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Another XP style panel bar for Web

, 16 Aug 2005 CPOL
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XP style panel bar for Web applications.

XP panel bar in action..

Introduction

Windows XP users are already familiar with a Panel Bar that appears on the left side in Windows Explorer. This article introduces another way to mimic this user interface in web applications. This article is inspired by another great article Windows XP Style Menu already available on CodeProject. However the idea presented in this article makes use of tables a lot to format the panel bar contents and also provides a way to alter stylesheets at run-time.

Panelbar Layout

The following figure shows the HTML layout of a single item in the panel bar. The exact same layout is followed by every other item in the panel bar.

HTML layout of panel bar...

  • The entire panel bar is wrapped in a div tag.
  • The actual panel bar is formed using two div tags. Mainly Header and Links.
  • The header is rendered as a single row table.
  • The item links are again rendered as table rows.

The entire panelbar HTML is generated at runtime using client side JavaScript. So you don't need to include any HTML as required by most of the other panel bars I have seen.

Driving script

The panel bar requires two JavaScript files. The Panelbar.js file houses the actual code for menu generation and ua.js houses the script used for browser detection. The page in which you want to show the panelbar needs to emit the following JavaScript code:

<script language="javascript">
  var objTmp;

  objTmp = createMenu("Community", "");
  createSubMenu(objTmp, "Site Map", "PanelBar.htm#", "", "", "", "WKSpace");
  createSubMenu(objTmp, "Add To Favorites", 
                        "PanelBar.htm#", "", "", "", "WKSpace");
  createSubMenu(objTmp, "CodeProject Stuff", 
                        "PanelBar.htm#", "", "", "", "WKSpace");
  createSubMenu(objTmp, "Who's Who", "PanelBar.htm#", "", "", "", "WKSpace");
  createSubMenu(objTmp, "Tell a friend", "PanelBar.htm#", 
                        "", "", "", "WKSpace");
  createSubMenu(objTmp, "Industry Contacts", 
                        "PanelBar.htm#", "", "", "", "WKSpace");

  objTmp = createMenu(".NET", "");
  createSubMenu(objTmp, "ASP.NET", "PanelBar.htm#", "", "", "", "WKSpace");
  createSubMenu(objTmp, "Managed C++", "PanelBar.htm#", "", "", "", "WKSpace");
  createSubMenu(objTmp, "SOAP & XML", "PanelBar.htm#", "", "", "", "WKSpace");
  createSubMenu(objTmp, "VB.NET", "PanelBar.htm#", "", "", "", "WKSpace");
  createSubMenu(objTmp, "C++ Web Services", 
                        "PanelBar.htm#", "", "", "", "WKSpace");
  createSubMenu(objTmp, "Compact Framework", 
                        "PanelBar.htm#", "", "", "", "WKSpace");
  createSubMenu(objTmp, "Cross Platform", "PanelBar.htm#", "", "", "", "WKSpace");

  setTheme("XPClassic.css", null, null)
  initialize(150);    
</script>

The createMenu function takes two parameters. The first one is the header text and the second is the tooltip text. Currently this parameter is ignored. In future, this can be used with the title attribute of the span tag and enclosing the header text within it.

The createSubMenu function takes the following six parameters:

  1. The reference to the header object under which the link items are to be rendered.
  2. The link text to be displayed.
  3. The link URL.
  4. The extra data to be passed to the link URL through the query string.
  5. The tooltip text to be displayed for the link.
  6. The name of the image file to be rendered before the link text.
  7. Finally, the target window or frame name in which the link should be opened.

The setTheme basically allows menu customization. It takes the following three parameters:

  1. The name of the custom CSS file.
  2. The relative path and name of the folder containing the custom theme file. The default value is CSS.
  3. The relative path and name of the folder containing the images used in the custom theme. The default value is IMAGES.

Finally, the initialize function which takes a single parameter and uses it to decide the width of the panelbar. This function is also responsible for generating the necessary HTML.

JavaScript structures

The panel bar is composed using the following JavaScript structures. The MenuBand structure contains information required to render the header portion. It also contains an array of sub items. The drawMenu member is responsible for rendering the header as well as the sub items.

/********************
 * Header structure *
 *******************/
function MenuBand(pstrDesc, pstrTip)
{
    // Properties
    this.id        = "";           //generated at runtime.
    this.label     = pstrDesc;     //Text to be displayed in header
    this.microHelp = pstrTip;      //Tooltip text
    this.isHeader  = true;
    this.open      = false;        //future use
    this.submenu   = new Array;    //array containing link items.
    this.smcount   = 0;            //count of sub items.

    //Methods
    this.addSubMenu = addSubMenu;  //function for item addition
    this.render     = drawMenu;    //function for rendering header
}

The SubMenu structure contains information required to render the individual sub item. Again it also has a drawMenu member which is responsible for rendering this sub item. This member is called from the drawMenu member of MenuBand.

/**********************
 * Sub item structure *
 *********************/
function SubMenu(pstrDesc, pstrLink, pstrLinkData, pstrTip, pstrImage, pstrTarget)
{
    // Properties
    this.parentId   = "";            //populated at runtime
    this.label      = pstrDesc;      //Item text to be displayed
    this.hlink      = pstrLink;      //Link url
    this.linkTarget = pstrTarget;    //Target window and or frame identifier
    this.linkData   = pstrLinkData;  //Exrta data to be passed through querystring.
    this.microHelp  = pstrTip;       //Tooltip text.
    this.isHeader   = false;
    this.isSelected = false;         //future use
    this.iconSrc    = pstrImage;     //Name of the image file.

    //Methods
    this.render     = drawSubMenu;   //function for rendering sub item.
}

Drawing functions

The two most important functions in the panel bar construction are drawMenu and drawSubMenu. As the name suggests, the drawMenu renders the header part and calls drawSubMenu on each sub item to render individual sub items.

/*************************************************************
 * Render header part and for each sub item invokes drawMenu.*
 ************************************************************/
function drawMenu()
{
    var iCntr = 0;
    var objMenu;
    var strId, strLbl;

    document.write("<div class=\"menuHeaderCollapsed\" id=\"" + this.id + "\"" + 
                    " onmouseover=\"mousehover(this)\"" + 
                    " onmouseout=\"mouseout(this)\"" +
                    "onclick=\"toggle(this)\">");
    document.write("<table border=\"0\" cellspacing=\"0\"" +
                    " cellpadding=\"4\" width=\"100%\">");
    document.write("<tr><td style=\"vertical-align: center;\">" + 
                   this.label + "</td></tr>");
    document.write("</table></div>");

    //start drawing sub menu
    document.write("<div style=\"display: none; visibility: hidden;\"" +
                    " class=\"menuItems\" id=\"" + this.id + "_child" + "\">");
    document.write("<table border=\"0\" cellspacing=\"0\"" +
                    " cellpadding=\"4\" width=\"100%\">");
    for (iCntr = 0; iCntr < this.smcount; iCntr++)
    {
        this.submenu[iCntr].render();
    }
    document.write("</table></div>");
}

/********************
 * Renders sub item.
 *******************/
function drawSubMenu()
{
    var strImg = "";

    document.write("<tr><td>");
    if (this.iconSrc)
        strImg = "<img src=\"" + _strCtxt + _imageFolder + "/" + 
                    this.iconSrc + " border=\"0\"\"> ";
    document.write("<a href=" + 
              getLink(this.linkTarget, (_strCtxt + this.hlink), this.linkData) + 
              "\">");
    document.write(strImg);
    document.write(this.label);
    document.write("</a>");
    document.write("</td></tr>");
}

Stylesheet

There is really nothing special about the stylesheet(s) used. The attached source contains four different stylesheets. The following stylesheet renders the Code Project panelbar:

body
{
    font-family: Verdana, Tahoma, Arial;
    font-size: 8pt;
    font-weight: normal;
    background-color: #FC9A04;
}

#panelBar
{
    background-color: #FC9A04;
    height: 100%;
    width: 100%;
    vertical-align: top;
}

.menuHeaderExpanded
{
    font-family: Verdana, Tahoma, Arial;
    font-size: 8pt;
    font-weight: bold;
    background-image: url('../Images/CPExpand.gif');
    background-position: right center;
    background-repeat: no-repeat;
    color: #FC9A04;
    height: 23px;
    cursor: hand;
    border-left: 1px solid #000000;
}

.menuHeaderExpandedOver
{
    font-family: Verdana, Tahoma, Arial;
    font-size: 8pt;
    font-weight: bold;
    background-image: url('../Images/CPExpand.gif');
    background-position: right center;
    background-repeat: no-repeat;
    color: #FC9A04;
    height: 23px;
    cursor: hand;
    border-left: 1px solid #000000;
}

.menuHeaderExpanded td
{
    color: #FC9A04;
    font-size: 8pt;
    font-weight: normal;
}

.menuHeaderExpandedOver td
{
    color: #FC9A04;
    font-size: 8pt;
    font-weight: bold;
}

.menuHeaderCollapsed
{
    font-family: Verdana, Tahoma, Arial;
    font-size: 8pt;
    font-weight: bold;
    background-image: url('../Images/CPCollapse.gif');
    background-position: right center;
    background-repeat: no-repeat;
    color: #FC9A04;
    height: 23px;
    cursor: hand;
    border-left: 1px solid #000000;
}

.menuHeaderCollapsedOver
{
    font-family: Verdana, Tahoma, Arial;
    font-size: 8pt;
    font-weight: bold;
    background-image: url('../Images/CPCollapse.gif');
    background-position: right center;
    background-repeat: no-repeat;
    color: #FC9A04;
    height: 23px;
    cursor: hand;
    border-left: 1px solid #000000;
}

.menuHeaderCollapsed td
{
    color: #FC9A04;
    font-size: 8pt;
    font-weight: normal;
}

.menuHeaderCollapsedOver td
{
    color: #FC9A04;
    font-size: 8pt;
    font-weight: bold;;
}

.menuItems
{
    font-family: Verdana, Tahoma, Arial;
    font-size: 8pt;
    background-color: #FFCC99;
    color: #000000;
    position: relative;
}

.menuItems table
{
    font-family: Tahoma, Verdana, Arial;
    font-size: 8pt;
    background-color: #FFCC99;
    color: #000000;
    border-top: 1px solid #000000;
    border-left: 1px solid #000000;
    border-right: 1px solid #000000;
    border-bottom: 1px solid #000000;
}

.menuItems a
{
    color: #000000;
    text-decoration: none;
}

.menuItems a:hover
{
    color: #000000;
    font-weight: bold;
    text-decoration: none;
}

Possible Enhancements

  • Support for browsers other than Internet Explorer 6.0 and FireFox 1.0.
  • Support for header tooltips.
  • Drawing box around sub item upon mouse hover.

Revision History

  • Feb. 11, 2005

    First release.

  • Feb. 17, 2005

    Fixed images and stylesheets to remove arrow direction bug.

  • Apr. 13, 2005

    Fixed image not getting displayed bug for subitems.

  • Aug 17, 2005
    1. Support for background images for individual panel.
    2. Support for multiple panel instances.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

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About the Author

Prasad Khandekar
Software Developer (Senior) Freelancer
India India
I am a software professional with over 20 years of commercial business applications design and development experience.
 
My programming experience includes Java, Spring, .NET, Classic VB & ASP, Scripting, Power Builder, PHP, Magic & far far ago FoxPro, C, Assembly and COBOL.
 
From last 11 years I am mostly working with Java Technology. I am currently available to take up new assignments.

Comments and Discussions

 
Generalfile panelbarOrig.js problem!!! Pinmembertrieutanvinh20-Jul-08 17:36 
GeneralThe script is superb but should be explained in a better way. Pinmemberdecent_john14-Sep-06 7:11 
GeneralBalooney. Pinmembersilviudusa9-Aug-06 10:44 
GeneralRe: Balooney. PinmemberPrasad Khandekar10-Aug-06 5:23 
GeneralRe: Balooney. Pinmembersilviudusa10-Aug-06 6:07 
GeneralRe: Balooney. PinmemberPrasad Khandekar11-Aug-06 6:50 
GeneralRe: Balooney. PinmemberMaxProgger22-Aug-06 23:43 
GeneralRe: Balooney. PinmemberAndrewVos6-Nov-06 8:24 
QuestionOpen by default.. Pinmemberrobyzurieta5-Apr-06 22:53 
AnswerRe: Open by default.. PinmemberPrasad Khandekar12-Apr-06 6:21 
GeneralNesting panels Pinmembercodegalaxy13-Feb-06 12:46 
GeneralIE 7 Problem Pinmemberzolf11-Feb-06 21:06 
Questioncollapsed problem PinmemberRom20002-Jan-06 17:26 
QuestionProblems With Menu PinmemberJim Keller15-Nov-05 17:24 
AnswerRe: Problems With Menu PinmemberPrasad Khandekar28-Nov-05 4:35 
AnswerRe: Problems With Menu Pinmemberoordopjes9-Dec-05 4:17 
GeneralPlease help Pinmemberzolf16-Oct-05 23:24 
I am trying to add a form to a page along with the panel bar.the problem i have is when i open a sub menu the form also goes down.i mean the form is not stationary.pleaseeee help.i will appreciate your help.
 
cheers

GeneralRe: Please help PinmemberPrasad Khandekar17-Oct-05 21:06 
QuestionHow do I open page in same window Pinmemberzolf16-Oct-05 1:27 
AnswerRe: How do I open page in same window PinmemberPrasad Khandekar17-Oct-05 21:09 
QuestionTab pane Pinmemberzolf10-Oct-05 22:14 
GeneralCannot view the panel bar PinsussAnonymous9-Oct-05 22:08 
GeneralRe: Cannot view the panel bar PinmemberPrasad Khandekar10-Oct-05 6:29 
Generaltoggle on load Pinsussamine kassir22-Aug-05 6:16 
GeneralFails in Firefox Pinmembergxdata20-Aug-05 19:32 

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