Sothink Tree Menu Review $49.95
November 7th, 2006.
Tree Menu Website
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."
Here is the tree menu I created:
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
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.
Pros: Excellent preview window. Multiple options for publishing menu make
adding the menu to your site simple. Plenty of templates to start from. Ability
to edit multiple items at once ( such as icon or text properties ) saves time.
Cons: No import site feature to speed up development. No horizontal tree menu
option; just vertical.
Sothink Tree Menu website:
The Sothink Tree Menu Interface
The Image library
Publishing Wizard Options
The Template Wizard