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Drupal Modules for Site Navigation

Site navigation is one of the most important categories when it comes to Drupal modules. With so many modules available, however, it may be hard to figure out which ones are the best. Here is a list of some of the top Drupal modules for site navigation to help you in the decision process.

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By: wubayou
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May 13, 2011

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Site navigation is one of the most important categories when it comes to Drupal modules. With so many modules available, however, it may be hard to figure out which ones are the best. Here is a list of some of the top Drupal modules for site navigation to help you in the decision process.

Administration Menu

Administration Menu is a Drupal module that appeals to various types of Drupal administrative users.  It's great for anyone who is used to a different CMS.  It also makes a site administrator's job more efficient.  Finally, the module can serve as an essential tool for site builders and Drupal developers.

Administration Menu is extremely popular and offers a back-end or administration interface for Drupal that is theme-independent.   The module presents standard menu items as well as local tasks in a CSS-based menu that is not only functional, but also clean.  By putting various tasks right in front of you, Administration Menu makes working with Drupal faster and easier than ever.

The module comes with some options in addition to its core functionality.  You can customize the them of its icon.  If you want to change the absolute position of the menu at the top of the window, you can convert it to a fixed position.  The module is compatible with all browsers and will work in any theme too.  While Administration Menu comes integrated with the Devel module, it will also work with other modules to enhance its core features.

Link: http://drupal.org/project/admin_menu


GlobalRedirect is another very popular Drupal module for site navigation.  The module is simple, but it provides a vital service that cleans up instances where there are two URLs that represent the same content.  The fact that search engines are not too keen on duplicate pages shows the value of the GlobalRedirect module.  

Although an active alias can provide a neat and concise URL for a path on a site, it can cause a problem since Drupal does not discard the old path.  This results in duplicate pages which could cause a rift between you and search engines.  GlobalRedirect handles this problem in various ways.

If the current URL has an unused alias, GlobalRedirect will do a 301 redirect.  The module will check the current URL for a trailing slash and remove it if present.  If the current URL matches the site_frontpage, it will redirect to the front page.  If the Clean URLs feature is active, it will check the current URL and ensure that it is accessed using the clean method.  To avoid exposing private aliased nodes, GlobalRedirect will not execute a redirect if the user does not have access to the URL path, plus much more.

Link: http://drupal.org/project/globalredirect

Nice Menus

Nice Menus is a site navigation module for Drupal that gives you the ability to integrate different types of menus onto your site.  You can add horizontal menus that drop down.  If that does not suit your needs, there's the option to add vertical menus that expand to the left or right.  Nice Menus employs only CSS for most browsers.

Using Nice Menus, you'll be able to create plug and play blocks that can be dropped into spots where normal blocks can be placed in a theme.  The module also offers theme functions if you want to pass in a custom menu tree that you made.  By default, Nice Menus comes equipped with a generic color scheme.  However, you have the option to override the generic scheme to add customized styling using CSS.

Link: http://drupal.org/project/nice_menus

Menu Block

Menu Block is a Drupal module that allows you to implement deeper navigation for your site.  If you had the desire to display menu items deeper than the main and secondary links feature on your theme, Menu Block can help.  Simply put, the module offers configurable blocks of menu trees that start with any menu level.

The module gives you excellent control over configuring your menus.  You can add and configure extra blocks, limit the depth of menu trees, and expand sub-menus until you reach the desired setup.

Link: http://drupal.org/project/menu_block


DHTML Menu is a module that works well with Drupal's administration system in saving time and improving efficiency.  If you were using Drupal and wanted to see a sub-item in a menu, you would normally have to click the item's link and then wait patiently while a full page loads.  DHTML Menu's value lies in its functionality when using such nested menus, as it employs JavaScript to reduce the number of page loads. 

Once you have installed DHTML Menu, you can simply click once on a menu link and its sub-items will be displayed without having to wait for the page to reload.  If you want the page to load normally, just click on the item twice.  As you navigate the site, the menu states will remain as-is, since a cookie stores data on which menus are closed and which are opened. 

Link: http://drupal.org/project/dhtml_menu

Menu Trails

Menu Trails takes the standard Drupal menu system and makes it more user-friendly.  The module offers several valuable features.  To highlight the current menu trail or keep it active, the the module implements primary and secondary links.  Nodes can now be designated to fall under the first node group they correspond to, as the module's developers have made it Organic Groups aware.  To keep nodes in sync with the menu trail, you can set breadcrumbs.  The menu trail can also be used to create path aliases automatically, and more.

Link: http://drupal.org/project/menutrails

Menu Attributes

The core feature of the Menu Attributes module is that it offers the capability to specify additional attributes for menu items.  The seven additional attributes you can specify are the following: Id, Name, Target, Rel, Class, Style, and Accesskey. 

Menu Attributes is a valuable module in various instances.  It can be used when you need to add additional styles or classes to a menu item.  If you want to select an item easily using jQuery, you can use the module to supply the menu item with an ID.  The module is also useful in the event that you want to improve your site's PageRank flow by implementing a “nofollow” on specific menu items.

Link: http://drupal.org/project/menu_attributes

404 Blocks

404 Blocks is a module that requires zero configuration and is easy to use.  The module centers around 404 Not Found pages.  By default, Drupal will not render various regions of your site on these pages.  For instance, your “Left” and “Right” theme regions will not be rendered.  In addition, unless you managed to configure a “Default 4040 (not found) page” in admin/settings/error-reporting, your theme's Primary and Secondary links plus its “Primary links” block and other menu links blocks will not be rendered. 

The aforementioned non-rendered 404 page regions are important.  If a visitor stumbles on such a page, you want to help them navigate to where they want to go.  For this reason, the 404 Blocks module is so important, as it revives those page features on 404 pages.

Link: http://drupal.org/project/blocks404


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