Navigate module infuses Drupal with new level of sexy administration

Skip to the video

To celebrate by recent release from employment, I spent several days busting my butt to put the sexy back in administration. Namely, I updated the Drupal Navigate module to include some new features, and to fix some long-standing bugs that had been making administrators feel less than sexy for the last several months.


For the uninitiated, Navigate is an administration module that works a little like Administration Menu. It loads a sidebar with widgets which allow users to search the menu, nodes or users, construct favorite lists, and load up expandable / collapsable menus. It works really well for clients who aren't used to Drupal. The newest release allows admins to set default widget sets, and adjust user sets. You can also theme it (a funky lemon theme is included as an example).

There's a video demo below, but here's a quick list of improvements made in this release:

  • Made snappier through quicker transitions and fewer ajax calls
  • Added ability to manage default widget sets for users and user roles (all ajax, btw)
  • Made theming Navigate really easy
  • Fixed compatibility issues with Administration Menu
  • Added keyboard shortcuts
  • Added XHTML compliance
  • Added import / export ability for Favorites and for entire widget sets, so you can quickly deploy a set from one site to another
  • Added 'customize' permission, to keep *certain* users from messing up their own sets
  • Added ability to search users
  • Squashed some bugs
  • Re-factored lots of code to be more Drupal-esque
  • Made some minor layout adjustments

I'm hoping to put in some work to help with the current administration tools in D7, but before that, I needed to grease my wheels a bit with some contrib work to to anchor some jQuery techniques I'd learned, and re-familiarize myself with D6. It feels good getting so much done so fast. You can do that with contrib work, but it's hard to be that productive in core Drupal. Things just move at a different pace there. Now that I've gotten a bit out of my system, I think I can crack down a bit and start seeing what I can do for core.

And here's the demo video to celebrate Issue Queue Zero (at least for the D6 version):


Looks great Chris! Can't wait to use this on a few sites one of these days! :)


Chris, this is awesome work. Love the ability to easily add/delete favorite links and compatibility with the admin module makes this extremely useful!

i see only demo/
this module only for admin use or for users too?

Any user can use Navigate except anonymous ones. You just set the permissions accordingly. I had in mind that it would be most useful to admin / editor types, but you can open it up to all users. The one thing is that there's no built-in restrictions on the size of the widget set, so there could be some potential abuse there.

Wonderful module,thank you very much. I too like the idea of having it available for other users.

Chris, this is great stuff, thanks!
PS: Sorry about the release from employment, I'll say a prayer for 'ya.

The release from employment is actually a really good thing. I enjoyed my previous work, but wanted to move on to some stuff that was more in line with long-term goals. Definitely enjoying the time atm. :)

Phenomenal piece of work Chris. Thanks so much for the contrib.

An outstanding contribution to the community Chris, thank you!

I have tested the module a while ago, seems like it's come a long way now. It's a solid candidate for editor roles for example. Looks like you can create an editor dashboard like functionality in a matter of minutes (or even seconds). Will definetly keep it in mind for future projects.

A question about internationalization, I assume it's completely translatable right?

Hello Manuee, I hope it comes in handy. Yes, the speed of getting it set up is definitely one of major selling points, and it's ideal for editor- and administrator-types. No page reloads, everything can be reorganized on the fly.

In regards to internationalization, everything should be translatable. If you put together a translation, I'd love to include it in the distribution.

Chris, nice utility, I'm looking forward to playing with it!

Could I suggest that you add to your requirements that Clean Url's must be enabled in Drupal for this to function (or maybe you could modify things to work with or without clean URL's).

I guess clean URL's might be really obvious to some folks, but I didn't think about it being an issue until I noticed the hover-help had a reference to /navigate/clear - and coupled with the errors I was seeing in Apache, I finally made the connection.


That's a good idea, Scott. If you get to it, it would be good to add that to the project Issue Queue. I also need to remove the reference to /navigate/clear since that has been removed.

Looks great -- and is going to solve a few development issues for me -- once I get it to install. For some reason, the little "spinner" just runs forever, and the module never becomes functional. I'm sure that I did something wrong (as noobs often do), but I can't seem to beat this one. Any ideas??


Hello Bill,

One thing you can do is take a look at what's being loaded with Firebug. It will show you the page being loaded that is triggering the loading graphic. If you're getting a red 404 or the page is perpetually loading, then that's probably the issue. I'd suggested adding this to the Navigate issue queue and see if anyone else is having the same problem.


video isnt showing on either opera 10 or google chrome 3 :(

I just love this navigate module. It is fantastic. Thank you so much for the awesome work.

Hey, thanks Audrey, I appreciate it!

Awesome, thanks!

I love the functionality and style of this module, so much so that I skinned the site to match. I am however having a bit of an issue.

I am using this for the default navigation and would like to set global permissions for anonymous users, so that they just see the search and primary links. When I set the admin or authenticated users it seems to over-ride that. Causing the anonymous user to see blank fields that they are not meant to see.

Any way to create an "anonymous users" set?

thank you for your brain! (and the cool navigator) :)

udaman Chris...OO DAA Man.

for a newbie in website design, I figure your little helper thingy will save me days of work of the next few years.

Cheers buddy, from down under.

Hi Chris, it was nice irc-chatting with you the other day.

I wanted to ask you ... which administration menu were you using on the drupal demo shown in this video:

Thanks :)

"Added import / export ability for Favorites and for entire widget sets, so you can quickly deploy a set from one site to another"
i have try to use this one but i couldn't access this module, what can i do for access this one?

Hey I am having some trouble getting this video to play using RockMelt (which is built off of the Chrome platform). I'm trying to get around it without having to download another browser, am I doing something wrong?

Nick H. : Developer : High Point Recruiting Software