A jQuery Alternative for ACT HoverMenuExtender

As I extend an ASP.Net application with MVC functionality, I also need to replace some of the components that the AjaxControlToolkit provides. Case in point, the HoverMenuExtender.

The HME is declared in markup like this:

<ajax:HoverMenuExtender ID=”hme” runat=”server” TargetControlID=”tdTable” PopupControlID=”paTable” PopupPosition=”Bottom” OffsetX=”0″ OffsetY=”2″>
</ajax:HoverMenuExtender>

tdTable being, in my case, a TD table cell in a menu bar, and paTable the submenu that is meant to dropdown when hovering over the table cell.

As replacement, I found the Simple jQuery Dropdowns library on CSS-Tricks, and the sample looked similar to the solution I wanted to replace.

Adding the Simple Dropdowns was straight forward, as it consists only of a couple of Javascript lines and some CSS classes. Integration was easy and quickly done.

But then…

As I mentioned, the menu bar was defined as single-row HTML table, and the cells are fixed-width for all drop-down menus, except the one displaying a record identifier – this cell uses a table’s (built-in!) capability to expand so that the table extends over the defined width, no matter how many other fixed-width cells there are and how wide the browser window is.

So I added some display:table* styles like this

<ul class="dropdown" style="width: 99%; display:table">
    <li style="display:table-cell; ">
        <a href="#">Menu 1</a>
        <ul class="sub_menu">
            <li><a href="#">Command 1</a></li>
            <li><a href="#">Command 2</a></li>
        </ul>
    </li>
    <li style="display:table-cell; width: auto" >
        <a href="#">ID</a>
        <ul class="sub_menu">
            <li><a href="#">Command 1</a></li>
            <li><a href="#">Command 2</a></li>
        </ul>
    </li>
      <li style="display:table-cell; ">
        <a href="#">Menu 2</a>
        <ul class="sub_menu">
            <li><a href="#">Command 1</a></li>
            <li><a href="#">Command 2</a></li>
        </ul>
    </li>
    <li style="display:table-cell">&nbsp;</li>
</ul>

Chrome and IE9 displayed the menu as expected, but Firefox insisted on displaying the dropdown left-aligned below to <ul> table, no matter how I changed the individual styles and classes.

Fortunately I found this answer on SO that illustrated a solution that works for Firefox (and the other browsers!): add a <div style=”position:relative”> inside the <td>.

So now my menu bar looks like this:

<ul class="dropdown" style="width: 99%; display:table">
    <li style="display:table-cell; " >
        <div style="position: relative">
            <a href="#">Menu 1</a>
            <ul class="sub_menu">
                <li><a href="#">Command 1</a></li>
                <li><a href="#">Command 2</a></li>
            </ul>
        </div>
    </li>
    <li style="display:table-cell; width: auto" >
        <div style="position: relative">
            <a href="#">ID</a>
            <ul class="sub_menu">
                <li><a href="#">Command 1</a></li>
                <li><a href="#">Command 2</a></li>
            </ul>
        </div>
    </li>
    <li style="display:table-cell; " >
        <div style="position: relative">
            <a href="#">Menu 2</a>
            <ul class="sub_menu">
                <li><a href="#">Command 1</a></li>
                <li><a href="#">Command 2</a></li>
            </ul>
        </div>
    </li>
    <li style="display:table-cell" class="command">&nbsp;</li>
</ul>

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