Sothink Tree Menu Review $29.95

November 3rd, 2006.

Review  |  Screenshots  |  Tree Menu Website

Review:

Have you seen the interactive drill down menus on some websites and wondered how much of a hassle it would be to add something similar to your own site? Well I finally had the time to sit down and experiment with a tool that claims to automate drill down website menu creation. My navigation on my website was getting very crowded soI decided that organizing my my navigation into interactive menus might be worth a try.  I needed something that would allow for fast navigation and was not a big hassle to integrate into my existing site. I was hoping that there would be an import wizard that would spider my site and find all the links to categories and subcategories on my site. It turns out this time saving feature is only available on this programs big brother "Sothink DHTML Menu Builder."

When you first open the program you are given the option to start your menu using a pre-built menu style. There are thirteen templates that are provided with the software. I chose the "basic" template for it's clean look. I noticed that all of the templates had vertical navigation. After a few minutes of research I was surprised to learn that the tree menu system wasn't capable of creating horizontal menu systems. Again this is a feature of Tree Menu's big brother Sothink DHTML Menu Builder.

My next task was to open up my site and copy in all of my links and the anchor text. This was a tedious process and if you get paid more than $25 per hour then you should probably just spring for the DHTML menu for $68 instead. The time savings put towards other billable projects would pay for the product quickly. After coming to this conclusion I decided to create a smaller menu organizing my software recommendations by category. Here is the menu I created. It has four top level categories that contain two or more "nodes." The process of creating the tree structure involved just two easy steps: 1: Adding the "nodes" and their respective "sub nodes"  by clicking on the "append nodes" button.  &  2: Adding anchor text ( the text that will appear in the menu ) and the hyperlink for each node. As I worked on my "nodes" I could see my menu taking shape in the preview window. The preview window allows you to see exactly what it will look like and how it will function. The preview window even functions as a web browser and allows you to follow your links. Testing your links and menu using the preview window helps reduce extra minutes spent publishing to your website just to test how things are looking.

My basic menu was completed within 20 minutes and I was ready to add it to this page. I had no trouble adding the menu to the page. The process went a little something like this: 1: Click the publish button and choose one of the Publish Wizard Options. 2: Browse to the folder where I want to export the images and scripts to be used in the menu. 3: Copy and paste the script HTML into this page header. and 4: Copy and paste the menu HTML into the body area of this page.

I previewed the page in Microsoft FrontPage and the menu was working straight away. I had created a new folder named "treemenu" on my desktop that I saved this HTML file into along with the images and script files necessary for the menu to run. I just had to publish this folder to my website via FTP or the FrontPage publish feature and I was done.

Screenshots:

Menu templates to choose from at start up.

The interface.

Some of the Global settings

Some of the Node settings