In several recent Theme reviews, I have noticed that Themes are implementing custom navigation menus incorrectly, primarily due to the arguments passed to
wp_nav_menu. For example:
'menu' => 'primary-nav'
Notice what’s wrong there? Yeah: the
By passing the
'menu' parameter, the Theme is telling WordPress, “display the user-defined menu with this slug“. This parameter will only work in one of two cases:
- As a matter of serendipity, the user has created a custom menu with the slug “primary-nav” (i.e. a custom menu named “Primary Nav”)
- As a matter of chance, the user has only defined one custom menu, which WordPress will use as an alternate, when it cannot find a menu with the slug “primary-nav”
In pretty much all other cases, the user-defined menu assigned to a given Theme location will not output correctly.
Instead, Themes should only and always pass the
'theme_location' parameter to
'theme_location' parameter corresponds to the array keys passed to
register_nav_menus(), like so:
'primary-nav' => "Primary Menu",
'footer-nav' => "Footer Menu"
The array key is the
'theme_location', and the array value is the title that displays under the “Theme Locations” meta Meta is a term that refers to the inside workings of a group. For us, this is the team that works on internal WordPress sites like WordCamp Central and Make WordPress. box on the Dashboard -> Appearance -> Menus screen. So, Themes should pass those array keys to calls to
wp_nav_menu(), like so:
'theme_location' => 'primary-nav'
That way, custom navigation menus will work properly:
- Theme registers custom menu Theme locations, via
- User creates custom menus, via the Dashboard -> Appearance -> Menus screen
- User assigns custom menus to Theme locations, via the “Theme Locations” meta box on the Dashboard -> Appearance -> Menus screen
- Theme outputs custom menus in appropriate locations within the Theme template, via
Hopefully this post will help eliminate a few Theme development headaches.