A Menu Builder and renderer for Laravel4, Sentry2, and Twitter Bootstrap

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v0.1.1beta 2014-03-05 17:29 UTC


A Menubuilder for Laravel 4, Twitter Bootstrap, Cartalyst/Sentry 2, and Dark/SmartyView.


In developing a number of projects using Laravel4, Sentry2, and Smarty, I needed a way to manage menus in the GUI. In the past, I've built menu tables in the database and menu editors, but in general I don't need that level of flexibility (or overhead).

So this time around, I was looking for a way to define my menus in code and generate menus automatically. What I came up with was this Menubuilder, which I am now rebuilding into a package which I will use in multiple projects.

Note that this project is tailored very closely to my requirements and may not be suitable outside of my context.

Pull requests are welcome. Please note that I am using git flow for my workflow. Don't know what that is? Check out

Or have a look at one of these screen casts:

(The links above were found at


Defining your menus in code

Somewhere in your code (it doesn't matter where), define a menu by inserting a comment like this:

// @menu <menu text>|<menu icon>|>sort order>

or, in a docblock:

 * @menu <menu text>|<menu icon>|>sort order>

For example,

// @menu Administration|icon-star|5

The line above defines a menu with the title "Administration", a Twitter Bootstrap start icon, and a sort order of 5 (ie. it comes after 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4).

Menu items are inserted into your code in a similar way:

// @menuitem <menu>|<item text>|<item icon>|<route>|<permissions>|<sort order>


  * @menuitem <menu>|<item text>|<item icon>|<route>|<permissions>|<sort order>

For example,

// @menuitem Administration|List Users|icon-user|list-users|user.list|3

This defines a menu item under the "Administration" menu with the text "List Users", a Twitter Bootstrap "user" icon, routes to "list-users", requires the "user.list" permission, and has a sort order of 3.

Taken together, the two examples above give a menu that looks something like this:

| * Administration |
| x List Users     |

(where the 'x' is the user icon).

Generating the menus

The menus are generated via an artisan command:

php artisan menu:make

This command will scan your source files and extract all the @menu and @menuitem lines, parse them, and write a configuration file: app/config/menus.php.

This configuration will then be used at run time to generate menus.

Using the menubuilder

The menubuild provides a method to generate the appropriate menus: Menubuilder::build().

I use it in a default view composer to ensure that the menus are built automatically for each page:

    // add the menus (if any)
    $view->with('menus', Menu::build());
    // add other stuff here...

The build() method returns an array that looks something like this:

    [Administration] => Array
            [icon] => icon-star
            [sort] => 5
            [items] => Array
                    [0] => Array
                            [text] => List Users
                            [icon] => icon-user
                            [route] => list-users
                            [permission] => user.list
                            [sort] => 1
                    [1] => Array
                            [text] => Add New User
                            [icon] => icon-user
                            [route] => create-user
                            [permission] => user.edit
                            [sort] => 1

This menu can be passed to a view to be rendered as you see fit.