jQuery: style current page link in navigation

I’m currently working on a web page which has a navigation area in the header and looks like this:

<nav>
    <ol class="main_menu">
        <li><a href="http://localhost/demo/index.php/home" class="active">home</a></li>
        <li><a href="http://localhost/demo/index.php/features">Features</a></li>
        <li><a href="http://localhost/demo/index.php/pricing">Pricing</a></li>
        <li><a href="http://localhost/demo/index.php/support">Support</a></li>
        <li><a href="http://localhost/demo/index.php/blog">Blog</a></li>
        <li><a href="http://localhost/demo/index.php/register">Sign up</a></li>
        <li><a href="http://localhost/demo/index.php/login">Login</a></li>
    </ol>
</nav>

Now I wanted to have the active page somehow highlighted so that the user can clearly see where he is. So first I defined some styles for this highlighting (basically just making it bold and underlined):

<style type="text/css">
    nav .active {
        font-weight: bold;
        text-decoration: underline;
    }
</style>

So what I needed now was some JavaScript to check the currently loaded URL and check which of the navigation links should be highlighted. All URLs start with http://localhost/demo/index.php. So I just needed to check the 4th part of the location path, find the navigation link related to that (so basically the link which ends with the same 4th part). Additionally if you go to http://localhost/demo/index.php you are shown the Home page even though the URL doesn’t end with /home. So I also needed to handle this special case.

So first I needed a JavaScript function to get the last part of the URL. Here I just needed to split the path using a slash as a separator and get the last one. There is just one exception: if the URL ends with a slash, I do not get the last one but the second to last (so that I do not get an empty result):

function getLastPart(url) {
    var parts = url.split("/");
    return (url.lastIndexOf('/') !== url.length - 1 ? parts[parts.length - 1] : parts[parts.length - 2]);
}

Now that we have it, we’ll get the last part of the URL and activate the link which ends with this last part. Additionally if the last part is index.php, we’ll highlight the Home link:

$(function() {
    var lastpart = getLastPart(window.location.href);
    $('nav a[href$="/' + lastpart + '"]').addClass('active');
    if (lastpart == "index.php") {
        $('nav a[href$="/home"]').addClass('active');
}

About the jQuery selector for the link selection:

nav a[href$="/home"]

It basically says to find a link in the navigation (i.e. nav a) having a href attribute (i.e. nav a[href…]) ending with (i.e. href$=) “/home”.

Of course if your URLs look different e.g. if you have query parameters or it is not the last part of the URL which is relevant for the link selection, you’ll need to adapt the getLastPart function. If it is not the last part of the URL which is relevant, you’ll also need to use a different selector.

Here the complete JavaScript:

<script src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.8.3/jquery.min.js" type="text/javascript">
<script type="text/javascript">
<!--
$(function() {
    var lastpart = getLastPart(window.location.href);
    $('nav a[href$="/' + lastpart + '"]').addClass('active');
    if (lastpart == "index.php") {
        $('nav a[href$="/home"]').addClass('active');
}
  });
function getLastPart(url) {
    var parts = url.split("/");
    return (url.lastIndexOf('/') !== url.length - 1 ? parts[parts.length - 1] : parts[parts.length - 2]);
}
//-->
</script>

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