Split up wp_nav_menu with custom walker

I am trying to create a Menu that shows a maximum of 5 items. If there are more items it should wrap them into another <ul> Element to create a dropdown.

5 Items or less:

Dropdown

6 Items or more

Dropdown

I know this kind of functionality could easily be created with a walker that counts the menu items and wraps if there are more then 5 the remaing into a seperate <ul>. But I dont know how to create this walker.

The code that shows my menu at the moment is the following:

<?php wp_nav_menu( array( 'theme_location' => 'navigation', 'fallback_cb' => 'custom_menu', 'walker' =>new Custom_Walker_Nav_Menu ) ); ?>

I noticed that if the menu is not defined by the user and it uses the fallback function instead the walker has no effect. I need it to work in both cases.

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Using a custom Walker, the start_el() method has access to $depth param: when it is 0 the elemnt is a top one, and we can use this info to maintain an internal counter.

When the counter reach a limit, we can use DOMDocument to get from full HTML output just the last element added, wrap it in a submenu and add it again to HTML.


Edit

When the number of elements are exactly the number we required + 1, e.g. we required 5 elements be visible and menu has 6, it makes no sense to split the menu, because elements will be 6 either way.
The code was edited to address that.


Here’s the code:

class SplitMenuWalker extends Walker_Nav_Menu {

  private $split_at;
  private $button;
  private $count = 0;
  private $wrappedOutput;
  private $replaceTarget;
  private $wrapped = false;
  private $toSplit = false;

  public function __construct($split_at = 5, $button = '<a href="#">&hellip;</a>') {
      $this->split_at = $split_at;
      $this->button = $button;
  }

  public function walk($elements, $max_depth) {
      $args = array_slice(func_get_args(), 2);
      $output = parent::walk($elements, $max_depth, reset($args));
      return $this->toSplit ? $output.'</ul></li>' : $output;
  }

  public function start_el(&$output, $item, $depth = 0, $args = array(), $id = 0 ) {
      $this->count += $depth === 0 ? 1 : 0;
      parent::start_el($output, $item, $depth, $args, $id);
      if (($this->count === $this->split_at) && ! $this->wrapped) {
          // split at number has been reached generate and store wrapped output
          $this->wrapped = true;
          $this->replaceTarget = $output;
          $this->wrappedOutput = $this->wrappedOutput($output);
      } elseif(($this->count === $this->split_at + 1) && ! $this->toSplit) {
          // split at number has been exceeded, replace regular with wrapped output
          $this->toSplit = true;
          $output = str_replace($this->replaceTarget, $this->wrappedOutput, $output);
      }
   }

   private function wrappedOutput($output) {
       $dom = new DOMDocument;
       $dom->loadHTML($output.'</li>');
       $lis = $dom->getElementsByTagName('li');
       $last = trim(substr($dom->saveHTML($lis->item($lis->length-1)), 0, -5));
       // remove last li
       $wrappedOutput = substr(trim($output), 0, -1 * strlen($last));
       $classes = array(
         'menu-item',
         'menu-item-type-custom',
         'menu-item-object-custom',
         'menu-item-has-children',
         'menu-item-split-wrapper'
       );
       // add wrap li element
       $wrappedOutput .= '<li class="'.implode(' ', $classes).'">';
       // add the "more" link
       $wrappedOutput .= $this->button;
       // add the last item wrapped in a submenu and return
       return $wrappedOutput . '<ul class="sub-menu">'. $last;
   }
}

The usage is pretty simple:

// by default make visible 5 elements
wp_nav_menu(array('menu' => 'my_menu', 'walker' => new SplitMenuWalker()));

// let's make visible 2 elements
wp_nav_menu(array('menu' => 'another_menu', 'walker' => new SplitMenuWalker(2)));

// customize the link to click/over to see wrapped items
wp_nav_menu(array(
  'menu' => 'another_menu',
  'walker' => new SplitMenuWalker(5, '<a href="#">more...</a>')
));

There even is a way to make this possible with CSS alone. This has some limitations, but I still thought it might be an interesting approach:

Limitations

  • You need to hardcode the width of the dropdown
  • Browser-Support. You basically need CSS3 selectors. But everything from IE8 up should work, although I haven’t tested this.
  • This is more of a proof-of-concept. There are several drawbacks like only working if there are no sub-items.

Approach

Although I’m not really using “Quantity Queries” the creative usage of :nth-child and ~ I’ve read in the recent Quantity Queries for CSS were what led me to this solution.

The approach is basically this:

  1. Hide all items after the 4th
  2. Add ... dots using a before pseudo-element.
  3. When hovering the dots (or any of the hidden elements) show the extra items aka the submenu.

Here is the CSS code for a default WordPress menu markup. I’ve commented inline.

/* Optional: Center the navigation */
.main-navigation {
    text-align: center;
}

.menu-main-menu-container {
    display: inline-block;
}

/* Float menu items */
.nav-menu li {
    float:left;
    list-style-type: none;
}

/* Pull the 5th menu item to the left a bit so that there isn't too
   much space between item 4 and ... */
.nav-menu li:nth-child(4) {
    margin-right: -60px;
}

/* Create a pseudo element for ... and force line break afterwards
   (Hint: Use a symbol font to improve styling) */
.nav-menu li:nth-child(5):before {
    content: "...\A";
    white-space: pre;
}

/* Give the first 4 items some padding and push them in front of the submenu */
.nav-menu li:nth-child(-n+4) {
    padding-right: 15px;
    position: relative;
    z-index: 1;
}

/* Float dropdown-items to the right. Hardcode width of dropdown. */
.nav-menu li:nth-child(n+5) {
    float:right;
    clear: right;
    width: 150px;
}

/* Float Links in dropdown to the right and hide by default */
.nav-menu li:nth-child(n+5) a{
    display: none;      
    float: right;
    clear: right;
}   

/* When hovering the menu, show all menu items from the 5th on */
.nav-menu:hover li:nth-child(n+5) a,
.nav-menu:hover li:nth-child(n+5) ~ li a{
    display: inherit;
}

/* When hovering one of the first 4 items, hide all items after it 
   so we do not activate the dropdown on the first 4 items */
.nav-menu li:nth-child(-n+4):hover ~ li:nth-child(n+5) a{
    display: none;
}

I’ve also created a jsfiddle to show it in action: http://jsfiddle.net/jg6pLfd1/

If you have any further questions how this works please leave a comment, I’d be happy to clarify the code further.

You can use wp_nav_menu_items filter. It accepts menu output and arguments which hold menu attributes, like menu slug, container, etc.

add_filter('wp_nav_menu_items', 'wpse_180221_nav_menu_items', 20, 2);

function wpse_180221_nav_menu_items($items, $args) {
    if ($args->menu != 'my-menu-slug') {
        return $items;
    }

    // extract all <li></li> elements from menu output
    preg_match_all('/<li[^>]*>.*?<\/li>/iU', $items, $matches);

    // if menu has less the 5 items, just do nothing
    if (! isset($matches[0][5])) {
        return $items;
    }

    // add <ul> after 5th item (can be any number - can use e.g. site-wide variable)
    $matches[0][5] = '<li class="menu-item menu-item-type-custom">&hellip;<ul>'
          . $matches[0][5];

    // $matches contain multidimensional array
    // first (and only) item is found matches array
    return implode('', $matches[0]) . '</ul></li>';
}

Got a working function, but not sure if it is the best solution.

I used a custom walker:

class Custom_Walker_Nav_Menu extends Walker_Nav_Menu {
function start_el(  &$output, $item, $depth = 0, $args = array(), $id = 0 ) {
    global $wp_query;
    $indent = ( $depth ) ? str_repeat( "\t", $depth ) : '';

    $classes = empty( $item->classes ) ? array() : (array) $item->classes;
    $classes[] = 'menu-item-' . $item->ID;

    $class_names = join( ' ', apply_filters( 'nav_menu_css_class', array_filter( $classes ), $item, $args, $depth ) );
    $class_names = $class_names ? ' class="' . esc_attr( $class_names ) . '"' : '';

    $id = apply_filters( 'nav_menu_item_id', 'menu-item-'. $item->ID, $item, $args, $depth );
    $id = $id ? ' id="' . esc_attr( $id ) . '"' : '';

    /**
     * This counts the $menu_items and wraps if there are more then 5 items the
     * remaining items into an extra <ul>
     */
    global $menu_items;
    $menu_items = substr_count($output,'<li');
    if ($menu_items == 4) {
      $output .= '<li class="tooltip"><span>...</span><ul class="tooltip-menu">';
    }

    $output .= $indent . '<li' . $id . $class_names .'>';

    $atts = array();
    $atts['title']  = ! empty( $item->attr_title ) ? $item->attr_title : '';
    $atts['target'] = ! empty( $item->target )     ? $item->target     : '';
    $atts['rel']    = ! empty( $item->xfn )        ? $item->xfn        : '';
    $atts['href']   = ! empty( $item->url )        ? $item->url        : '';

    $atts = apply_filters( 'nav_menu_link_attributes', $atts, $item, $args, $depth );

    $attributes = '';
    foreach ( $atts as $attr => $value ) {
      if ( ! empty( $value ) ) {
        $value = ( 'href' === $attr ) ? esc_url( $value ) : esc_attr( $value );
        $attributes .= ' ' . $attr . '="' . $value . '"';
      }
    }

    $item_output = $args->before;
    $item_output .= '<a'. $attributes .'>';
    $item_output .= $args->link_before . apply_filters( 'the_title', $item->title, $item->ID ) . $args->link_after;
    $item_output .= '</a>';
    $item_output .= $args->after;

    $output .= apply_filters( 'walker_nav_menu_start_el', $item_output, $item, $depth, $args );

  }
}

The function that shows the actual menu is the following:

        <?php
        wp_nav_menu( array( 'container' => false, 'theme_location' => 'navigation', 'fallback_cb' => 'custom_menu', 'walker' =>new Custom_Walker_Nav_Menu ) );
        global $menu_items;
        // This adds the closing </li> and </ul> if there are more then 4 items in the menu
        if ($menu_items > 4) {
            echo "</li></ul>";
        }
        ?>

I declared the global variable $menu_items and used it to show the closing <li> and <ul>-tags. Its probabbly possible to do that as well inside the custom walker, but I didn’t found where and how.

Two problems:
1. If there are just 5 Items in the Menu, it wraps the last item as well into an althought there is no need for it.

  1. It just works if the user has actually allocated a menu to the theme_location, the walker doesn’t fire if wp_nav_menu is showing the fallback function