home page of a website which uses four separate navigation blocks (actually six, but only four are visible, so I will limit this discussion to those four).  This company also has a communications department. Therefore, these blocks of links must all work together so that the site is divided into sections, and the communications department can assign editing permissions of the different sections, to different people.

Break Down of the Navigation Scheme

In the top black region there is a "sitewide navigation block".  Sitewide means that each page of the site includes this navigation bar. Therefore when a link is added or removed, the entire site is updated.  In the red region just below the black — there is also a sitewide navigation block.  There is one very important difference between the black and the red.  Adding a link to the black will create a new section.  Adding a link to the red will make a new page.

Next we have the black and red blocks near the bottom of the page (actually the page is cut off).  Both of these navigational blocks make sections when links are added, but these two blocks only appear on the home page of the site — in other words, they are not "sitewide".

Applying Sections and Pages with Navigational with Hierarchal Drop-downs

The hierarchal drop-down menu system handles sectioning and page creation automatically.  However, unlike navigation blocks — multiple drop-down menu systems cannot work together.  The hierarchal menu is intended to be used as primary navigation (a navigation block can be used as a secondary supplement to a hierarchal menu, but only to create pages).

Sections within sections: is it possible?

Yes.  Hierarchal menus handle this process automatically.  Navigational blocks are a bit trickier, but they will do it if you design your templates correctly.  Here is a hypothetical example of the template construction requirements.

  1. Once the design is ready, make as many copies of the HTML as you need to accommodate all of the different contents this website will hold (text page, photo gallery page, etc).
  2. Create one navigation block that is sitewide, and creates sections.
  3. Create another navigation block that is not sitewide, and creates sections.
  4. Create a third navigation block that is not sitewide, and creates pages.

Discussion Points

  • The navigation block from step II will appear the same on all pages and create the main-sections of the site.
  • The navigation block from step III will display the sub-sections of the currently selected main-section.  Therefore, each main-section will have it's own sub-sections.
  • The navigation block from step IV will display the pages of the currently selected section (main or sub).
  • You can think of all this the same way you think of folders, sub-folders and files.  A folder may contain both folders and files — the same is true for a sub-folder.

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Figure I
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Figure II
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Figure III
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