I'm trying to create my own custom menu using the Walker class and in the process of trying to figure out what's going on, I'm attempting to reproduce what wp_nav_menu() does by default, so, I've got this:

class My_Admin_Walker extends Walker
    public $db_fields = array ('parent' => 'parent', 'id' => 'menu_id');

function my_admin(  ){
   //$list = wp_nav_menu( array( 'walker' => new My_Admin_Walker() ));//produces no output 
   //$list = wp_nav_menu();//outputs links to pages

   return $list;


When I pass my own My_Admin_Walker class to wp_nav_menu it produces no output. So I think I need to set the required $db_fields to something. The Walker docs say:

The value of each key should be the names of the object properties that hold the parent id and item id, respectively.

But I'm stuck on figuring out what the $db_fields should be set to, to produce the default output or any other output. I've tried field names in the wp database but had no luck so far. Where do I look up these object properties it's talking about?

Thanks for any help!

1 Answer 1


If you want to build your own custom nav menu you should be extending the Walker_Nav_Menu class, not the Walker class.

When building a custom menu walker the $db_fields should be what the default Walker_Nav_Menu class has:

$db_fields = array ('parent' => 'menu_item_parent', 'id' => 'db_id');

When building the navigation link for a menu item, the parent field maps to the _menu_item_menu_item_parent post meta field if the menu item has a parent.

The db_id maps to the post ID of the menu item.

Check out wp_setup_nav_menu_item() for good reference to better understand what is happening. https://developer.wordpress.org/reference/functions/wp_setup_nav_menu_item/

  • Many thanks for your answer I shall check out those docs. Do you happen to know if the Walker_Nav_Menu can de used to customise the nav menu in the Admin interface?
    – Jelnet
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 16:48
  • The navigation menu in the sidebar of the admin? Walker_Nav_Menu isn't used to build that. The Walker_Nav_Menu class is used to build navigation menus based on what you set in Appearance -> Menus. This is because it uses the nav_menu_item post_type to build them.
    – darrinb
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 17:10
  • Thanks again. Do you know how I can alter the admin menu? In particular I'm wanting to add something to the html title attribute.
    – Jelnet
    Commented Apr 14, 2016 at 22:20

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