multi level drop down menu help

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Leslie, Dec 20, 2003.

  1. Leslie

    Leslie Guest

    I've been asked to add a multi level drop down menu to several pages
    for a client. I have no problem with a simple drop down menu, but the
    multi level thing is driving me crazy. I have spent the better part
    of today searching the web and have ended up only more confused than
    when I started.

    All examples/tutorials I've found involve javascript. My only
    experience with javascript is to copy and paste code produced by
    someone else, and that's only been on very rare occasions. The
    tutorials I've d/l and tried to follow might as well be written in
    greek for all that I'm getting out of them.

    My client is a school district and the menus are for their curriculum
    pages. Their requirements are:

    Menu title: Grade Level

    top level: Grade 1
    Grade 2
    Grade 3 etc. through Grade 12

    next level: Objective 1
    Objective 2
    Objective 3, etc.

    each grade level can have up to 10 or more objectives.

    The objectives are in Adobe (.pdf) format. Their other requirement is
    that for each Objective selected a new browser window open. (I know
    the arguments about not opening a new window, but the point here is to
    give teachers the ability to view and compare different Objectives
    without the need to print the pages.)

    Is all of this possible? Without javascript? Is there a tutorial
    (that won't turn my tired old brain to mush) that I've missed?

    Thank you!!

    Leslie
    "I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person."
    Leslie, Dec 20, 2003
    #1
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  2. Leslie

    bagbourne Guest

    Leslie wrote:

    > I've been asked to add a multi level drop down menu to several pages
    > for a client. I have no problem with a simple drop down menu, but the
    > multi level thing is driving me crazy. I have spent the better part
    > of today searching the web and have ended up only more confused than
    > when I started.
    >
    > All examples/tutorials I've found involve javascript. My only
    > experience with javascript is to copy and paste code produced by
    > someone else, and that's only been on very rare occasions. The
    > tutorials I've d/l and tried to follow might as well be written in
    > greek for all that I'm getting out of them.
    >
    > My client is a school district and the menus are for their curriculum
    > pages. Their requirements are:
    >
    > Menu title: Grade Level
    >
    > top level: Grade 1
    > Grade 2
    > Grade 3 etc. through Grade 12
    >
    > next level: Objective 1
    > Objective 2
    > Objective 3, etc.
    >
    > each grade level can have up to 10 or more objectives.
    >
    > The objectives are in Adobe (.pdf) format. Their other requirement is
    > that for each Objective selected a new browser window open. (I know
    > the arguments about not opening a new window, but the point here is to
    > give teachers the ability to view and compare different Objectives
    > without the need to print the pages.)
    >
    > Is all of this possible? Without javascript? Is there a tutorial
    > (that won't turn my tired old brain to mush) that I've missed?


    Look at http://www.brainjar.com/

    The menu containers themselves are output in HTML generated on the
    server. There still has to be a bit of javascript to make them DO things
    though like appear and disappear!
    bagbourne, Dec 20, 2003
    #2
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  3. Leslie <> wrote:

    > I've been asked to add a multi level drop down menu to several
    > pages for a client.


    Tell the client about organizing nested lists of links.

    > I have no problem with a simple drop down menu


    This probably means just that you haven't _noticed_ the problems yet.

    > My client is a school district and the menus are for their
    > curriculum pages.


    Then there's a particular reason to make pages accessible and simple.

    > Menu title: Grade Level
    >
    > top level: Grade 1
    > Grade 2
    > Grade 3 etc. through Grade 12
    >
    > next level: Objective 1
    > Objective 2
    > Objective 3, etc.
    >
    > each grade level can have up to 10 or more objectives.


    Write 12 headings for the grades, and below each heading, write a list
    of up to 10 links. Problem solved.

    If they want the "menu" into each and every page so that it must be
    squeezed into stamp size, then tell them it's not the right approach:
    the navigation is far too important to be made such a page ingredient.
    If needed, you can _link_ to the page with the menu from each and every
    page.

    > The objectives are in Adobe (.pdf) format.


    Tell them that's a wrong format for the Web and if they will ever be
    forced to comply with Section 508 legislation, they will be in a _big_
    trouble if they keep using PDF as the only publishing format for any
    essential information.

    > Their other requirement
    > is that for each Objective selected a new browser window open.


    They are really playing this game just to please themselves, are they
    not? You might be in trouble. There are too many cluelessness
    indicators around.

    > (I know the arguments about not opening a new window, but the point
    > here is to give teachers the ability to view and compare different
    > Objectives without the need to print the pages.)


    That's no point. They _have_ that ability. "Forcing" a link to open in
    a new window does not add anything to the possibilities of using page;
    it may (and often does) _remove_ some options. The teachers can e.g.
    use right click to open a menu where they can open a link in a new
    window. They _have_ to know the basics of elements of working in their
    windowing environment, since they need to move windows on the screen
    anyway.

    On the other hand, opening a PDF file is troublesome in any case. It
    too often happens that a browser, and even the computer, crashes when a
    link to a PDF file is followed. If they keep using PDF, then teachers
    will effectively need to save a PDF document onto local disk and open
    directly the local file. Awkward, but otherwise, unless they are very
    lucky, they get stuck with zombie Acrobat processes.

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html
    Jukka K. Korpela, Dec 21, 2003
    #3
  4. Leslie

    Leslie Guest

    On Sun, 21 Dec 2003 23:38:10 +0000 (UTC), "Jukka K. Korpela"
    <> wrote:

    >Leslie <> wrote:
    >
    >> I've been asked to add a multi level drop down menu to several
    >> pages for a client.

    >
    >Tell the client about organizing nested lists of links.
    >
    >> I have no problem with a simple drop down menu

    >
    >This probably means just that you haven't _noticed_ the problems yet.


    You're certainly right about that! I've learned a great deal in the
    past few days about what can and cannot be done.
    >
    >> My client is a school district and the menus are for their
    >> curriculum pages.

    >
    >Then there's a particular reason to make pages accessible and simple.
    >
    >> Menu title: Grade Level
    >>
    >> top level: Grade 1
    >> Grade 2
    >> Grade 3 etc. through Grade 12
    >>
    >> next level: Objective 1
    >> Objective 2
    >> Objective 3, etc.
    >>
    >> each grade level can have up to 10 or more objectives.

    >
    >Write 12 headings for the grades, and below each heading, write a list
    >of up to 10 links. Problem solved.


    I've solved that problem by linking each grade level to its own
    curriculum page where there are descriptive links to each objective.

    >> The objectives are in Adobe (.pdf) format.

    >
    >Tell them that's a wrong format for the Web and if they will ever be
    >forced to comply with Section 508 legislation, they will be in a _big_
    >trouble if they keep using PDF as the only publishing format for any
    >essential information.


    There are quite a few documents on the web site that are PDF - monthly
    cafeteria menus, board minutes, a student career guide book, etc. Is
    Section 508 the legislation about accessibility for the blind, etc?
    What about PDF makes them inaccessible? Are you suggesting that HTML
    is the only publishing format for essential info?
    >
    >> Their other requirement is that for each Objective selected a new browser window open.

    >
    >They are really playing this game just to please themselves, are they
    >not? You might be in trouble. There are too many cluelessness
    >indicators around.
    >
    >> (I know the arguments about not opening a new window, but the point
    >> here is to give teachers the ability to view and compare different
    >> Objectives without the need to print the pages.)

    >
    >That's no point. They _have_ that ability. "Forcing" a link to open in
    >a new window does not add anything to the possibilities of using page;
    >it may (and often does) _remove_ some options. The teachers can e.g.
    >use right click to open a menu where they can open a link in a new
    >window. They _have_ to know the basics of elements of working in their
    >windowing environment, since they need to move windows on the screen
    >anyway.


    The vast majority of teachers in our district are competent, caring
    and motivated instructors, After working with some of them over the
    past year, though, I've learned that a significant percentage are
    internet ignorant, some even to the point of being challenged by the
    power button. The curriculum pages are being put online so that they
    will be used and consulted when needed in a relatively easy manner.
    Right now the teachers are dealing with 7 - 10 three inch ring binders
    that are stuffed full and well thumbed. At this point 'forcing' a new
    browser window is the simplest option available. As time goes by and
    skills are learned we can stop 'forcing' things to happen.

    >On the other hand, opening a PDF file is troublesome in any case. It
    >too often happens that a browser, and even the computer, crashes when a
    >link to a PDF file is followed. If they keep using PDF, then teachers
    >will effectively need to save a PDF document onto local disk and open
    >directly the local file. Awkward, but otherwise, unless they are very
    >lucky, they get stuck with zombie Acrobat processes.


    That's certainly a consideration, especially with the variety of
    software/hardware that's used throughout the district. As PDF files
    these are pretty small, no graphics, all text and most no longer than
    3 pages.

    I'm most curious to know what your alternative is to the PDF format.

    Thanks for your help!

    Leslie
    "I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person."
    Leslie, Dec 22, 2003
    #4
  5. Leslie <> wrote:

    > I've solved that problem by linking each grade level to its own
    > curriculum page where there are descriptive links to each
    > objective.


    That's certainly a feasible option and becomes essential as the number
    of links grows.

    > There are quite a few documents on the web site that are PDF -
    > monthly cafeteria menus, board minutes, a student career guide
    > book, etc.


    Sounds rather strange. Small documents like menus should be accessible
    in an easy and fast way, instead of being designed for quality printing
    - which is what PDF is for, when used meaningfully. The "P" in "PDF"
    means 'portable' officially, but it's best understood as 'print-only'.

    > Is Section 508 the legislation about accessibility for
    > the blind, etc?


    Among other things, yes. It's about accessibility for all.

    > What about PDF makes them inaccessible?


    That's a long story. Basically, PDF is a proprietary format that
    requires special software, which the user needs to learn to use.
    It does not adapt to each user's and browser's preferences but is
    _designed_ to be presented in a fixed format, and this is quite
    opposite to accessibility requirements. It also causes serious problems
    to speech synthesizers.

    > Are you
    > suggesting that HTML is the only publishing format for essential
    > info?


    Basically yes. Plain text is often almost as accessible as HTML, but
    there's usually no reason to publish in plain text format.

    > I'm most curious to know what your alternative is to the PDF
    > format.


    HTML is the obvious format on the WWW. If the documents are now
    produced in PDF format, then the production process needs a revision.
    It's basically a waste of time and effort _and_ makes the pages less
    accessible. If quality printing is needed too, then HTML + CSS is often
    a feasible option, and if not, it might be better to use HTML + CSS to
    create the Web version and then generate e.g. a Word or PDF version
    from it, adding features for quality printing. It's possible to go to
    the other direction too (from PDF to HTML), but it's probably more work
    and requires special methods that depend on the kind of PDF used.
    Simple PDF is relatively easily converted into HTML.

    --
    Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/
    Pages about Web authoring: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www.html
    Jukka K. Korpela, Dec 26, 2003
    #5
  6. Leslie

    Leslie Guest

    On Fri, 26 Dec 2003 16:48:34 +0000 (UTC), "Jukka K. Korpela"
    <> wrote:

    >Leslie <> wrote:


    >> There are quite a few documents on the web site that are PDF -
    >> monthly cafeteria menus, board minutes, a student career guide
    >> book, etc.

    >
    >Sounds rather strange. Small documents like menus should be accessible
    >in an easy and fast way, instead of being designed for quality printing
    >- which is what PDF is for, when used meaningfully. The "P" in "PDF"
    >means 'portable' officially, but it's best understood as 'print-only'.


    Thanks, Yukka for the thoughtful response!

    Well, one of the main reasons for PDF pages is the ability of district
    personnel, students, parents, interested visitors to the site, to be
    able to print the page. The long term goal is to reduce the amount of
    printed material generated by the district, a lot of which ends up as
    trash.

    >That's a long story. Basically, PDF is a proprietary format that
    >requires special software, which the user needs to learn to use.
    >It does not adapt to each user's and browser's preferences but is
    >_designed_ to be presented in a fixed format, and this is quite
    >opposite to accessibility requirements. It also causes serious problems
    >to speech synthesizers.


    I learned the problem with speech synthesizers very recently when I
    open a PDF link in my aural browser. I didn't even bother to listen
    to it because the text was so screwed up.

    >> I'm most curious to know what your alternative is to the PDF
    >> format.

    >
    >HTML is the obvious format on the WWW. If the documents are now
    >produced in PDF format, then the production process needs a revision.
    >It's basically a waste of time and effort _and_ makes the pages less
    >accessible. If quality printing is needed too, then HTML + CSS is often
    >a feasible option, and if not, it might be better to use HTML + CSS to
    >create the Web version and then generate e.g. a Word or PDF version
    >from it, adding features for quality printing. It's possible to go to
    >the other direction too (from PDF to HTML), but it's probably more work
    >and requires special methods that depend on the kind of PDF used.
    >Simple PDF is relatively easily converted into HTML.


    The considerations I have is that the documents given to me for
    posting as PDF have been created by district personnel, always in an
    MS Office program, usually Word, sometimes Excel. I won't ask the
    district personnel to send me HTML files because then I'd get whatever
    kind of mess resulted from being "save{ed} as HTML" in the Office
    program. I don't have the time to clean up those files so they'd
    validate. I also don't have the time to take the Office documents and
    rewrite them as HTML.

    When I took over the site about 15 months ago the code was an absolute
    mess. It was created by a wonderfully talented lady with no
    experience in HTML. She was handed a copy of Dreamweaver and told to
    "go to town!" I get a constant stream of update requests and as I do
    them I'm changing the pages from table based layout to CSS and making
    sure all the pages validate.

    The PDF considerations will have to be looked at, but that will be
    down the road a bit. Right now the push is to get as much information
    as possible on the 'net. If it doesn't kill me first. :)

    Leslie

    "I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person."
    Leslie, Dec 26, 2003
    #6
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