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Navigation structure

The theme tries to minimize the need to change html code as much as possible, and for the top navigation, sidebar and footer, this is not different. These navigation structures are all defined by YAML files as explained below.

Top navigation

The top navigation links are defined by the the /_data/topnav.yml file under the subitems: object.

- title: Home
  url: /

Dropdown can be added in a similar way by nesting subitems:

- title: Example dropdown
  - title: Events
    url: /events

External urls can be specified using:

- title: Home
  external_url: https://example.url

Certain elements like the GitHub link have options in the /_config.yml file as described in the configuring theme page. Style customizations are described in the custom branding page.

This theme supports multiple sidebars, defined by YAML files in the /_data/sidebars directory. Changing these yaml file will immediately impact the sidebars and the frontpage of the website without the need of changing any HTML code. The sidebar that will be displayed on a specific page is defined by the metadata of that page. The sidebar supports multiple levels (up to 3) and each level in the hierarchy can contain a URL to a page within this website or an external URL.

The attributes that define the structure are:

  • title: This is the text that will show up in the sidebar.
  • url: The URL to the internal page you want to link to. This is mostly in the form of: /markdown_file_name.html.
  • external_url: Use this instead of URL if you want to link to an external page.
  • subitems: to define a sublevel.
  • hr: This can be set as true to add a horizontal spacer (top) between 2 subitems in the sidebar. (example: hr: true)


- title: Level_1_title
  url: level_1_url
    - title: Level_2_title
      url: level_2_url

The sidebar also allows you to specify a sidebar title, version and title url using following syntax:

title: About
version: 2.0
title_url:  /events

If no sidebar should be displayed, add sidebar: false to the frontmatter of the page or don’t specify one at all.

Top navigation and sidebar relationship

Top navigation titles can be used to switch between different high level sections on the website, each having their own sidebar. As described before, sidebars are defined by the sidebar metadata attribute in a page, so linking in the topnav YAML towards whis page is one part of the job. To make sure that all pages within that sidebar have this topnav item on active, one has to name its sidebar file in the same way as the topnav title (spaces, hyphens and underscores get ignored).

Example: /_data/sidebars/main_sidebar.yml and in the /_data/topnav.yml:

- title: Main sidebar
  url: /

Just like the other navigation structures, is the footer defined by a YAML file, /_data/footer.yml. The footer is composed out of columns, of which the width is defined by integers between 1 and 12, and the total of all columns should not exceed 12.

Lets dissect the footer structure using the example below:

copyright: Copyright notice
  - type: image
    image_width: 150px
    width: 3
    src: 'images/infrastructures/ELIXIR_BELGIUM_white_background.svg'
    alt: ELIXIR Belgium logo
  - type: links
    title: Title
    width: 3
      - url_text: Contributors
        url: /contributors
      - url_text: Getting started
        url: /getting_started
  - type: links
    width: 3
      - url_text: About
        url: /about
      - url_text: Accessibility
        url: /accessibility
      - url_text: Privacy
        url: /privacy
  - type: image
    image_width: 100px
    width: 2
    src: 'assets/img/Flag_of_Europe.svg'
    alt: European flag
  - type: image
    image_width: 88px
    width: 1
    src: 'assets/img/ett_compact_logo.svg'
    alt: Jekyll Bootstrap theme logo

High level attributes:

  • copyright: Define the text in the most bottom part of the footer, usually with a darker background and describing the license.
  • extra_line: Add a extra line in the top part, spanning the full width of the footer (optional)
  • columns: Key to list columns

Column attributes:

  • type:: This defines the purpose of the column and can be links or image
  • image_width: To be specified when it is an image column, don’t forget to add the unit.
  • width: Integer, defining the width of the column. Total sum of all columns should be 12.
  • src: Absolute path to the image. To be specified when it is an image column
  • alt: Alt text of the image. To be specified when it is an image column
  • title: Title of a column with type links (optional)
  • children: Key to list links in a column with type links
  • url_text: Title of a link.
  • url: Absolute path of a page.