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Markup Simple Navigation Module

While there was a lot of people asking how to make navigation, and there were many examples around already (apeisa, ryan...) I took the chance to sit down 2-3 hours to make a simple navigation module. It has even some options you can control some aspects of the output.


1. Put this module's folder "MarkupSimpleNavigation" into your /site/modules folder.
2. Go to your module Install page and click "Check for new modules". It will appear under the section Markup. Click "install" button. Done.

Technically you don't even need to install it, after the first load call ( $modules->get("MarkupSimpleNavigation") ) it will install automaticly on first request if it isn't already. But it feels better. However, it will not be "autoloaded" by Processwire unless you load it in one of your php templates.


Modules Repository processwire.com


Download on github


Advanced example with hooks

creating a Bootstrap 2.3.2 Multilevel Navbar

I use hooks to manipulate certain attributes and classes to li's and anchors. If you understand the concept you can do a lot with this Module.

Edited by Nico Knoll
Added the "module" tag.
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Great module Soma! Thanks for making this and posting.

The only thing I wonder is why make it an autoload module? This is one that is meant for on-demand use, so it doesn't technically need to be an autoload module. Though I agree it does make for a nicer API call:

echo treeMenu->render(...); 
// vs. 
echo $modules->get('MarkupSimpleNavigation')->render(...); 

But I'm just thinking that if every module took this approach, PW wouldn't run as efficiently, or could even run out of memory. But I love this module either way. :)

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I just implemented a new option to prepend the rootpage to the navigation.

echo $treeMenu->render( array('show_root' => true) );

Thanks Ryan! Yes I wasn't sure if that makes sense, now as you're saying it... So could I make it so that it isn't autoload and load it once before the call, and then you would have the $treeMenu->render variable? Like

$treeMenu = $modules->get('MarkupSimpleNavigation');
echo $treeMenu->render();

I will change it I think, as it's better performancewise.

EDIT: Just commited new version and updated first post and readme.

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Very helpful! Thanks Soma, I'm excited to try it. BTW, is there a way to exclude items from the menu? Maybe I missed something...

Thanks Marc! Well not with the module, usually you make the pages you don't want to appear status "hidden".

BTW. I just commited a new update and added support for max level. You can now use 'max_levels' => 2.

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Soma / anyone,

This is off-topic really but as a newb to PW (and github), my desktop github client shows the github version is now updated, I just looked in the forum but couldn't find a post to tell me the preferred method for updating a module.

Is it a case of just getting the latest version and overwriting the contents of the folder the module is in locally? Or doI need to disable the module first? Or something different?

Thanks for any help, cheers, -Alan

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Soma / anyone,

This is off-topic really but as a newb to PW (and github), my desktop github client shows the github version is now updated, I just looked in the forum but couldn't find a post to tell me the preferred method for updating a module.

Is it a case of just getting the latest version and overwriting the contents of the folder the module is in locally? Or doI need to disable the module first? Or something different?

Thanks for any help, cheers, -Alan

You are save to just replace the files. No need to uninstall, as it doesn't install something or depend on something.

Although because it was at first "autoload" and I changed that, you should check in the db table "modules" if the col "flags" of this module is set to 1 and not 3. If it's at 3 it you can just change it manually to 1.

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Ho Soma, awesome stuff! Can't wait to play a bit with this module.

I think there is an error in the opening post and docs on github:

The call under basic usage should be

$treeMenu = $modules->get("MarkupSimpleNavigation"); // load the module
instead of
$treeMenu = $modules->get("SimpleMarkupNavigation"); // load the module
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You are safe to just replace the files. No need to uninstall, as it doesn't install something or depend on something.

Although because it was at first "autoload" and I changed that, you should check in the db table "modules" if the col "flags" of this module is set to 1 and not 3. If it's at 3 it you can just change it manually to 1.

Thanks Soma!

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Another MODx defector! ;-) (well, actually I'm building my first ProcessWire site at the mo and I'm liking it so far, so it might become my CMS of choice!)

This is typical though... I just adapted (don't really know PHP to do it on my own!) a script for multilevel navigation and this comes out!!! At least I learnt a few things about PW whilst doing that!

Thanks for this very useful module Soma! Will try it out straight away!

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... I just adapted (don't really know PHP to do it on my own!) a script for multilevel navigation and this comes out!!! At least I learnt a few things about PW whilst doing that!

It's great that people are coming with modules like this, but the reason PW is so flexible, is because it's so easy to build your own snippets of code to achieve this kind of things. I have mixed feelings concerning the modules, and tend to prefer the idea of the snippets repository...

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Thanks Marc! Well not with the module, usually you make the pages you don't want to appear status "hidden".

Doh, just checked, that's what I was already doing. My brain is fried :-[ Thanks again !

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Modified it a bit to fit my needs, but someone might find it useful as well.

Basically, I added a 'first' and 'last' class to the first and last item of each level and also added an exclusion list, so that pages with certain templates can have their children excluded.

The usage is:

$treeMenu = $modules->get("MarkupSimpleNavigation"); // load the module
echo $treeMenu->render( $options, $exclusions, $page, $rootPage);

The $exclusions is an array that contains the name of the template of a page which we don't want to see its children. For example if we have a 'News' page with a template of 'news-list' that aggregates a list of article pages with template 'news-article', then 'news-list' should be added in the $exclusions array. I hope that's clear. Not sure if this is the most flexible way to do this, but it works for me right now and I'm sure someone will come along and improve on it!!

One other change was that I removed the newlines from the <li>'s to make the menu code easier to read and also I've changed the $childs to $children just because it bugged me... sorry!!

I haven't tested the module extensively (read: at all) and as I mentioned in a previous post I'm not really a PHP coder (or a web dev for that matter!) so bear that in mind when you read the few lines that I changed!!! :-)

* Simple Tree Menu Module 1.0.0
* @author Soma, with code based by Apeisa, Ryan.
* @date_created 08/03/2012
* @last_modified 08/03/2012
* ProcessWire 2.x
* Copyright (C) 2011 by Ryan Cramer
* Licensed under GNU/GPL v2, see LICENSE.TXT
* http://www.processwire.com
* http://www.ryancramer.com
class MarkupSimpleNavigation extends WireData implements Module {
public static $defaultOptions = array(
 'css_parent' => 'parent',
 'css_current' => 'current',
 'css_levels_on' => false,
 'collapsed' => false,
 'show_root' => false,
 'ul_id' => '',
 'ul_class' => '',
 'max_levels' => null

public static function getModuleInfo() {
 return array(
  'title' => "Markup for simple nested navigation",
  'summary' => 'Module to render simple nested ul tree of the site structure. See readme for usage and options avaiable.',
  'version' => 100,
  'href' => 'http://processwire.com/talk/topic/1036-markupsimplenavigation/',
  'autoload' => false,
  'singular' => true
public function init() {
 //$this->fuel->set('treeMenu', $this );

*   Main method called ony pages by echo $treeMenu->render(); to render
*   init tree rendering, merge options with defaults
public function render( Array $options = null, Array $exclusions = null, Page $page = null, Page $rootPage = null ) {
 if($options != null && is_array($options)){
  $options = array_merge(self::$defaultOptions, $options);
 } else {
  $options = self::$defaultOptions;
 return $this->_renderTree( $options, $exclusions, $page, $rootPage );

*   Render the tree method
private function _renderTree( $options, $exclusions, $page, $rootPage ){
 if(is_null($page)) $page = wire('page');
 if(is_null($rootPage)) $rootPage = wire('pages')->get('/');
 $ul_class = '';
 $ul_id = '';
 if($options['ul_class'] != '') $ul_class = " class='".$options['ul_class']."'";
 if($options['ul_id'] != '') $ul_id = " id='".$options['ul_id']."'";
 if($this->iteration == 1) $out = "\n<ul$ul_class$ul_id>";
  else  $out = "\n<ul>";
 $parents = $page->parents;
 if($options['show_root'] && $this->iteration == 1) {
  $children = $rootPage->children;
  $children->prepend( $rootPage );
 } else {
  $children = $rootPage->children;
 foreach($children as $key=>$child) {
		$s = '';
		$level = ($child === $rootPage) ? 1 : count($child->parents);
		if($options['css_levels_on']) $class = " level-" . $level;
		else $class = '';

		$template = $child->template;
		if ( !in_array($template->name, $exclusions) ) {

		   if(!$key) $class .= " first";
		   if($key == (count($children) - 1 ) ) $class .= " last";
		   if($options['max_levels'] != null && $level >= $options['max_levels']) $stopit = true;
			  else $stopit = false;
			  if($parents->has($child)) {
				 $class .= ($child !== $rootPage) ? " " . $options['css_parent'] : '' ;
			  else if($child === $page){
				 $class .= " " . $options['css_current'];
			  if($child->numChildren && $child !== $rootPage){
				 if(!$stopit) {
					$s = str_replace("\n", "\n\t\t", $this->_renderTree($options, $exclusions, $page, $child));
			  if($child->numChildren && $parents->has($child)) {
				 $class .= ($child !== $rootPage) ? " " . $options['css_parent'] : '' ;
				 if(!$stopit) {
					$s = ($child !== $rootPage) ? str_replace("\n", "\n\t\t", $this->_renderTree($options, $exclusions, $page, $child)) : '';
			  } else if($child === $page) {
				 $class .= " " . $options['css_current'];
				 if($page->numChildren && $child !== $rootPage) {
					if(!$stopit) {
					   $s = str_replace("\n", "\n\t\t", $this->_renderTree($options, $exclusions, $page, $child));
		$class = substr($class,1);
		if(strlen($class) > 0) {
		   $class = " class='$class'";
	 $out .= "\n\t<li><a$class href='{$child->url}'>{$child->title}</a>$s</li>";
 $out .= "\n</ul>\n";
 return $out;
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Hey tnt, thanks for posting a modified version.

- That's a good addition to exclude page per template, it can make sense in the example with news pages. I will implement it as an option.

- Hehe, yes I'm not native english speaker, so I often use false words like "childs" instead of children. Thanks for pointing out.

- Your right the markup outputted could be improved, but I mostly use a web inspector anyway so that it wouldn't matter much.

- I'm not sure if I think about it, last and first is something that can be done more easy with css using li:first-child, li:last-child. And if implemented I would see it as turn on/off feature like the levels-. I don't want that outputted by default.

EDIT: Thinking about setting classes, I thought it way could make sense to have an option for where to put the item classes, either <a> or <li>.

EDIT: Oh and I would be good to may use github "fork" to then make a pull request so I could implement or merge additions. Or even easier, make a feature request. Same with bugs. It would help not having multiple version around, as people start copying your code and would may lose it after updating it with the github version.

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I made an update to the module. If you get the latest version you'll get new features.

Added support for custom selector:

Instead of adding more options to exclude pages, since PW is so open as to how to set up you pages/template stucture, I've implemented the option to specify a PW selector. So some of the power of it comes into play. (Remember it's always best-practice to sanitize values that may come from user input you can trust. This module doesn't do any)

You can for example hide page(s) with a certain or parent(s):

echo $tree->render( array("selector" => "parent!=1008|1002") ); 

And child pages from those parent will not be rendered.

Or if you want to exclude page(s) with certain template(s) you would do :

echo $tree->render( array("selector" => "template!=news-item|event-item") );

Or you could limit the items per level:

echo $tree->render( array("selector" => "limit=5") );

Added support for "first,last" class:

A new option that is off by default, that will output extra class to links. You can turn it on with the options "css_firstlast_on" set to true

array('css_firstlast_on' => true)

Minor changes:

Done some renaming and restructuring. Also removed some newlines in the markup output.

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Hey Soma,

I am new to PW and just checking out the possibilities by reading hours in the forums before getting my hands dirty ;-) The navigation was on the schedule today and I like your module (also coming from MODX and looking for a wayfinder replacement). Your module seems to do more or less exactly what one needs for a navigation. But one (or two) suggestions: I would like to be able to define the output myself, because habits or requirements are different. Sometimes I need an additonal <span> somewhere or would like to use another field as title (or well, a title at all ;-) ) and so on. Since PW doesn't use any template or placeholder syntax I am not sure how to do so without hacking your module. Antoher example: the active class should be appended to the <li> element since this is the element which is active, not a child of it. I often need to style the <li> element and the containing <a> element as well. I your markup this is hard to accomplish, other way around it would be easy (you already mentioned an upcoming option for that). But as I said, requirements differ all the time and the most flexible solution would be to define the markup myself (or falling back to the standard output of course).

Thank you for your solution(s), I will try PW on a "real" project soon.

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Hi MadeMyDay - you might be better off just taking a look a the default head.inc template and changing the breadcrumb layout there if you want to do something quite a bit different.

I know how useful WayFinder was coming from MODx myself, but familiarising myself with the head.inc template file also helped me to learn the basics and I was off into the advanced stuff in no time.

That's not to knock Soma's module by any means as it's a good, quick way of getting navigation up and running quickly, but rather saying that PW is really easy to customise to do what you want with a fairly easy learning curve compared to full-blown PHP development.

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Hey MadeMyDay! Thanks for your post and inputs. As a modx user myself (not anymore) I certainly know Wayfinder, but found it a little too overhelming with way too many complicated options, so I've never used it to it's full power, also because the basic output was always enough.

Pete is right, if you want the ultimate flexiblity you would want to create your own nested function to output.

But I guess it also can get complicated depending on what you want to do. Generating a basic nested navigation is really easy using PW API, but I like to have some sort of tool that suites for most cases without getting into too much coding everytime. So having a module like I see as a nice way you can always rely on for fast implementation.

You're right that maybe best option would be to have classes appended to <li> element and not inner item. It will more easily allow for if you are styling <li> elements, but let's you as well style the inner element. The other way around it isn't possible. I'm always styling the anchor and not the list element as it is the most easy and reliable cross-browsers. That's why I implemented it this way. But it's now changed by default.

I understand that having a possibility to define custom markup will make it even more flexible and I was already planing to do anyway. Though with such implementation it's always the case that at some point you're still limited at best in some way or the other.

I already looked into it and found a easy implementation that will work and not having too much options. I just commited a major new update to github and updated first post to reflect changes. It let's you now define custom markup even with placeholders/tags for fields you want to output.

Just as an example you could do something like this:

'outer_tpl' => '<ul id="mainnav" class="nav">||</ul>',
'inner_tpl' => '<ul>||</ul>',
'list_tpl' => '<li%s>||</li>',
// template string for the items. || will contain entries, %s will replaced with class="..." string

'item_tpl' => '<img src="{icon}"/><a href="{url}">{headline|title}</a><p>{summary}</p>',
// {icon} any image field will be auto-recognized and return image url instead. {url} will output url to document. Any other field will output normally (assuming it's a textfield)

'item_current_tpl' => '<img src="{icon}"/><span>{title}</span><p>{summary}</p>'

I also renamed and removed some options with this update, so if you already using it, make sure you update your template code. Sorry for the inconvenience it may cause. But I think it is now better and will not change in future.


'class_current' to 'current_class'

'class_parent' to 'parent_class'

'css_levels_on' to 'levels'

'css_firstlast_on' to 'firstlast'


'has_children_class' => 'has_children'

'levels_prefix' => 'level-'

'outer_tpl' => '<ul>||</ul>'

'inner_tpl' => '<ul>||</ul>'

'list_tpl' => '<li%s>||</li>'

'item_tpl' => '<a href="{url}">{title}</a>'

'item_current_tpl' => '<a href="{url}">{title}</a>'


'ul_class' and 'ul_id'. Which now can be added via 'outer_tpl'.

While at it I also fixed a max level issue when using other root page than "/".


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Hi Pete,

yes, I already took at the head.inc template and the (one level) navigation is straightforward. But if dealing with more levels it gets a bit more complicated. Of course it is doable, but I think a navigation as unordered list is used on nearly every website so a module for it seems appropriate.

Hi Soma,

well... I am impressed! This is exact the way how I would do it ;-) Perfect! Im am eagerly looking forward to use it. I am MODX user since 6 years, but disappointed by the current development (extJS, slow manager, you all know it) and this chaotic business model. PW really seems to be as flexible and the roadmap is a dream (matrix thingie, draft mode, versions, form generator etc.). I think I will start an extra thread with some questions, nice to see MODXers here which then know what I am talking about ;-)

Greetings from Germany,


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Yup - a module is definitely easier when you get to recursive submenus. If you want something that will show a lot of pages with multiple levels of submenus it would be good to have the module cache the output (if t doesn't already).

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