0.4.1 • Published 5 years ago

assemble-navigation v0.4.1

Weekly downloads
138
License
MIT
Repository
github
Last release
5 years ago

Navigation Generator Plugin for Assemble

New Note: Ver. 0.4.1 Introduces a CHANGELOG.md file (in site root). Please check it before upgrading Assemble-Navigation

Note: This version of Assemble-Navigation is a public-beta designed to be used with Assemble v0.11+. Depending on feedback and testing, I might have to make breaking changes to the API.

Otherwise, feel free to use it and share your thoughts.

What is Assemble?

From the Assemble Repository →

Get the rocks out of your socks! Assemble makes you fast at creating web projects. Assemble is used by thousands of projects for rapid prototyping, creating themes, scaffolds, boilerplates, e-books, UI components, API documentation, blogs, building websites / static site generator, alternative to jekyll for gh-pages and more! Assemble can also be used with gulp and grunt.

Assemble-Navigation is a middleware collection to generate and inject hierarchal navigation data into a page's context. That page can then use a template or partial to build any kind of menu.

I've also created a collection of navigation-helpers to make building menus and breadcrumbs easier. But you can use any template helpers you like.

How it works

Every page object that passes through Assemble's build process contains meta data about it's location in the file hierarchy of the source directory, which can also be the hierarchy of the destination directory as well. Assemble-Navigation exploits this relationship between files to help automate your menu creation process.

The directory hierarchy of the site is used to infer the navigation hierarchy. For example, if the site root has a directory named "products", we likely want the main navigation to have a "Products" link with the directory's children listed below as links in a dropdown.

The middleware parses the page views as Assemble loads files and creates a hierarchal navigation object that is then added back into each page's data object before rendering. This navigation object contains all the information needed to render attractive menus.

The site builder can then create templates that use these objects to build menu's of their choosing.

Assemble-Navigation uses sensible defaults that can be overridden in the Assemblefile.js file, front-matter, etc. By default, the Assebmle-Navigation creates one menu called main and place all pages into it. The site builder can override this default by adding a new menu called footer, and then update the front-matter of some pages to indicate that the page belongs in footer instead of main. Similar methods can be used to specify a custom sort order, use an alternative title in the menu, etc.

The data passed to each page's template is altered for each page to indicate the current page and it's parents. You can use this in your templates to add css classes to highlight these menu items.

More details

##Installation

Install via npm

npm i assemble-navigation --save

Requires Assemble 0.11 or later.

You might also want to install the navigation-helpers.

npm i navigation-helpers --save

How To Use

###Basic Configuration Using Defaults

These instructions assume that you have a basic understanding of Gulp style Assemble. Using this package will be vastly easier if you first understand how to build a basic Assemble site.

Assemble-navigation is designed to use common-sense defaults to ease configuration. It infers the navigation hierarchy from the directory structure of the site. What you have to do is configure Assemble to use the middleware. That's done requiring Assemble-Navigation and setting it up as a middleware for each of your renderable views.

var assemble = require('assemble');
var Navigation = require('assemble-navigation');

var app = assemble();

/* create an instance of navigation, you can pass in an 
optional object hash with config parameters */
var navigation = new Navigation();

/* Attach middleware to onLoad and preRender events for select views */
app.pages.onLoad(/\.hbs$|\.md$/, navigation.onLoad());
app.pages.preRender(/\.hbs$|\.md$/, navigation.preRender());

Once your middleware is configured, you then update the Assemble task(s) responsible for your load/render cycle. Usually, templating tasks use Assemble's streaming workflow to read and immediately render views. You can think of it as a factory production line that takes in a raw view file on one end and builds each individual page by preforming an operation at a series of stations along that line. One station might process the frontmatter. The next could apply the templates. A later station would write the file out to the destination directory. And the last station typically notifies the browser to reload.

Under this configuration, some pages might already be rendered out before the last page can be processed by Assemble-Navigation. We need to pause the production line between the onLoad and onRender steps and allow all the views to be processed by Navigation's onLoad middleware before restating the stream. During this time, the processed views sit in a buffer and wait until the last one is processed. Our task then restarts the stream.

This complicated sounding process is actually quite simple to implement thanks to Assemble's versatile API.

/* a sample task */
app.task('content', function () {
  /* clear out any old data (important during development) */
  navigation.clearMenus();
  /* `src/content` would be designated as the cwd */
  /* Normally, app.pages would immediately pipe right into app.renderFile */
  app.pages('src/content/**/*.{md,hbs}');
  /* app.toStream isn't called until app.pages finishes loading */
  return app.toStream('pages')
    .pipe(app.renderFile()) 
    .on('err', console.error)
    .pipe(extname())
    .pipe(app.dest('build'));
});

Also notice the call to navigation.clearMenus();. When building the site interactively, this function clears out old data in the menus, giving you a clean slate on each load/render cycle.

By default, the next time the Assemble loads a view onto the page collection, the onLoad middleware will build your navigation object. When Assemble prepares to render the pages, the preRender middleware creates a copy of the navigation object and adds it to the data attribute of each page it generates. Once in the view, you can use the data it supplies in any way you need. For example...

<ul>
{{#each navigation.main.items }} 
    <li><a href="{{{url}}}" >{{{title}}}</a></li>
{{/each  }} 
</ul>

this will create a list of links for all the pages in your site root (using the default config).

The navigation data looks something like this...

{
  "main": {
    "items": [
      {
        "title": "home page",
        "url": "/index.html",
        "linkId": "index",
        "isCurrentPage": false,
        "isActive": false,
        "data": {
          "title": "home page",
          "ext": ".hbs"
        },
        "items": [],
        "menuPath": [
          "."
        ],
        "basename": "index"
      },
      {
        "title": "About Us",
        "url": "/about.html",
        "linkId": "about",
        "isCurrentPage": false,
        "isActive": false,
        "data": {
          "title": "About this site",
          "menu-title": "About Us",
          "ext": ".md"
        },
        "items": [],
        "menuPath": [
          ".",
          "about"
        ],
        "basename": "about"
      },
      {
        "title": "products",
        "url": "/products/index.html",
        "linkId": "products-index",
        "isCurrentPage": false,
        "isActive": false,
        "data": {
          "title": "products",
          "ext": ".md"
        },
        "items": [
          {
            "title": "Cameras and Video",
            "url": "/products/cameras.html",
            "linkId": "products-cameras",
            "isCurrentPage": false,
            "isActive": false,
            "data": {
              "title": "Cameras and Video",
              "ext": ".hbs"
            },
            "items": [],
            "menuPath": [
              "products",
              "cameras"
            ],
            "basename": "cameras"
          },
          {
            "title": "Computing Equipment",
            "url": "/products/computers.html",
            "linkId": "products-computers",
            "isCurrentPage": false,
            "isActive": false,
            "data": {
              "title": "Computing Equipment",
              "ext": ".hbs"
            },
            "items": [],
            "menuPath": [
              "products",
              "computers"
            ],
            "basename": "computers"
          },
          {
            "title": "Storage Media",
            "url": "/products/media.html",
            "linkId": "products-media",
            "isCurrentPage": false,
            "isActive": false,
            "data": {
              "title": "Storage Media",
              "ext": ".hbs"
            },
            "items": [],
            "menuPath": [
              "products",
              "media"
            ],
            "basename": "media"
          }
        ],
        "menuPath": [
          "products"
        ],
        "basename": "index"
      }
    ]
  }
}

What you see above is the navigation object containing one menu, named main, that contains all the site's root items inside an array named items. The products menu item contains three children items inside it's items array. Creating a menu in HTML is as simple as looping over series of items with your templates.

Anatomy of a Menu Item

Assemble-Navigation provides three types of objects. The navigation object contains all your site's menus as instances of the menu object. Each menu can contain one or more menuItem objects, which can also contain child menuItem objects (and so-on and so-forth). This data structure allows the creation of many levels and types of menus schemes.

While it might look complicated at first glance, by understanding how menuItem objects work, you can quickly grasp the basics of putting them to use.

Here's an example from the menu shown above, the Products index page.

{
	"title": "Products",
	"url": "/products/index.html",
	"linkId": "products-index",
	"isCurrentPage": false,
	"isActive": false,
	"data": {
	  "title": "Products",
	  "ext": ".md"
	},
	"items": [ OBJECT, OBJECT, OBJECT],
	"menuPath": [
	  "products"
	],
}

We'll walk through each of it's attributes and describe their purpose and use.

title

Title represents the title of the page and can be used as the link text that's rendered in the menu. By default, the title is pulled from the file's name (aka, the stem value or the filename minus the extension). This can be overridden by setting a title or menu-title value in the page's front matter.

url

Used as a root relative path in any href attributes. The URL is based on the source file's relative path in the current working directory (CWD) used to load the files. The extension is rewritten.

linkId

A unique identifier for the menuItem. Only unique to other items in the menu, other menu's might have menuItems with the same ID. If you use this attribute to create an HTML ID attribute, you might want to append a sting to it to guarantee uniqueness.

isCurrentPage && isActive

Before injecting a copy of a navigation into a page view. Assemble-Navigation crawls the menu's and highlights the current page if it appears in that menu by setting isCurrentPage to true. Any parent items will also have their isActive attribute set to true. You can use this to add css classes to the menu items. These attributes can also be used to create breadcrumbs by crawling the menu and following isActive attributes.

data

A copy of the view's data attribute. If you need to pass custom values to the menu template, it's as easy as setting them in the page's front matter.

items

An array of the menu item's children (if any).

menuPath

Used internally by Assemble-Navigation to create menu hierarchies.

Creating Custom Menu Items

Sometimes, you need menu items that don't come from you're Assemble app's pages. For example, you might need to link to another site or link to a downloadable file like a PDF.

Using .customMenuItem(config)

Creates a custom menuItem without the use of a view. Could be used to link to a third-party site or to a file (PDF, etc.) that isn't a view.

/* link to an outside site */
navigation.customMenuItem({
	title: 'Our Friend`s Site',
	url: 'http://example.com',
	menuPath: 'about/friends',
	menu: 'main',
	data: {target: '_blank'}
});

/* link to PDF */
navigation.customMenuItem({
	title: 'Sales Brochure',
	url: '/downloads/pdf/salesbrochure.pdf',
	menuPath: 'info/downloads',
	linkId: 'sales-brochure-link'
});

Config Attributes:

  • title {string} The menu link text
  • url {string} (required) link target. Can be a root-relative path, a full URL or a url hash (e.g. #target).
  • menuPath {string} (rquired) Placement location in the menu hierarchy. Use . to place menu item in the primary nav.
  • menu {string} String or array indicating which menu(s) item appears in. Leave out to use default.
  • data {object}

You'll most likely would want to call customMenuItem config from within a task.

Specifying Additional or Alternative Menus

Having just one menu on our page is boring. Fortunately, we can add more when creating an instance of the Navigation object. Assemble Navigation's configuration is changed by passing a config object when creating an instance of the Navigation object.

var navigation = new Navigation({
  'menus': ['main', 'footer', 'features'], 
  'default': 'main'
});

Above, we just added two menus to our navigation, footer and features. When overriding the defaults, if you want to keep the main menu, you must also add it to your config. Also, the config object has a default attribute set to main, so that pages are assigned to it unless specified.

Now, our customized navigation looks like this...

{
    "main": {
        "items": [
          {
              "title": "About",
              "url": "/about.html",
              "isCurrentPage": false,
              "isActive": false,
              "linkId": "main-about",
              "menu_index": 0
          },
          {
              "title": "Welcome to Our Home Page with a Very Long Title",
              "url": "/index.html",
              "isCurrentPage": false,
              "isActive": false,
              "linkId": "main-index",
              "menu_index": 1
          },
          {
              "title": "New Products",
              "url": "/newproducts.html",
              "isCurrentPage": false,
              "isActive": false,
              "linkId": "main-newproducts",
              "menu_index": 2
          },
        ]
    },
    "footer": {
        "items": []
    },
    "features": {
        "items": []
    }
}

See Configuring Page and Link Attributes to find out how to add pages to the other menus and to provide alternative titles.

Flat Menus

Some extra menus, like the footer menu, usually contain only a few items and don't require a hierarchal organization. It would be better to place all menu items in the menu's root items array. We can tell Navigation to do this for us by configuring a menu's type attribute to flat.

When designating the additional menus, instead of passing in a string of with the menu's name, we create a menu config object and add it to the menus array in the config.

var navigation = new Navigation({'menus': [
  'header', 
  {'menu-name': 'footer', 'type': 'flat'}
]);

###Configuring Page and Link Attributes

Let's say we want to deemphasize the About page and make the New Products page a featured page. A links menu and settings can be changed by adding options to the YAML front matter of the corresponding page. Assemble Navigation already takes advantage of the commonly used custom variable title to set the link's title. (If title is not set, Navigation uses the page's basename, e.g. index for index.html.)

To assign a page to another menu, we simply set it's menu property.

---
title: About
menu: footer
---

Now, About will appear in the footer. We can also assign a page to more than one menu.

---
title: New Products
menu: 
    - main
    - features
---

Finally, we want our homepage link to have a shorter title. We can do this by setting it's menu-title variable.

---
title: Welcome to Our Home Page with a Very Long Title
menu-title: Home
---

At this point, our navigation object should look like this...

{
    "main": {
        "items": [
          {
              "title": "Home",
              "url": "/index.html",
              "isCurrentPage": false,
              "isActive": false,
              "linkId": "main-index",
              "menu_index": 0
          },
          {
              "title": "New Products",
              "url": "/newproducts.html",
              "isCurrentPage": false,
              "isActive": false,
              "linkId": "main-newproducts",
              "menu_index": 1
          },
        ]
    },
    "footer": {
        "items": [
          {
              "title": "About",
              "url": "/about.html",
              "isCurrentPage": false,
              "isActive": false,
              "linkId": "footer-about",
              "menu_index": 0
          }
        ]
    },
    "features": {
        "items": [
          {
            "title": "New Products",
            "url": "/newproducts.html",
            "isCurrentPage": false,
            "isActive": false,
            "linkId": "features-newproducts",
            "menu_index": 0
          }
        ]
    }
}

About is relegated to the gutter of our page and New Products now appears twice.

Creating a responsive menu from the data.navigation object

A demo site with a public github repo is in the works. For now, here's an example of a handlebars partial using the data.navigation attribute to create a Zurb Foundation top-bar component based on a site's main menu.

<div class="title-bar" data-responsive-toggle="page-top-bar" data-hide-for="medium">
  <button class="menu-icon" type="button" data-toggle></button>
  <div class="title-bar-title" data-toggle>Navigation Demo</div>
</div>
<div class="top-bar" id="page-top-bar">
  <div class="row">
    <div class="top-bar-left">
      <ul class="drilldown menu" data-responsive-menu="drilldown medium-dropdown">
        <li class="menu-text"><a href="/">Navigation Demo</a></li>
        {{#each navigation.main.items }}
          {{#compare linkId "!=" 'index'}}
            {{#if items.length}}
              <li class="has-dropdown{{#if isCurrentPage}} current-page{{/if}}" data-linkid="{{linkId}}">
                <a href="{{{url}}}" >{{{title}}}</a>
                <ul class="menu vertical">
                  <li class="{{#if isCurrentPage}}current-page{{/if}}"  data-linkid="{{linkId}}"><a href="{{{url}}}" >{{{title}}}</a></li>
                  {{#each this.items}}
                    <li class="{{#if isCurrentPage}}current-page{{/if}}"  data-linkid="{{linkId}}"><a href="{{{url}}}" >{{{title}}}</a></li>
                  {{/each}}
                </ul>
              </li>
            {{else}}
              <li class="no-dropdown {{#if isCurrentPage}}current-page{{/if}}"  data-linkid="{{linkId}}"><a href="{{{url}}}" >{{{title}}}</a></li>
            {{/if}}
          {{/compare}}
        {{/each}}
      </ul>
    </div>
  </div>
</div>

Inside the base component markup, we see a handlebars each helper that loops over the menu items of the main menu's items array. The compare helper is used to skip the homepage (a link to home is used elsewhere in the top-bar). The menu item is then tested to see if it has any children, if so a drop down is rendered and the children are added. Otherwise, a link without a dropdown is created.

This example implements Foundation to create the navigation, but using using another front-end framework would be just as simple.

Note: this example doesn't include any means of sorting links. Future versions of Assemble-Navigation will include some means of specifying an order. Also the upcoming template helper package will contain some functionality to help sort menu items.

Sorting And Ordering Menu items

By default, the only ordering Navigation does is to make sure that index pages are at the front/top of any items array. The rest of the items appear in the order they arrive, which is usually alphabetical. There are two ways you can define the ordering of your menus...

  • In the templates you can sort menu items before rendering
  • In your AssembleFile using a sorting function

Both of these methods use the attributes in your menu items.

Sorting inside templates

In your templates, you can use helpers to sort items before looping over them. See Navigation-Helpers and Handlebars-Helpers for some useful template helpers.

Any value exposed by a MenuItem can be used for sorting or filtering, an especially useful method is to add a sorting field to the front matter of pages that you want to sort.

The next version of Assemble-Navigation will have a means to order menu items inside the config object used when declaring a Navigation instance. See the Issue Queue for this and other enhancements.

Creating a sorting function

A sorting function is passed to a menu after all views are loaded and before rendering. It's similar to using JavaScripts Array.sort function but with two significant differences:

  • The function is applied to the menu and any submenus recursively.
  • A reference to the parent item of the two siblings being compared is also passed into the function.

Here's an example of a simple sort function that orders menu items by title.

// Your sorting function
function sortByTitle (menuItem_a, menuItem_b, parent) {
  if(menuItem_a.title > menuItem_b.title){
    return 1;
  }
  if(menuItem_a.title < menuItem_b.title){
    return -1;
  }
  return 0;
}
// sort the main menu
navigation.menus.main.sort(sortByTitleOrSpecial);

The parent parameter is useful when you want to use different sorting strategies for different menus. For example, you can use an Alpha-by-Title sort for your products page and sort blog posts using a timestamp value in the post's front matter. See the test file sort-spect.js for examples.

By breaking out sorting as a separate function, you're free to create any sorting method you like. And because it's a function, you can save it into a different module or package for reuse in other projects or to share on npm. You can also include one sorting function inside another to compose a specific solution out of more general sorting functions.

Common Issues

Assemble-Navigation is still in beta, so your first time using it might be a bit rough. Below are some common issues you might run into. If you're stumped, feel free to ask a question in the Issue Queue. Some common problems and their solutions are listed below.

Out of memory errors

Assemble-Navigation adds about 10% to the average memory usage of an assemblefile. But improper configurations will cause a runaway process and memory leaks. First, check to see if the middleware is attached to renderable views, like app.pages. Attaching the middleware directly to the app object will cause it to respond to all kinds of events it doesn't need to, causing a memory leak.

Menu items missing

Your typical Assemble render task operates in an unbroken stream of reading files from source, rendering them and immediately writing out rendered pages to the destination directory. In this typical workflow, the first page of a site may be written to disk before the last source file is read.

Assemble-Navigation needs to process every page in the site before it can render a complete menu. To make this possible, the task needs to rewritten to buffer views during the onLoad stage until all views have been parsed by Navigation. Once this is done, the stream is started again by calling app.toStream('YOURVIEW'), and piping the output to app.renderFile().

Failing to pause the stream will often cause pages to render with incomplete menus. Make sure all views are loaded before calling app.renderFile().

Duplicate menu items

When building your Assemble website interactively, the Navigation object may be persisted between runs of your load/render cycle. If so, menu item objects created in previous runs may still exist in your menus. Calling navigation.clearMenus(); before reloading views will clear out those old menu items.

Release History

v0.4.0

Added sorting mechanism. Removed Vinyl as a peer dependency for MenuItem creation. Added flat menus.

v0.3.0

Beta release

Contributing and Issues

Feel free to submit issues or pull requests for assemble-navigation. Questions on use can also be submitted to the issue queue.

There's a suite of unit tests. mocha test/*-spec.js

Note: when running tests for the first time, Mocha might time out due to loading Assemble and it's dependencies. If this happens, try running the tests a second time.

License

© 2016 John O'Donnell (Critical Mash Inc.) Released under the MIT license.