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Saturday, September 02, 2006

ASP.NET 2.0's Site Navigation

ASP.NET 2.0's Site Navigation

Introduction
Any website that is composed of more than one page needs some sort of navigation user interface. A navigation user interface might be as simple as static hyperlinks to the other pages in the site, or might involve the use of menus or trees. But before a navigation user interface can be created for a site, the site's logical structure must first be defined. (This logical structure is often referred to as a site map.) For example, a website like Amazon.com is arranged into various sections by product line, like Books, Electronics, Computers, DVDs, and so on. Each of these sections may have sub-sections. Books is broken down into categories like Accessories, Books on CD, Novels, History, Romance, and so on. Typically, these logical structures form a hierarchy of sorts. The screenshot below shows an abbreviated version of Amazon.com's site map.

The site structure of Amazon.com...

Once the site map has been defined, the site's navigation user interface can be created. At Amazon.com, the main page lists links to each of the main sections along the left-hand side of the page. Drilling down into a particular section lists that section's sub-sections on the left. Other navigation user interfaces could be used as well, though: you might have a tree showing the various sections and sub-sections, or a menu that listed as top-level menu items the sections like Books, Electronics, DVDs, and so on, with those menu items' submenus containing the respective section's sub-sections.

Prior to ASP.NET 2.0, developers typically rolled their own site navigation solutions. ASP.NET 2.0, however, makes defining a site's structure and implementing it using common navigation user interface elements a walk in the park. In this article we'll look at ASP.NET 2.0's site navigation features. Read on to learn more!

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