Figure 12-1: A simple menu in Java

Create Code 128C in Java Figure 12-1: A simple menu
Figure 12-1: A simple menu
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seamlessly and entirely automatically. Hardcoding the menu is sometimes the only viable solution when you need Pages and categories to work well together in a horizontal menu, for example. As if that weren t enough, you still need to decide how the menu should look, what orientation it should have, and if it needs additional bling to make it interesting. But that s a different story.
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Proper Use of WordPress Pages
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A lot of WordPress sites are built around Pages, which means that a natural menu would be one containing just that. You can of course put in the links to the relevant Pages manually in your WordPress theme s template files, but that would mean that you would have to hack the files every time a new section (which is actually just an added Page) is created. Better to use wp_page_menu() then, a nifty little template tag where Page listing meets the needs of a menu. It fits the bill better than wp_list_pages(), another template tag that lists Pages, because of the sort_column parameter. This is another way of sorting in which order the Pages should be displayed, controlled by the user from the Write/Edit Page section in the WordPress admin interface. You can give any Page a sort order value, and by doing this you can control which Page will be displayed when, if you re using wp_page_menu(), that is. To use this, you need to pass the sort_column parameter: 246
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< php wp_page_menu('sort_column=menu_order'); >
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Naturally, menu_order is the parameter for your own Page sorting order. You can also sort by title (post_title), date published (post_date), date modified (post_modi ed), and so on. Really, the sorting options given by sort_column with wp_page_menu() make this a much better choice than wp_list_pages(), although a lot of things work the same way with both template tags. Another useful little parameter that wp_page_menu() brings is show_home. By passing either true (as in show a Home link, by passing a 1 to the parameter) or false (no Home link, pass a 0; this is default) to show_home you ll get a link to your front page, shown as Home by default. Luckily you can change that to Start or Front or whatever you want by passing a text string to show_home instead. You should really consider using wp_page_menu() if you want to build a Page-based menu for your WordPress site. Naturally, it can exclude Pages and change styles and so on, just like wp_list_pages(), so do check it out properly: codex.wordpress.org/Template_ Tags/wp_page_menu. Unfortunately there isn t a good way of combining Pages and categories in a menu that is output automatically. If you want to do things that way, I still think a text widget containing HTML code is the best solution.
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12: Design Trickery
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Sliding Doors
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The sliding doors CSS technique is a simple yet effective way of using graphics as the background in a horizontal menu, without having to set a fixed width. Without delving too deep into this is a ton of things are written about it online, after all the concept is most easily explained in images. But first, this is the basis of your menu:
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<ul id="navigation"> <li><a href="menu-item-1">First Item</a></li> <li><a href="menu-item-2">Second Menu Item</a></li> <li><a href="menu-item-3">Third One</a></li> <li><a href="menu-item-4">Number Four</a></li> <li><a href="menu-item-5">Fifth!</a></li> </ul>
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Basically it s the typical output from most of the WordPress template tags that list categories and Pages, an unlimited list that is the proper usage for menus whenever remotely possible. What is a menu if not a list, after all
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Figure 12-2: A button background image with rounded corners Say you want to use a button with rounded corners (Figure 12-2) for your menu items; that s pretty and modern, right Right. Problem is, just applying it to the background of each menu item would require the actual menu item to be of a fixed width, and since you don t want to create a graphic for each of them but rather have the menu item text rendered by the browser with all the freedom that provides, it means that you have to be creative. The solution is to chop up the image into three parts. First you ve got the left-hand side, being the rounded corners on that side. Second, there s everything that goes in between, which will be the background of your menu link. And the final part is the right-hand side s rounded corners. (See Figure 12-3.)
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