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Unlock Dynamic User Experiences With MUI Menu

Greetings, fellow developers! Menus play a crucial role in web applications, providing users with a navigation system that allows them to access various features and functionalities. Menus display a list of choices on temporary surfaces Designing menus that are intuitive, interactive, and user-friendly is essential for creating a seamless user experience. Including MUI Menu!

Material-UI’s Menu component offers a versatile and powerful solution for building menus in React applications.

In this guide, we’ll dive deep into the Material-UI Menu component, exploring its advanced features, customization options, and best practices. If you’re ready to elevate your menu game, let’s get started.

Getting Started with MUI Menu

To kickstart your journey with Material-UI and its Menu component, begin by installing the @mui/material package.

Use the following commands based on your package manager:

npm install @mui/material @emotion/react @emotion/styled

or if you’re using yarn:

yarn add @mui/material @emotion/react @emotion/styled

Basics of Material-UI Menu

The basic structure of a Material-UI Menu involves a trigger element, such as a button, and a list of MenuItem components. The anchor prop of the Menu component determines the position of the menu relative to the trigger element.

Let’s start with a simple example to set the stage:

import Menu from '@mui/material/Menu';
import MenuItem from '@mui/material/MenuItem';
import Button from '@mui/material/Button';

function SimpleMenu() {
  const [anchorEl, setAnchorEl] = React.useState(null);

  const handleClick = (event) => {
    setAnchorEl(event.currentTarget);
  };

  const handleClose = () => {
    setAnchorEl(null);
  };

  return (
    <div>
      <Button onClick={handleClick}>Open Menu</Button>
      <Menu
        anchorEl={anchorEl}
        open={Boolean(anchorEl)}
        onClose={handleClose}
      >
        <MenuItem onClick={handleClose}>Item 1</MenuItem>
        <MenuItem onClick={handleClose}>Item 2</MenuItem>
        <MenuItem onClick={handleClose}>Item 3</MenuItem>
      </Menu>
    </div>
  );
}

In this example

  1. We import the necessary components: Menu, MenuItem, and Button.

  2. The SimpleMenu component sets the anchorEl state to null by default.

  3. When the button is clicked, the handleClick function is triggered, updating the anchorEl state with the current target of the event. This opens the menu using the anchorEl prop.

  4. The menu items are defined using the MenuItem component, and their associated actions are specified using the onClick prop, which triggers the handleClose function.

  5. This function sets the anchorEl state back to null, closing the menu.

Types of Menu Components

Material-UI’s Menu component offers different types of menus that can be customized based on specific use cases and design requirements.

Let’s explore some of these types:

1. Basic Menu:

  • The basic menu is a versatile option that opens over the anchor element by default.

  • It vertically realigns when close to a screen edge to ensure all menu items are visible.

  • Choosing an option immediately commits the selection and closes the menu.

2. Icon Menu:

  • The icon menu enhances the visual representation of each menu item by adding icons.

  • The icons provide a visual cue for each action, improving the overall user experience.

  • It helps users quickly identify and associate actions with the corresponding options.

  • Here’s an example:

export default function IconMenu() {
  return (
    <Paper sx={{ width: 320, maxWidth: '100%' }}>
      <MenuList>
        <MenuItem>
          <ListItemIcon>
            <ContentCut fontSize="small" />
          </ListItemIcon>
          <ListItemText>Icon 1</ListItemText>
        </MenuItem>
        <MenuItem>
          <ListItemIcon>
            <ContentCopy fontSize="small" />
          </ListItemIcon>
          <ListItemText>Icon 2</ListItemText>
        </MenuItem>
        <MenuItem>
          <ListItemIcon>
            <ContentPaste fontSize="small" />
          </ListItemIcon>
          <ListItemText>Icon 3</ListItemText>
        </MenuItem>
      </MenuList>
    </Paper>
  );
}

3. Dense Menu:

  • The dense menu is useful in scenarios where long lists or long text need to be displayed.

  • It reduces the padding and text size to accommodate more content within a limited space.

  • Setting the dense prop on the Menu component reduces the padding and text size.

  • It is particularly useful when dealing with menus that have long lists or long text.

  • Here’s an example:

<Menu dense>
  {/* Menu items */}
</Menu>

Account Menu:

  • Menu content can be mixed with other components like Avatar.

Context Menu

By utilizing these different types of menus, developers can create intuitive and visually appealing menu navigation in their React applications.

Refer to https://mui.com/material-ui/react-menu/ to know more about different types of mui menus.

The below video also explains the different types of menus in detail

Advanced Features of MUI Menus

Material-UI’s Menu component provides a range of advanced features to tailor the appearance and behavior of menus to match the design vision of your application.

Let’s explore some of these features:

1. Selected Menu:

  • The selected menu item can be set using the selected prop from the ListItem component.

  • This is useful when you want to highlight a specific menu item without impacting the initial focus.

  • Here’s an example:

<Menu selected={1} variant="menu">
  {/* Menu items */}
</Menu>

In this example, we set the selected prop to 1, indicating that the second menu item should be selected by default. The variant prop is set to “menu“, preventing the initial focus from being impacted.

2. Positioned Menu:

  • The Menu component uses the Popover component for positioning.

  • You can control the position of the menu using anchorOrigin and transformOrigin props, which allow you to specify where the menu should anchor and how it should transform.

  • Here’s an example:

<Menu
  anchorEl={anchorEl}
  open={Boolean(anchorEl)}
  onClose={handleClose}
  anchorOrigin={{
    vertical: 'top',
    horizontal: 'right',
  }}
>
  {/* Menu items */}
</Menu>

In this example, we use the anchorEl prop to determine the position of the menu in relation to another element. The anchorOrigin prop specifies that the top right corner of the menu should be aligned with the bottom right corner of the anchor element.

By leveraging the selected menu, positioned menu, and many other options provided by Material-UI’s Menu component, developers can create menus that align with their design vision and enhance the user experience.

Creating Nested Menus

Material-UI’s Menu component supports nested menus, allowing you to create hierarchical menu structures. You can achieve this by using a combination of Menu and MenuItem components. Let’s take a look at an example:

<Menu
  anchorEl={anchorEl}
  open={Boolean(anchorEl)}
  onClose={handleClose}
>
  <MenuItem onClick={handleClose}>Item 1</MenuItem>
  <MenuItem onClick={handleClose}>Item 2</MenuItem>
  <MenuItem onClick={handleClose}>
    Submenu
    <Menu>
      <MenuItem onClick={handleClose}>Subitem 1</MenuItem>
      <MenuItem onClick={handleClose}>Subitem 2</MenuItem>
    </Menu>
  </MenuItem>
</Menu>

In this example

  • We have a parent menu with three items: “Item 1”, “Item 2”, and “Submenu”. Clicking on the “Submenu” item opens another nested menu with two subitems: “Subitem 1” and “Subitem 2”.

  • The handleClose function is used to close both the parent and child menus when an item is clicked.

By utilizing nested menus, developers can create complex menu structures that allow for seamless navigation and organization of content.

Customizing Material-UI Menu: Strategies for Style Mastery

Unlock the potential of Material-UI’s customizable components by exploring diverse strategies tailored to specific use cases.

Material UI offers a spectrum of customization options to suit various needs. The ideal choice depends on your specific context. Here’s a breakdown from the narrowest to the broadest use cases:

  1. One-off Customization

    To modify the styles of a single instance of a component, consider the following options:

    • sx Prop: The sx prop is a versatile option for adding style overrides to a specific instance of a component. You can apply it to all Material UI components.
      <Slider   defaultValue={30}   sx={{     width: 300,     color: 'success.main',   }} /> 
    • Overriding Nested Component Styles: For customizing a specific part of a component, use the class name provided by Material UI inside the sx prop. Identify the class using your browser’s dev tools and apply overrides.

      <Slider
        defaultValue={30}
        sx={{
          width: 300,
          color: 'success.main',
          '& .MuiSlider-thumb': {
            borderRadius: '1px',
          },
        }}
      />
      
      

    • Overriding Styles with Class Names: To override a component’s styles using custom classes, utilize the className prop available on each component.

  2. Reusable Component

    For consistent overrides across your application, create a reusable component using the styled() utility:

    import * as React from 'react';
    import Slider from '@mui/material/Slider';
    import { alpha, styled } from '@mui/material/styles';
    
    const SuccessSlider = styled(Slider)(({ theme }) => ({
      width: 300,
      color: theme.palette.success.main,
      '& .MuiSlider-thumb': {
        '&:hover, &.Mui-focusVisible': {
          boxShadow: `0px 0px 0px 8px ${alpha(theme.palette.success.main, 0.16)}`,
        },
        '&.Mui-active': {
          boxShadow: `0px 0px 0px 14px ${alpha(theme.palette.success.main, 0.16)}`,
        },
      },
    }));
    
    export default function StyledCustomization() {
      return <SuccessSlider defaultValue={30} />;
    }
    
    

    This approach allows dynamic overrides based on a component’s props, supporting both dynamic CSS and CSS variables.

  3. Global Theme Overrides

    Material UI provides theme tools for maintaining style consistency across all components in your user interface.

  4. Global CSS Override

    Add global baseline styles for HTML elements using the GlobalStyles component or by overriding the CssBaseline component. Here’s an example for an overriding h1 elements:

    <React.Fragment>
      <GlobalStyles styles={{ h1: { color: 'grey' } }} />
      <h1>Grey h1 element</h1>
    </React.Fragment>
    
    

    Ensure that you hoist the <GlobalStyles /> to a static constant to avoid unnecessary re-rendering.

Consider blending the seamless customization options of Material-UI’s menus with the efficiency of Purecode. Dive into exploration and experimentation. Your development journey is about to become not just faster but also more cost-effective. Why not give it a try?

Comparing Different Menu Components

Choosing the right menu component for your application involves considering various factors, such as features, use cases, and customization options.

Here’s a comparison table outlining different types of menu components in Material-UI, their features, and when to use them:

Menu Components Table

Menu ComponentFeaturesBest For
Menu– Basic menu structure with open/close behavior.- Anchored to a trigger element. – Supports various positioning options.– Standard dropdown menus. – Simple navigation.
Popover– Extends Menu with additional positioning options. – Can be used as a tooltip or modal. – Supports custom transitions.– Popovers that need precise positioning.- Tooltips.
Drawer– A slide-in menu that covers a portion of the screen. – Typically used for app-level navigation.- Supports variants (permanent, persistent, temporary).– App-level navigation menus. – Sidebar menus.
List– A vertical list of items. – Can be customized with ListItem components.- Supports nested lists.– Simple lists of items.- Navigation sidebars.
Accordion– A collapsible list with expandable sections.- Each section contains a header and a body. – Supports controlled and uncontrolled modes.– Complex navigation with expandable sections.
Tabs– Horizontal navigation with tab-based content switching. – Supports various styles and indicators. – Can be used with or without a menu button.– Tab-based navigation within a limited space.
BottomNavigation– Horizontal navigation positioned at the bottom of the screen. – Typically used for switching between primary app views.– Mobile applications with limited screen space.
Stepper– A multi-step process indicator with optional horizontal or vertical orientation. – Each step can have a corresponding menu.– Guiding users through a multi-step process.
Autocomplete– A text input with a dropdown menu of suggestions. – Useful for searching or selecting from a large dataset.– Search bars. – Selecting from a list of options.

Note: The above features and use cases are general guidelines, and the appropriateness of each component depends on the specific requirements of your application.

Consideration for choosing a menu component also depends on factors like user experience, responsiveness, and the overall design of your application. Always test and iterate based on your users’ needs and feedback.

Dynamic Menus with Material-UI

Building dynamic menus that respond to changes in your application is a great way to enhance user interaction.

Let’s explore how to create menus that adjust based on your app’s state using Material-UI and React.

Reacting to State Changes

Adapting your menu to changes in your app’s state is essential. Whether it’s showing different options for logged-in and logged-out users or fetching menu items from an API, Material-UI and React make it easy.

1. Conditional Rendering

One way to create dynamic menus is by changing what’s displayed based on the app’s state. For example, you might want to show a “Logout” option for authenticated users and a “Login” option for others:

const AppMenu = ({ isAuthenticated }) => {
  const [anchorEl, setAnchorEl] = React.useState(null);

  const handleClick = (event) => {
    setAnchorEl(event.currentTarget);
  };

  const handleClose = () => {
    setAnchorEl(null);
  };

  return (
    <div>
      <Button onClick={handleClick}>Open Menu</Button>
      <Menu
        anchorEl={anchorEl}
        open={Boolean(anchorEl)}
        onClose={handleClose}
      >
        {isAuthenticated ? (
          <MenuItem onClick={handleClose}>Logout</MenuItem>
        ) : (
          <MenuItem onClick={handleClose}>Login</MenuItem>
        )}
        <MenuItem onClick={handleClose}>Settings</MenuItem>
      </Menu>
    </div>
  );
};

export default AppMenu;

Here, the menu adjusts its content based on whether the user is authenticated, determined by the isAuthenticated prop.

2. Using Stateful Logic Hooks

React also provides hooks like useState and useEffect for dynamic updates based on changing state values. Here’s an example of fetching menu items from an API:

const DynamicMenu = () => {
  const [anchorEl, setAnchorEl] = React.useState(null);
  const [menuItems, setMenuItems] = useState([]);

  useEffect(() => {
    const fetchMenuItems = async () => {
      try {
        const response = await fetch('<https://api.example.com/menu>');
        const data = await response.json();
        setMenuItems(data);
      } catch (error) {
        console.error('Error fetching menu items:', error);
      }
    };

    fetchMenuItems();
  }, []);

  const handleClick = (event) => {
    setAnchorEl(event.currentTarget);
  };

  const handleClose = () => {
    setAnchorEl(null);
  };

  return (
    <div>
      <Button onClick={handleClick}>Open Menu</Button>
      <Menu
        anchorEl={anchorEl}
        open={Boolean(anchorEl)}
        onClose={handleClose}
      >
        {menuItems.map((item) => (
          <MenuItem key={item.id} onClick={handleClose}>
            {item.label}
          </MenuItem>
        ))}
      </Menu>
    </div>
  );
};

export default DynamicMenu;

In this example, the useEffect hook fetches menu items when the component mounts and the menu dynamically renders based on the retrieved data.

Creating dynamic menus with Material-UI and React is a breeze. Whether you’re adjusting based on user authentication or fetching data from an API, these techniques help you build menus that seamlessly adapt to your app’s evolving state.

Feel free to experiment and tailor these approaches along with the utilities provided by Purecode to fulfill your specific needs!

Accessibility and Best Practices

Creating accessible menus is crucial to ensure a seamless user experience for all users. Material-UI’s Menu component provides accessibility features that make menus more inclusive.

Here are some best practices for making menus accessible

Use Appropriate Keyboard Navigation:

To make your menus accessible via keyboard navigation, ensure that users can navigate through the menu options using arrow keys and select options using the enter or space key.

You can achieve this by utilizing the built-in keyboard event handling provided by React and Material-UI.

Apply ARIA Attributes:

ARIA attributes help convey important information about the menu structure and behavior to assistive technologies. Set appropriate ARIA attributes such as role, aria-haspopup, aria-expanded, and aria-labelledby to ensure that users utilizing screen readers have a comprehensive understanding of the menu.

Here’s an example of setting the necessary attributes for accessibility:

<Menu
  anchorEl={anchorEl}
  open={Boolean(anchorEl)}
  onClose={handleClose}
  PaperProps={{
    elevation: 0,
    square: true,
    role: 'presentation',
  }}
>
  {/* Menu items */}
</Menu>

In this example

  1. We set the role prop of the Menu component to “presentation” to indicate that it is a presentation role.

  2. Additionally, we set the PaperProps prop to specify additional attributes for the underlying Paper component, such as elevation and square

By following best practices for accessibility, developers can ensure that their menus are inclusive and usable by all users, regardless of their abilities.

Wrapping Up: Material-UI Menu Mastery

Material-UI’s Menu component offers a dynamic solution for crafting engaging menus in React applications. Explore types, customization options, and advanced features to elevate navigation experiences. Adhere to accessibility best practices and implement dynamic menus based on application state for inclusive navigation.

Refer to the official Material-UI documentation at mui.com for deeper insights. Ready to streamline your development? Explore turning your design into functional code with PureCode. Experience the future of coding—try it today!

Happy coding with Material-UI!

Yash Poojari

Yash Poojari