Lightweight and modular menu manager using mptt for the Django framework.
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Lightweight and modular menu manager using mptt for the Django framework.

The goal of django-mptt-menu is to be as fast as possible and yet allow the menu to be built from different sources (different models, static urls..), to resolve this, we use django's contenttypes framework. It's ok because most of the time a menu can be heavily cached forever.
But if you don't need this level of modularity, don't use this :)



  • fetch the code

pip install git+git://

  • Add mptt and mpttmenu to settings.INSTALLED_APPS
  • run a syncdb

python syncdb

  • Additionally you can use django-genericadmin and django-mptt-admin, both improve the admin experience

  • add the {% show_menu %} tag in your base template

  • add a few entries in the admin...

here you go..


None of this settings is mandatory.

    default : 'mpttmenu.processors.MenuProcessor'
    This is the python path of your menu processor, this is where you will implement all of your logic if you need to change the default behavior (by subclassing processors.MenuProcessor), but in most cases using the templatetag options should be enough.

  • MENU_CACHE_BACKEND default : 'default' If you want to use a specific cache backend for the menu, changes this to its key.

    default : 'default'
    'default' means to use the default value from the given cache backend;
    None means forever;
    Otherwise the value is in seconds.

    default : 'menu'
    the key used to store the menu in the cache, change this if you already have a 'menu' key in your cache.

    default : ('mpttmenu/simplenode', )
    If you choose to use django-genericadmin, this is the list of available content_types for models that can be referenced by the MenuNode. Note that SimpleNode is NOT an abstract model, you don't need to subclass it, it is just the simplest Model to define a menu node (contains a title and an url).

Advanced usage

Overriding the processor

If you need to change the default behavior of the menu you can override the default menu processor to make it show only a part of the tree. Of course you could probably put the logic in the template, or even in javascript, but it is a better practice to use the tools that the MenuProcessor offers you, it means less queries, and a cleaner template code.
If you do override the processor, don't forget to set MENU_PROCESSOR_CLASS accordingly.

Methods you can override in your own processor:

  • determine_object_from_context
    Populates the processor instance with the object referenced in the MenuNode, if the object is passed to the templatetag, this method does nothing.

  • determine_node_from_object
    Populates the processor instance with the node corresponding to the object, if the object has a 'menu_node' attribute (see below), this method will do no query.

  • determine_tree
    This is were the real logic takes place, depending on the referenced object, this method will return the corresponding part of the menu tree. By default, returns the whole tree.

  • get_default_tree
    This method is called if no object could be determined (on the home page for example), it also returns a part of the menu tree. By default, returns the whole tree.

There are several convenient methods in the class to help you build the 2 last methods :



If you want to make the better of this app you can do two optionals things:

  • Pass the referenced object to the show_menu template tag whenever possible, it will avoid the processor to try to guess it, resulting in a lot of queries.. For example if your menu is made of Sections (a MenuNode will reference a Section), do {% show_menu object=the_current_section %} If you know for a fact that the page doesn't have any MenuNode associated, you can pass object=None. In some cases though you won't be able to pass it, if the referenced object is a SimpleNode (used as a static link) for example.

  • Add a reverse generic relation in your models if possible, it will avoid a query.

    class MyModel(models.Model):
        menu_node = generic.GenericRelation(MenuNode)
  • Also, you can override the template by creating a template with higher precedence in /mpttmenu/menu.html.
    The default template looks like this:
{% load mptt_tags %}

    {% recursetree nodes %}
        <li {% if current = node.content_object %}class="current"{% elif node.parent and current = node.parent.content_object %}class="current_parent"{% endif %}>
            <a href={{ node.content_object.get_absolute_url }}>{{ node.content_object }}</a>
            <ul class="children">
                {{ children }}
    {% endrecursetree %}


  • use resolve to determine object for menu if possible
  • get rid of some parenthesis here (they are annoying).
  • show_breadcrumbs templatetag
  • tests
  • cache the whole template (problems : can't cache forever with the cache templatetag and not that easy to invalidate if need be - add a decorator to show_menu ?!)