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I have a basic understanding of how to create meta boxes, and I have an understanding of how and where to put wordpress menus on the front end. I am a wordpress theme developer but NOT a wordpress back end developer (but I am trying to learn).

I have a page template that is set up where there are a list of links that, when clicked, display different tabbed content that is on the same page. see here

The blue box w/ tabs and the white interior content is built like this: Interior white content is written in the main wp_content box on the page edit page. I have it so that the client adds all of the content for each box in that one area and then wraps them in short codes to separate the divs

The blue tabs on the left are wordpress 3.0 menus. I have it set as a widget area. The client first creates the page, then creates the menu for that page and gives a custom link of href="#tab2" to initiate the javascript. THEN they go to widgets and drag the custom menu into the widget area called "tabs" and use the conditional widget display to display that menu only on that page.

I would LOVE to be able to cut out a step or two ...

I think it would be a LOT easier if the widget area step was moved into the wordpress page. Then the client could make the new menu in the WP menu creator, go and create the page and choose the menu from a meta box drop down. This should basically create the conditional display because it is now associated with that page and stick the menu in the spot that has already been previously defined.

Thoughts on this???

The other way to do it would be to create the menu in the page edit page and automatically place the actual menu in the predefined spot with the condition that this menu is only for this page.

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See my answer for Adding a Nav menu to post admin. You could re-use this code. –  toscho Mar 10 '12 at 1:26
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I'm not sure I understand the whole process. Why not build the navigation at the same time you parse out the content with the shortcodes? You know how many tabs there are and what content they're connected to, I don't see why widgets or wp menus need to be involved.

Maybe if you showed us the code that handles the shortcodes?

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Hmm I guess I never thought of doing it that way. LIke I said, I am a front end gal - I dont think in terms of back end dev. that often. I will pull out the code and come back shortly. –  Lindsay May 2 '11 at 18:14
    
have a look at this answer, this may be similar enough to what you're doing to adapt. –  Milo May 2 '11 at 19:49
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