Many Web Publishing Tools provide functionality to layout the overall structure of a
website using a graphical user interface. A website layout consists of
a hierarchy of web pages with the home page appearing at the top and
"children" and "grandchildren" underneath.
Using this website blueprint, the Web Publishing Tool is able to dynamically create
navigation menus (such as the one on the left hand side of this page). In the
example shown below, the Web Authoring Tool would automatically generate a menu for
the home page that is comprised of three menu items:
- About Us
Similarly a list of products (i.e. A, B, C, D) would be dynamically
created on the "Products" web page. The advantage of using a
Web Publishing Tool that can
generated menus is that all hyperlinks are maintained when pages are added,
deleted or moved to a different location in the web. This saves development and maintenance effort and helps
to prevent those dreaded "dead links"!
At the bottom level of the web, it is customary to list the
"siblings" in a menu to allow visitors to navigate between related pages (e.g.
related products). Many Web Publishing Tools will automatically create
"Back", "Up" and "Next" hyperlink buttons as
in the web
page that you are currently viewing. Some web authoring tools will
also create Site Maps (example).
Web Authoring Tools will also allow you to create
hyperlinks from any page in your website to a page in the same web or outside the web
(example: red arrow in above diagram).