MenuList Object

The MenuList object creates a cascading menu using the List object.

It is a recursive object, one list links to another and so on. There's no limit to the amount of MenuList's you can have nested, and it's really easy to set up. The List object provides all the item selection, rollovers, and event handling, the MenuList object simply makes it recursive and links the list's together by hiding and showing them when clicked.

Creating a MenuList

You must include dynlayer.js, list.js, and menulist.js:

<script language="JavaScript" src="dynlayer.js"></script>
<script language="JavaScript" src="list.js"></script>
<script language="JavaScript" src="menulist.js"></script>

There's actually 2 types of MenuLists, the first menu in a heirarchy is one type (main-menu), all other MenuLists inside it are the other (sub-menu). To create that initial MenuList you use the following comand:

objectName = new MenuList(x,y,width,itemH)

In the List object alone, the itemH property (the height of the items) is optional, however to build a MenuList object that with that option is far too complex. So you I have made this manditory.

Usually you'll want to assign an image to the list, this will reflect the arrow image that identifies a particular item to contain another list:


You do not have to manually assign an item's hasImage property, this is automatically done when you add a sub-menu.

You then proceed to add items to the list:


I think you'll usually want to have a non-breaking space in the text, so it'll usually look like:

objectName.list.add('myvalue','&nbsp;My Item Text')

Then you do the usual build(), write CSS, write DIV, activate() sequence.

Making Sub-Menus

To add a sub-menu to the MenuList, you must use an alternate constructor:

mysubmenu = new MenuList(parentMenu, parentItemIndex)

parentMenu refers to which MenuList object this submenu is going to attach to.

parentItemIndex is the index of the item that will bring up this menu. Sub-menu's must be defined before you build the main-menu.

Once a sub-menu has been defined, you can add items to it's list object as well. However, you do not have to call a sub-menu's build() or activate() method because this is automatically taken care of when you build() and activate() the main-menu.


mymenu = new MenuList(50,70,150,20)

mymenu.list.add(0,'&nbsp;item 0')
mymenu.list.add(1,'&nbsp;item 1')
mymenu.list.add(2,'&nbsp;item 2')

mysubmenu = new MenuList(mymenu,0)
mysubmenu.list.add(0,'&nbsp;item 0')
mysubmenu.list.add(1,'&nbsp;item 1')
mysubmenu.list.add(2,'&nbsp;item 2')
// write mymenu.css, mymenu.div, and call mymenu.activate()

By default, sub-menus inherit it's parent's width, and the list's font and color settings. However if you wanted to, you could assign different settings for each MenuList in a hierarchy.

mymenu = new MenuList(50,70,150,20)
mysubmenu = new MenuList(mymenu,0)
mysubmenu.w = 200

Multiple Nesting

The MenuList supports an unlimited number of nesting, you just keep adding more. You'll probably want to come up with a naming convention like (mymenu - mymenu0 - mymenu0_0 - mymenu0_0_0, and so on)

mymenu = new MenuList(50,70,150,20)

mymenu.list.add(0,'&nbsp;item 0')
mymenu.list.add(1,'&nbsp;item 1')
mymenu.list.add(2,'&nbsp;item 2')

mymenu0 = new MenuList(mymenu,0)
mymenu0.list.add(0,'&nbsp;item 0')
mymenu0.list.add(1,'&nbsp;item 1')
mymenu0.list.add(2,'&nbsp;item 2')

  mymenu0_0 = new MenuList(mymenu0,0)
  mymenu0_0.list.add(0,'&nbsp;item 0')
  mymenu0_0.list.add(1,'&nbsp;item 1')
  mymenu0_0.list.add(2,'&nbsp;item 2')

mymenu1 = new MenuList(mymenu,1)
mymenu1.list.add(0,'&nbsp;item 0')
mymenu1.list.add(1,'&nbsp;item 1')
mymenu1.list.add(2,'&nbsp;item 2')

  mymenu1_2 = new MenuList(mymenu1,2)
  mymenu1_2.list.add(0,'&nbsp;item 0')
  mymenu1_2.list.add(1,'&nbsp;item 1')
  mymenu1_2.list.add(2,'&nbsp;item 2')

mymenu2 = new MenuList(mymenu,2)
mymenu2.list.add(0,'&nbsp;item 0')
mymenu2.list.add(1,'&nbsp;item 1')
mymenu2.list.add(2,'&nbsp;item 2')

// and so on, you get the idea

The names of the objects are arbitrary, make them whatever you want as long as you know what they represent.

Properties and Methods

There's lots of internal stuff that you'll probably never have to touch, but these are the ones worth mentioning:


lyr (DynLayer)
a DynLayer associated with the top-most layer of the MenuList, all functionality of a DynLayer is available to a MenuList through this property/object
list (List)
points to the list contained in a MenuList, all functionality of a List is available to a MenuList through this property/object
w (integer)
width of the MenuList
h (integer)
height of the MenuList
isChild (boolean)
if the MenuList is the child of another MenuList (true means it's a sub-menu)
list.items[x].hasChild (boolean)
this.items[x].child (MenuList)
points to the MenuList that an item is associated with
this.parent (MenuList)
points to the MenuList's parent, only if it is a sub-menu
childShown (integer)
the index of the currently displayed sub-menu, returns null if none is shown
subOnSelect (boolean)
determines whether an item which opens a sub-menu will call the onSelect handler when clicked. This is false by default - when you click on a "node" it will not call the onSelect handler.
offsetX (integer)
horizontal offset for the sub-menus, default is 0
offsetY (integer)
vertical offset for the sub-menus, default is -1
zIndex (integer)
CSS zIndex sent for the top-most layer in the MenuList, null by default
visibility ('hidden','visible', or 'inherit')
CSS visibility the top-most layer in the MenuList, 'inherit' by default
visible (boolean)
whether the entire MenuList is visible or not


must be used instead of lyr.hide() in order to close the sub-submenus
must be used instead of in order to close the sub-submenus
toggles the visibility of the entire MenuList

onSelect Event Handler

As in my other List-based objects, the MenuList incorporates it's own onSelect event handler to "do stuff" when you click on an item. A MenuListRedirect is provided as a way to redirect the browser when an item is select. Note the subOnSelect property, by default items that open up sub-menus will not generate an onSelect event, but this can be overridden with this property.

Example usage of onSelect:

mymenu.onSelect = MenuListRedirect

View menulist1.html for a simple MenuList example. View Source Code.

View menulist2.html for a MenuList example with 2 lists, hidden by default with an alternate color scheme. View Source Code.

Source Code

Download: menulist.js
View Source: menulist.js

Home Next Lesson: DynWindow Object
copyright 1998 Dan Steinman

Casa de Bender