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Drop-down Menu Builders


Dan Wellman evaluates free and commercial software that can help you create menus that expand into sub-menus and are used as a means of navigating your site. He looks at browser-based and GUI-based formats and makes some recommendations.

Author Info:
By: Dan Wellman
Rating: 5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars / 76
June 23, 2004
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · Drop-down Menu Builders
  2. · Why Use JavaScript Menu Creation Software
  3. · Freeware
  4. · Software for Businesses
  5. · Apycom DHTML Menu and Visual Quick Menu Pro

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Drop-down Menu Builders - Freeware
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Beginning then with the home user who has one small site to add interactivity to, the obvious choice is a freeware application. Strangely enough though, there are relatively few fully freeware applications available that are specifically designed for creating JavaScript menus, and those that are around are pretty basic in both interface and output. Nevertheless, an excellent resource for simple solutions is EZMenu 3.0 from www.web-nova.com which is available completely free of charge provided the menu is used on non-commercial sites only, and the link-back to web-nova remains intact. This is pretty good considering that even the programs that charge you a small to medium fee usually restrict the menu usage to a maximum of five separate websites. 

The program is browser based, and very well documented; there are numerous help files including a step-by-step guide to using the software and the menu, and a host of examples to inspire you or help you troubleshoot. It is very easy to use and after playing around with it for just five minutes I had a web page with a basic two-dimensional navigation menu linking to other pages on it. What could be easier? My initial test menu fell far short of the limit of the capabilities that this program can offer you. 

It is beautifully laid out and lets you customize everything from the color of the menu heading, the color of the first and second level links, the text size, font and color and mouse-over events, all without knowing a single line of JavaScript (I do, of course, but even if I didn't, I wouldn't need to in order to successfully use this program.) It even allows you to set transitional effects to the menu, including fade and dissolve. Transitional effects are what happen to the sub-menus once the mouse pointer has moved off of them.

All in all, this is a surprisingly powerful and effective menu maker considering it is free, and has unlimited use status. The menu also promises to be compatible with all major modern browsers. If you want a JavaScript menu without paying a penny, it absolutely must be EZMenu.


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