Many of my most recent branding projects have all been responsive. Clients are building sites that they want to work on desktops, tablets, & phones. If you’ve ever tried to deal with this request and SharePoint is your platform then you know what a handful this can be. For all my responsive branding projects I always go to Bootstrap. If you don’t know what that is then this article is not for you. We will not going into the details of implementing Bootstrap or the issues / fixes to do that. If you’re looking for cookie cutter bootstrap in SharePoint then I recommend that you check out Responsive SharePoint.
This article we will simply focus on the navigation. We will be replicating the standard out of the box (OOTB) SharePoint navigation and formatting it in a way that works with Bootstrap 3.0. I’ll provide you with the code snippet and an explanation of how to implement, and what is happening. It should leave you with the functionality of the Bootstrap’s collapsible navigation.
Our main problems with the SharePoint navigation are:
- SharePoint out of the box navigation is NOT responsive
- SharePoint out of the box navigation doesn’t work well with touch enabled devices
- It has hover actions on the navigation, and hover doesn’t work on touch devices
The following need to be reference in your site.
- Bootstrap 3.0
- On-Prem SharePoint environment w/ access to the Masterpage
- You can see the references these in my master page
SORRY SharePoint Onliner’s and O365’s – this won’t work b/c you can’t use code blocks in the MasterPage
The Navigation Code
You can view the html markup that Bootstrap requires in order to work properly – http://getbootstrap.com/components/#navbar . The OOTB SharePoint navigation does its own thing so it would never work with Bootstrap. In this approach we’ll use the SharePoint top navigation provider but we’ll create our own navigation markup using asp repeaters. The following code will only work for 2 levels deep, it could be modified to work on X number of levels. You would just have to keep nesting repeaters. I am using ASP repeaters in the master page with no code behind in this approach. If you wanted to you could write a user control and simplify what goes into the master page but for me no C# code means less things that could break. There is one minor issue with this approach – see the Known Issues section.
Take a look at how this renders, much better.
And when the screen hits the break point. It collapses and you have the mobile friendly menu. The break point is set in the bootstrap CSS (I believe it is 768px). The menu below is also
And the drop down
The Code Explained
You can skip this part if you don’t care what the code snippet actually does. I’ll break it down into parts to help you understand so you can make changes to it.
1) It’s up to you to determine where you are going to put the navigation inside your masterpage
In my particular case below I’ve created my own custom header where I put the navbar. I then turn the visibility off on the PlaceHolderTopNavBar (line 543)
2) Looking at just the very high level bootstrap nav html
3) The Root Level Repeater
The first level I consider the root level. It contains the root navigation node typically “Home”. Below is the best representation of how the data comes back from the topSiteMap navigation provider. Each color is a level. The children of “Home” are the main level. This is similar to the OOTB, you might have seen the first node that isn’t in the navigation provider but just shows up anyway.
Now for the root level. In this screen shot you can see I render the root node then have a second repeater for its children nodes. The html is fairly simple for the first node and gets more involved for the next level.
4) The First Level Repeater
This level gets a bit more interesting because now we have two different classifications of nav nodes, with children and without children. We have to handle each a slight bit different and I’ll explain. If you have children we need to specify a different class to have a drop down. Next it needs a nested repeater to handle the next level (2nd level). If there are no children we can simply just render the navigation node just as we did with the root level. I use the ChildNodes.Count to determine which to hide or show. You might notice that the
- ’s, line 487 & 507, have some other attributes like data-node-count and data-node-index and are REALLY long. I’ll explain that in the next section.
4a) First Level
Let’s examine the first
- the one with children. They are both the same except for the visible attr. We are going to focus on the following attributes, data-node-count, data-node-index, & class.
data-node-count – is not needed, but this will tell you how many sibling nodes are detected. I used this to help generate the if statements for class.
data-node-index – is not needed, but this will tell you the index of the node in amongst it’s current siblings. I used this to help generate the if statements for class.
class – this is basically a fancy edition I added which provides a first-node and last-node class. Again you’ll notice this one has “dropdown” in the class, the other
- won’t because it doesn’t have children and doesn’t need a drop down.
- The first node of a set will have the class=“dropdown first-node nav-node”
- The middle nodes would have the class=”dropdown nav-node”
- The last node would have the class=”dropdown last-node nav-node”
5) The Second Level Repeater
The second level repeater code gets a little simpler. This is our last level and we don’t consider if the node has children or not. We just render the value of the node and leave it at that. If you wanted to go 3, 4 or 5 levels essentially it’s just copy what we’ve already done but I wouldn’t go more than 2 levels. Bootstrap 3.0 removed support for multilevel dropdowns, citing usability issues as the cause. You would be on your own if you decided to go for more levels. There are 3rd party plugins available to assist Bootstrap 3.0 with multi levels.
You expected everything to work beautifully, I know! But there is always a gotcha! when it comes to SharePoint.
The only issue with this method is that you loose the selected state of the navigation. This is easily over come with supplemental jQuery. You’re only other alternative is to convert this all to a user control (like I mentioned way earlier) and then in code what page you are on and add a class. I don’t have the reference to this method – but I’m looking. To be posted later.
Here is my jQuery work around – for highlighting the navigation for a selected node.
That explains how I was able to utilize the SharePoint out of the box top navigation provider and build a new menu with ASP repeaters to behave responsively and work with Bootstrap 3.0. This is a simple enhancement that I’ve been re-using on many on of my On-Prem responsive projects. Unfortunately this doesn’t not work for SharePoint Online or O365 as the Masterpage does not allow code blocks. I’m curious if that’s with only editing pages by SharePoint designer, but what about deployed through wsp. http://stackoverflow.com/questions/22566589/sharepoint-master-page-asprepeater-tag . I hope to uncover an answer either way. Thanks for reading!