Use XSLT to create menu from database

In some situations we need to create website menu from database, say our application have ability to create pages so that must also need to have a menu item to go to that page. So how to create menu with all those nice CSS and other settings, I think XSLT is best to use in these situations.

Let’s see what we would need to create our menu

  1. Procedure to get data from database in xml format
  2. XSLT file to transform our xml to html
  3. ASP.Net Xml control
  4. CSS to decorate our menu

So let’s see our procedure and its output in xml format: create your procedure to get data from database and at the end put this line to get output in xml format

FOR XML Path('Menu'), type, Root('Menus') 

Here is the output of our procedure:

    <menutext>About Us</menutext>
    <tooltip>About Us</tooltip>

We know how to get data from database so we will not discuss in detail but basic to understand how to get XmlDocument

public static XmlDocument GetXML()
  using (SqlConnection Conn = new SqlConnection(_ConnectionString)
    // you know how to use connection, command etc.
    XmlReader xmlRd = CMD.ExecuteXmlReader();
    XmlDocument xmlDoc = new XmlDocument();
    return xmlDoc;

Now we know the XML structure so we can write our XSLT code, create a new file of type, write click solution name and select Add => Add New Item and choose XSLT File, name this file “Menu.xslt” and place following code in this file

<xsl:stylesheet version="1.0" xmlns:xsl=""
    xmlns:msxsl="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:xslt" exclude-result-prefixes="msxsl">
    <xsl:output method="xml" indent="yes"/>

  <xsl:template match="menus">
      <ul id="navigation" class="nav-main">
        <xsl:for-each select="menu">
                <xsl:when test="href='#'">
                  <xsl:attribute name="onclick">
                    <xsl:text>javascript:return false;</xsl:text>
                  <xsl:attribute name="target">
                    <xsl:value-of select="target"/>
                  <xsl:value-of select="menutext"/>
                  <xsl:attribute name="href">
                    <xsl:value-of select="href"/>
                  <xsl:attribute name="target">
                    <xsl:value-of select="target"/>
                  <xsl:value-of select="menutext"/>

One think to note in this code href='#', some time we need a menu item to create sub menu so oncliking to that item application should not do anything so we used javascript:return false;

Now come to the page and place a new XML control on page and adjust code behind to bind this control to generate the menu.

<asp:Xml ID="xmlMenu" runat="server" />

//Page load event in code behind
XmlDocument doc = GetXML();
XslTransform xslTramform = new XslTransform();
xmlMenu.Document = doc;
xmlMenu.Transform = xslTramform; 

That’s it on page and code behind, if you will run your application it will work but not look good because still we need to adjust our look and feel by using CSS, so here is the required CSS

.nav-main li{float:left;  background-color:#000000; 
       list-style:none; padding:7px 10px; margin-left:1px;}
.nav-main li a:link, .nav-main li a:visited{
.nav-main li a:hover{text-decoration:underline;} 

Now we have done everything, if whatever CSS we used here doesn’t look good then you can change according to your requirement.

Hamden Process manager with a reputed organization, Fond of learning new features and technology related to C#, ASP.Net, SQL Server, MVC etc.I like to help others, if I can
  • html
  • xml
By Hamden On 16 Mar, 13  Viewed: 1,117

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